Aniko’s inagural issue

I recently sent an entry in to a new online magazine, for their inaugural issue. The delightedly-overwhelmed (to clarify, that means that she was overwhelmed for all the right reasons) editor, Emily Riches, sent this reply to my submission:

Dear Annabel,

Thank you so much for submitting Mopping Up to Aniko Press Magazine. Unfortunately, we will not be able to include your submission in our first issue. However, we’d like you to know that your piece was a strong contender for a place in the magazine and made it onto our long list. 

Myself and the reading team were blown away by the quality and number of entries we received for our first issue (over 270!), and it was an absolute pleasure to read your work among them. I’d encourage you to keep writing and keep submitting, as it would be fantastic to see your work find a literary home. 

Once again, thanks so much for sharing your writing with us. And, of course, I would love you to submit again when we open for submissions for our second issue. 

All the best,

Emily Riches

Founder – Aniko Press

0466 717 824

It’s a common understanding that a rejection is a bad thing, that someone hasn’t made the grade that is required to be successful. However, Emily’s email does not feel like one written to a failure about a substandard product: in contrast, it feels like a HUGE encouragement award about a submission that, had Aniko‘s inaugural issue been 200 pages longer, would have fitted in seamlessly! And to be longlisted, at that! (That’s only the second time in my life I’ve been longlisted for anything … see this blog post to find out about the first time.)

My attitude to rejection is that it’s not a personal reflection on me: it’s a reflection on where my work sits in relation to others’ work, at a particular point in time. Maybe I’ve arrived at this point because I have often felt I’ve been walking a parallel road to others (rather than being in sync with them, on the same road), and yet my path has not felt wrong (just different). I’ve been acutely aware for many years that I perceive things a little bit differently to the masses … and that’s okay with me, because I’m finding that as I get older the people around me increasingly see things the way I do … which either means they’ve finally seen my light (the one I see or the one that shines out of me?), or we’re all walking the same misguided track in shared darkness … either way, it’s nice to have company.

Well that became a pleasant distraction ….

One thing I love about having the opportunities out in the world for me to submit my personal works to is that it gives me a good reason to revisit my ample archival works, and then rework them. It’s so much fun to talk a ‘raw product’ and edit and fine-tune it till it becomes a ‘public-worthy product’. Of course the difference between those two states is totally subjective, and others may not agree that what I submit is actually ‘public-worthy’, but they are those on a parallel path to me.

So I’ve taken the opportunity to put my Mopping Up poem into a local poetry competition: fire-fighting is, after all, an active pastime where I live in the country, that every resident can relate to, regardless of whether they are firefighters themselves or not.

Watch this space!


Issue 1 of Aniko Press Magazine is now available! 
If you’d like to check it out, you can purchase a copy from our website at: https://www.anikopress.com/shop/p/aniko-press-issue-one-unsung


Australian Multicultural Writing Project have accepted my artwork for publication! This is a validating experience for me as I still consider myself to be an emerging author-artist.

I thank the AMWP for accepting my piece for Issue 4 – their first issue with art – and give a huge shout-out to Nadia Niaz, the editor, for the absolute care she has taken with my submission: editing my description to better fit the publication’s context, and checking it with me multiple times prior to publication. Such diligence has ensured that what is published reflects me as an artist, and my work as a unique piece. I know that she will have taken equal care with other contributors and treated each of us with the same kindness and professionalism. A tribute to her work!

I am impressed with the AMWP publication, which I have only recently discovered. (I have subscribed to their newsletter so as not to miss any more of this treat.) One piece of background information required, to support my submission, was an audio description for their visually-impaired readers. The whole ethos of this online publication is inclusive and inviting.

I am also, for the first time, joining the privileged ranks of people who are paid for their passion: thanks to the Australia Council for the Arts every published contributor to AMWP is remunerated! Again, identifying as an emerging artist I am not used to this – a delightful experience! My previous exposure to ACA has been as a consumer, reading books which have been funded by their writing projects. I am pleased to now be involved as a recipient, a contributor to public art that others may then enjoy – and (hopefully) be inspired by, as I have been inspired by ACA works in the past.

See my entry (number 12) here, alongside all the other wonderful entries:


Read AMWP’s Facebook page, which has special features:


…and read their tweets at Twitter (@MultilingualOz)…


Stop Press! CAE Christmas Hamper!

Look where I’ve landed! In the CAE Christmas Hamper!

Anyone is welcome to enter! Simply email Centre for Adult Education at competition@cae.edu.au with the title of the prize as your subject and tell us about your favourite literary gift idea. Winners will be notified and winning entries may be announced on social media.

Include your name and postal address. If you are a Book Group member, please include your CAE Book Group name and group ZZ code in the email body. Entries close Wednesday 12 December 2018. So act quickly … for a literary Christmas.

