MWF: the Mid-List Authors Soirée

Posted on 28 August 2014


astle and damon

Left to right: David Astle’s friend, Jane WithBlueHair, Mel Campbell, Clint Greagen, Damon Young (now added with hair), David Astle

Last Saturday, Melbourne writer Mel Campbell hosted an event of her creation, the Mid-List Author Soiree, at MWF. It was built around Mel wanting to bring together writers like she is: people who write for a living but aren’t blockbuster successes.


The Spandex Philosopher arrives

Or, in other words, almost all working writers.

(Hopefully one day I’ll be a mid-list writer but first I’ll have to do a lot more of my own writing, a little less event production, and a lot less corporate writing.)To get an idea of the diversity of the mid-list, I asked some of the writers at the event about their work.

Mel has a non-fiction book out at the moment called Out of Shape: Debunking Myths About Fashion and Fit and is working on ideas for her next book(s). She’s on Twitter at @incrediblemelk.

Kelly Gardiner has an amazing-sounding book out at the moment, Goddess, which she’s discussing at MWF tomorrow, and a back catalogue of six others—fiction and non‑fiction. Right now she’s working on two books about World War I, one for adults and one for kids. She’s @kmjgardiner on Twitter.

Regina Lane’s family memoir Saving Saint Brigid’s was published this year by Bridin’s Books and has already sold out! She’s about to move into the publishing side of the business.

regina and copland

Simon Copland and Regina Lane

Fellow Brisbanite Simon Copland regularly writes opinion and analysis for the Guardian and SBS on the environment, politics, and gender and sexuality. He’s on Twitter at @SimonCopland and is working on a literary crime novel.

paddy and mel

Mel Campbell and Paddy O’Reilly

David Astle makes crosswords. He writes SMH column ‘Wordplay’ and his book Cluetopia is a history of crosswords. Why crosswords? I asked and he just said My head’s always been kinked that way. He’s @dontattempt on Twitter and blogs too.

Paddy O’Reilly is being delightful all over MWF as usual. This year’s book is called The Wonders and sounds awesomely creepy—all about post‑human body modification and celebrity culture. Someone asked her about the title and she answered that there were 23 possibles and one of the frontrunners was ‘Clockwork Man’. Paddy’s on Twitter too.

Clint Greagen is a dad blogger turned memoirist. His book and blog are both called Reservoir Dad. He says he thinks his points of difference from other parent bloggers is his distinctive voice, honesty (the word ‘unflinching’ is deservedly thrown around a lot when describing his work), and that he’s funnier. He also thinks it has a lot to do with that he and his wife are busting traditional gender roles and divisions having him being the stay-at-home parent. He said their experiences have proven to them that the differences between men and women are definitely learned. I’m afraid you’ve already missed him at the festival, but I’m sure he’ll be around for a while.


Eleanor Hogan, author of  Alice Springs, is clearly saying something very clever.