Friday, April 18, 2014

Weather Stations Power Slam

On May 5th, I'll be performing at The Wheeler Centre's 'Power Slam' spoken word event, poetry slamming on weather and politics with Geoff Lemon, Abe Nouk, and Jas Kapela. 

"Performance poetry punches through to the truth with its high energy and biting satire. As part of the Weather Stations project, a global initiative that places literature and storytelling at the heart of the conversations around climate change, three poets will take on the powers that be in a night of rhythm and rhyme, focusing on what it means to be an artist living in a hostile world rife with political and social injustice."

Details and booking information here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014




Sunday, April 13, 2014

Foreign Soil Launch

to be launched by Jeff Sparrow
please RSVP to: 
by Friday 2nd May
Photograph: Nicholas Walton-Healey.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sydney Writers' Festival Events

The program for the Sydney Writers Festival is now out. I'll be doing three events at the festival. I've included details and links below for anyone interested in coming along:

Speaking Out
Sunday May 25, 2014
Richard Wherrett Studio
Sydney Theatre, 22 Hickson Road Walsh Bay 

The disenfranchised, lost, misheard and mistreated speak loudly in this discussion. Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil is populated with an asylum seeker, a black militant in Brixton and a lost Sydney schoolgirl. Ali Alizadeh’s Transactions introduces us to a spoiled Emirati rich girl, a Liberian refugee seeking aid from a charity and a Ukrainian prostitute. In Dust, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor takes us on an emotionally intense journey through the streets of Nairobi. They bring their distinctive voices to a discussion with ABC RN’s Kate Evans.

Sombre The Night Is: The Poetry of the Great War
Thursday May 22, 2014
Pier 2/3 The Loft, Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay

“My subject is war, and the pity of war”, said Wilfred Owen. “The Poetry is in the pity.” The Great War inspired some of the most powerful verse of the 20th century. In this special event to mark the conflict’s 100th anniversary, Overland magazine presents Jeff Sparrow, Judy Davis, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Omar Musa, Tony Birch, Colin Friels, Antony Loewenstein and Jennifer Mills reading and discussing the war poetry that resonates with them.

With poetry by Owen, Sassoon, Graves and more, the past and the present come together in this moving commemoration of one of humanity’s greatest tragedies.

Spoken Four in the Festival Club
Friday May 23
7pm-11.30pm (Spoken word on at 10.30pm)
Pier 2/3 Club Stage, Pier 2/3 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

The Festival's best spoken-word artists deliver powerful verse and breathtaking stories. Featuring Jesse Brand, Omar Musa, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Inua Ellams and DJ: Ribongia Hosted by Miles Merrill. Presented with Word Travels.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

First Reviews

A few more early reviews of Foreign Soil are starting to creep out into the world. Here's a copy of Connor Tomas O'Brien's review, for Citymag, and over here Better Read Than Dead, an independent bookstore in Sydney's Newtown has a staff review up on their blog.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Foreign Soil @ Kill Your Darlings First Book Club

This year, Kill Your Darlings is celebrating the work of debut writers by bringing you the First Book Club, a series of free in conversation events with local authors. I feel incredibly honoured that they have chosen Foreign Soil for their inaugural book club book. It heads up a stellar list of debuts, including Emily Bitto's The Strays and Eli Glasman's The Boy's Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew. You can find more details about this exciting new event series here

The Kill Your Darlings First Book Club
Maxine Beneba Clarke talks Foreign Soil 
Wednesday May 14
6.30 for 7pm
Happy Valley: Design, Books, Art
294 Smith Street, Collingwood 3066
Please RSVP to

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Final Copy

This arrived in my mailbox today, hot off the press. Cover design by the incredible Allison Colpoys. Finally holding it in my hands was a very surreal moment.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Making of Foreign Soil

For the last few months, Melbourne photographer and filmmaker Nicholas Walton-Healey has been working on a book trailer for my short story collection Foreign Soil. All going well, the trailer will go public in a couple weeks, but I thought I'd share some teaser moments in which I was able to turn the lense on the filmmaker.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to Crack Being a Dapper Melbourne Chap

wear skinny jeans
in navy / dark grey / or black
a tasseled winter scarf 
or quirky handcrafted hat
a tousled bed head
asymmetrical cut
or an overgrown dylan fro
of so-hip-i-can’t-be-fucked

or be scalp-razored 
on a zero blade or one
with not-that-kind-of-pretty 
two day old stubble

read rolling stone
collect records
frequent secondhand book places
talk poetry / art
& politics
but detest the horse races

shop at farmers markets
chinese grocers 
jewish bakeries
or russian deli’s
watch films at acmi
know where the state library is

be vague
or ironic
or funny
or erratic
& wear skinny fit jumpers:
either hoodies or knits

be heroically underpaid
or disgustingly overpaid

live on grants / or savings
a scholarship /or bar tips

hang at the espy
the tote / the toff
the food festival
film festival
or elsewhere art is 

drink boutique beer / tea
or a specific grind of coffee

visit perth / adelaide 
darwin / or 
anywhere untouristy

Friday, March 28, 2014

Emerging Writers' Festival 2014

I'm an ambassador for the 2014 Emerging Writers Festival. I've written a letter about what the festival stands for to me over at the EWF blog, The Greenhouse.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Hate Race - a memoir extract

Driving slowly along the artery of North road Melbourne, you can track the varied and changing demographics of Melbourne’s inner east. Palatial beachfront mansions and art deco Brighton apartments slowly give way to overlarge suburban houses. This is the east side of Melbourne – where everything is two-point-five-kids-and-a-four-wheel drive respectable, un-grungy all the way from Elwood to Huntingdale.
I’m walking along the short stretch of North road that takes me from my own street in the white picket fence, increasingly gentrified suburb of East Bentleigh to my son's school, one of three primary schools within walking distance of our home. I’m bloody tired. In fact, I’m probably looking forward to the school holidays even more than my son. He's’s five and a half, and it’s his first year at primary school.  For the last ten weeks, the poor little critter’s been absolutely smashed with tiredness come three thirty pick-up, shuffles his feet out of school babbling and incoherent, offering nonsensical insights into various parts of his day: which kid fell over and skinned their knee during snack time, what flavour icy pole he chose at lunch time with a full analysis of exactly why.
            I’m wheeling my chubby five month old daughter along in her pram, looking forward to two weeks of pajama-clad French toast mornings, museum trips and non-school-assigned reading. 

Fuck off, bitch.

The voice comes from behind me. Shit. Exactly what I don’t need this afternoon is to be caught up in someone’s very public domestic.