Since Every Version of You came out last year, I’ve found that I have less and less time to actually write. Like many fellow writers, I find myself performing an impossible juggling act: trying to give 99% of myself as a caregiver, a day jobber, and a writer, while keeping up with the expectations and practicalities of promoting a book.
After the whirlwind of May (see below!), I’ll be travelling overseas with family for a month. I’m very much looking forward to this, and to what comes after—a space within which to narrow my focus, to sink into the simplicity of day to day life, to eat and walk and visit new places. I’m also hoping it will be a chance to reset after a busy first half of 2023, and to sharpen my mental toolkit as I return to the writing desk. All these writerly events have been amazing, but my first love is really for the writing itself—to be tangled up with a notebook or a computer, putting one word after another, in an angsty endeavour to capture something of what floats around inside my brainbox. I’m yearning to get back to that.
The Age Book of the Year Shortlist!
To my utter amazement, Every Version of You has been shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year. I’m also delighted to see two fellow Affirm Press authors on the list: Jess Ho, for their incredibly punchy, hilarious, and moving memoir, Raised by Wolves; and Shirley Le, for Funny Ethnics, which sounds perfectly wry and brilliant and is already accumulating wonderful reviews.
The fiction judges, Thuy On and Michael Winkler, commented that ‘Chan’s speculative fiction confronted the climate crisis and digital dislocation’. Thank you—I’m incredibly grateful!
What I’m doing in May…
Brisbane Writers Festival
I’ll be at Brisbane Writers Festival on 12-13 May! I’m rather starstruck to be speaking on Genre Writing and Diaspora with Chloe Gong, Vanessa Len, and Shelley-Parker Chan, as well as on The Agony and Ecstasy of Tech with Toby Walsh, Clinton Fernandes and Helen Marshall.
Writers Victoria Online Seminar: Let’s Talk About…Writing Genre Fiction in Australia
Together with Dinuka McKenzie, author of crime novels The Torrent and Taken (which are everywhere right now!), I’ll be answering questions from host Bianca Breen and from the audience. I’m really excited for this one—I think it’ll be a really practical, insightful, and helpful discussion.
Sydney Writers Festival
I’ll be at Sydney Writers Festival on 26-27 May! I’ll be doing a reading, chatting with Shehan Karunatilaka and Jason Reynolds for a live session of ABC RN’s The Bookshelf, talking Future Fictions, and visiting Epping for an in-conversation about my book.
Just one short story recommendation this time: Re/Union by L Chan (Clarkesworld #199) - What if your family members could be immortalised after death as AI recreations based on their social media footprint…and you still had to host the lunar new year reunion dinners?!
It makes me think back to a short story I wrote in 2019, called Father’s House. It’s a story about a young man who goes to clean up his immigrant father’s house. I was hypothesising about how AI recreations of a person might be used to make decisions about euthanasia.
I’m proud of this story but I also feel dissatisfied with it. If I could write it again, I would make it a longer and more substantial tale, and give the subject matter the space it deserves. Maybe one day I will expand it into a richer story.
On a final note, I’d just like to express my sincere thanks to all of you who are following this newsletter—those of you who subscribed in its earliest days, and those who’ve just joined the fun! It means a lot to know that you’re interested in my work and to have your company on this writing journey.
I am sitting on some incredibly exciting news—which I hope to be able to share in the next month or two. In the meantime, autumn deepens in Melbourne, and the days grow shadowy. Perfect weather for hot chocolate, thick blankets, and piles of books. Until my next missive, I wish you all of the above!
Subscribe to my newsletter for writerly updates and musings! I’ll appear in your inbox once a month or so.
Been such fun following your journey. I hope the events and the holiday and wonderful!