For more on CAE Bookgroups visit: https://www.cae.edu.au/book-groups/?utm_source=Book+Groups&utm_campaign=e87f4a8c62-Book_Groups_Oct_Newsletter_24_Oct_2018_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3f3d3e756b-e87f4a8c62-10972965 


If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for yourself, then the Christmas Book Hamper will keep you going through the Holiday season. The Christmas Book Hamper is a mix of genres, comprised of Anne Tyler’s latest Clock Dance, award-winning novelist Jeanette Winterson’s memoir Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal, Gabrielle Baldwin’s charming meditation Things My Garden Taught Me and Annabel Harz’s collection of colourful illustrations and poetry Journey into the Dark and the Light.

Booktique Launch

Many thanks to Michelle at Booktique in Wangaratta for allowing me to present my book in her warm and welcoming space. An interested audience asked thoughtful questions about my journey, and my book was well-received.

A huge thank you to my dear, long-term friend – who knew me in my Dark phase, and is one of my inner circle who witnessed the crying of my soul and loved me anyway – for his double bass-playing: it added soulful depth to my guitar and voice.

Another huge thank you to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for travelling down from Albury to support me: it is very much appreciated!

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View the media from the Wangaratta Launch by following the links below.

Booktique’s Coming Events Flyer 

Wangaratta Chronicle

In Maldon Today Interview

On 26th January 2018 I was the guest on this weekly program featuring our little town, broadcast on the community radio program of our slightly bigger, nearest Big Smoke. The radio station is MAIN FM (the IMT hosts will tell you this stands for “Maldon And Its Neighbours” and is definitely not what the locals call Castlemaine, as in, “I’m just popping into the ‘Maine for a spot of shopping”).

The show is In Maldon Today and it broadcasts every Friday morning from 9-11 am, hosted by two of five local presenters on a rotating basis. The band is 94.9 FM and you can listen live on the web!

Many thanks to Tony Harvey and Ian Stevens for hosting my interview: and for donating your ‘research copy’ of my book to the local women’s prison, where my work will have further opportunities to make a positive difference in people’s lives. That was an unexpected destination, of which I wholeheartedly approve.

Here is my interview – I hope you enjoy it!

Below is the article from the Tarrangower Times, a photo of me in the studio, and the link  to IMT’s facebook page.

IMT in TT 2 Feb 2018


Newstead Live Folk Festival

I had the great pleasure of playing three chalkboard sessions at Newstead Live on the last weekend in January, mingling with people who play music as their job. It was great fun, despite the high temperatures and inevitable sweat that accompanies trying to stay cool in 40 degrees!

Making art and music is alchemy, creating beauty out of empty space, and it brought me so much joy to present my book – reading poems and playing songs – in such a forum. Grateful to have had the opportunity to present my work – thanks, Newstead Live!

Upcoming Book Launch: Wangaratta

Country Victoria is beautiful in the autumn. A perfect opportunity to visit my launch at Booktique, the lovely bookshop in Wangaratta!

DATE: Tuesday 10 April 2018

TIME: 5:30 pm

VENUE: Booktique, 51 Reid Street, Wangaratta

ENQUIRIES: email – michelle@booktq.com.au, phone Booktique – 5721 6235, or contact me directly.

Let Michelle welcome you into her sunny space and let your imagination fly. Come to hear some poems and songs and enjoy what autumn brings to this beautiful location.

Upcoming Book Presentation-Author Talk: Kyneton

A warm welcome to all who would like to join me for my Kyneton book launch at the delightful Aesop’s Attic! This bookstore is abundant with charm that radiates through the nooks and crannies which hold their diverse collection of stock. A beautiful space to present such personal poems, artwork and songs.

Where: Aesop’s Attic, 70 High Street, Kyneton, Victoria
When: 4 pm, Sunday 26 November

To learn more about it listen to my interview on HighlandsFM100.7 radio (broadcasting from Woodend) through this link: http://www.radioau.net/mobile/highlands-fm/

The “What’s News?” program broadcasts LIVE on Tuesday (10am-12noon: My interview is timed for 11:10-11:20am). The show is replayed on Tuesday night (10pm-midnight) and Wednesday & Thursday (10am-midday). [Note: this is Melbourne time.]

A BIG thank you to Doug McIvor from HighlandsFM100.7 for setting this up!




2017-09-29 16.51.11

…being introduced by the Book Wolf                                                                                                                     …a surprise letter of congratulations

                                                                                      from the publisher – organised by a friend

Thank you to my beautiful audience for your attendance at my book launch. This is something I have not done before, and I was not sure how it would go. Your praise for my work, and encouragement of my courage for making it public, is inspiring and very humbling: it gives me increased confidence that my story has ‘a life of its own’, and its depiction through my poetry and art is worthy of the public eye.

I found this event very moving, your respectful silence as you reflected on your own lives in the context of mine was nothing short of profound. It was also a lot of fun (despite my nerves, which I’m told did not show – phew!). Thank you so much to those who bought my book – it was lovely for me to do the whole author-signing for the first time.

I look forward to doing more author talks in places further afield than my home town – watch this space!

TT book launch article

…reading a poem from my book                                                                                                                             …singing a song that illustrates my story 

Thank you to the fabulous Anja Tusek of Stash Converters for the amazing jacket she crafted! It was the perfect garment for this event because to wear it is SO uplifting!!  https://www.facebook.com/Stash-Converter-120400674983642/