Jen Webb reviews 'Release the Bats: Writing your way out of it' by DBC Pierre and 'The Writer’s Room: Conversations about writing' by Charlotte Wood

Jen Webb reviews 'Release the Bats: Writing your way out of it' by DBC Pierre and 'The Writer’s Room: Conversations about writing' by Charlotte Wood

Release the Bats: Writing your way out of it

by DBC Pierre

Allen & Unwin, $27.99 pb, 297 pp, 9780571283187

Book Cover 2 Small

The Writer’s Room: Conversations about writing

by Charlotte Wood

Allen & Unwin, $32.99 pb, 446 pp, 9781760293345

Writers have, it seems, an insatiable appetite for reading about writing; and such advice comes in various forms. There are books that promise to teach their readers how to write in any form or genre imaginable. There are books on grammar and punctuation, on contracts, on making a living, on managing your profile. Whatever you want, it seems, you'll be able to find; though the quality is not always certain. This year the publishers have provided two more books in this idiom, each of which enriches the genre. Charlotte Wood, herself an accomplished author, talks with equally accomplished writers about their experience of the business – the life – of writing. (This prodigious effort is made more impressive by the fact that, at the same time, she was writing her Stella Prize-winning novel The Natural Way of Things [2016].) DBC Pierre, enfant terrible of the early 2000s and author of the Booker Prize-winning Vernon God Little (2003), offers what the blurb calls an 'irreverent guide to writing fiction', one that skips through principles and technical aspects, and weaves it together with anecdotes from his larger-than-life life.

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Published in October 2016, no. 385
Jen Webb

Jen Webb

Jen Webb is Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice at the University of Canberra, and Director of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research in the Faculty of Arts and Design. Her recent work includes the scholarly volumes Researching Creative Writing (Frontinus Press, 2015) and Art and Human Rights: Contemporary Asian Contexts (with Caroline Turner; Manchester UP, 2016), and the poetry volumes Watching the World (with Paul Hetherington; Blemish Books, 2015), Stolen Stories, Borrowed Lines (Mark Time, 2015) and Sentences from the Archive (Recent Work Press, 2016).