Literary locals

The peninsula is home to several creatives, including authors. Maybe it’s a legacy of the Sydney Push days, or maybe it’s because Balmain Rozelle is just an inspiring place to live. Darling speaks to four local writers to learn more.

Ned Manning Author

Ned Manning

Why did you become an author?
I always said if I could sing, I’d be in a band, but I can’t so I’m not. I’m an actor as well but acting relies on being asked. I love writing because it’s the way I express myself. I write what I want to write about, and I love the process of disappearing into another world.

Painting the Light

Where do you go for inspiration?
I love walking around Balmain. Mort Bay in the evening, as the sun is setting, is inspirational.

Do you have a favourite place to work?
Balmain Library. A lot of my latest book Painting the Light was written there.

Why do you think there are so many authors in the Balmain Rozelle area?
I guess it’s a hangover from the 60’s and 70’s when many bohemians, writers, artists, actors, and musos moved into Balmain. It has become an enclave of creativity possibly because there’s no through traffic. For me, it’s always been like a country town. A community where everyone knows everyone. At least it was.

Tell us a bit about your latest book
Painting the Light is a book set pre, during and post WW2. A historical romance about two young Australians whose experience in the war makes them determined to create a better, more equitable society.


Jess Kitching Author

Jess Kitching

Why did you become an author?
I’ve always wanted to be an author and after moving to Australia, I thought I’d chase that dream. I have a facial birthmark and talking about bullying, body image and self- acceptance are things I’m passionate about. Some of my own experiences were the inspiration for my book.

The Girl She Was Before

Where do you go for inspiration?
Balmain is such a beautiful spot that everywhere is inspiring, but I find that anywhere by the water is a great place to go for calmness and creativity.

Do you have a favourite place to work?
I usually write at home, but I always start my day with a drink from Contessa. And I love to finish a long day of writing at Forli. Their pastas are amazing!

Why do you think there are so many authors in the Balmain Rozelle area?
Probably because it’s such a great place to live with such a vibrant creative community.

Tell us a bit about your latest book
The Girl She Was Before is a psychological thriller that looks at the legacy of a trauma like bullying and the impact of the social pressure on women to be ‘perfect’.


Matthew Spencer Author

Matthew Spencer

Why did you become an author?
I was a newspaper journalist for 20 years and got sick of it and quit the industry. I have a degree in literature from Sydney University so writing a novel seemed a logical progression and four years later - here it is.

Black River

Do you have a favourite place to work?
I work at home, but I like Euforia in the morning, and The East Village and The London later in the day.

Why do you think there are so many authors in the Balmain Rozelle area?
I think it’s a little quirk of history. A lot of writers piled into Birchgrove in the 70’s as the peninsula began to gentrify. Lacking imagination, they clustered, and that has continued over the years.

Are any of your books set locally?
One of the main characters of my novel Black River lives in Datchett Street in Balmain East. The other lives in Rozelle. One is a journalist, and the other is a homicide detective. The action of the book takes place towards Gladesville and North Parramatta, but they drink in The Bald Rock, The Commercial (a nod to the past) and The Three Weeds.

Tell us a bit about your latest book
Black River is a police procedural and a mystery. Two women have been killed in separate houses a month apart and a month later, another body turns up on the campus of a large boys’ boarding school. A journalist who went to the school 30 years ago is roped in to help with the investigation.



Wendy Milton
Author

Wendy Milton

Why did you become an author?
As a child, adults would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I would tell them I wanted to write children’s books and illustrate them. I didn’t get around to writing until late middle age, when my retirement as an English teacher gave me time to devote myself. I did however discover that I lacked the ability to illustrate and instead engaged a professional illustrator. My childhood dream of writing children’s books came, I believe, from a love of reading. Encouraging children to love books is so important and should begin, I feel, long before a child learns to read.

Taking Stock

Where do you go for inspiration?
I don’t go anywhere for inspiration. I don’t believe there’s a place where one can go to acquire it. If there were such a place it would be very crowded.

Do you have a favourite place to work?
I work from home. I couldn’t work in a café because I’d eat too much cake!

Are any of your books set locally?
My first book, The Doolally Kid, was set in England but I was asked by my then publisher, Lothian, to change this to Australia. Since then all my books have been set in Australia. I don’t, however, use local, recognisable settings.

Tell us a bit about your latest book
My most recent book, Taking Stock, is about a boy called Neil whose Uncle Rex loves old things and ‘lives in the past’. But does Neil’s Uncle Rex live in the past literally? Where does the stock in his bric-a-brac shop come from? And why is the shop nearly always shut?

BNSW 2021 Awards Reg Winner State Finalist White

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which this business operates, the Gadigal and Wangal peoples of the Eora nation, and pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

Lets go social

Balmain Rozelle Chamber of Commerce

Website sponsors

Rozelle Plumbing

WestConnex Transurban Proud Community Partner

© 2022 Balmain Rozelle Chamber of Commerce - ABN 51 033 803 627