Ddi someone ask for a funny and talented writer? Oh right - we did - when we asked the legendary Benjamin Law to be a guest at our Mudgee Readers' Festival. And guys - we can’t even believe it’s on in one week’s time! Less! Ok, we’re getting carried away.
So about Benjamin… He is the author of the memoir The Family Law, the travel book Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East - both of which were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards - among other fabulous titles. Meanwhile,The Family Law is now also an award-winning TV series for SBS, which Benjamin created and co-writes. Benjamin has also written for over 50 publications in Australia and beyond — including the Monthly, frankie, Good Weekend, theGuardian, the Australian, Monocle and theAustralian Financial Review— and has a PhD in creative writing from QUT. Sheesh, talk about overachieving!
Devastatingly (unless you got a ticket), his coffee/breakfast date at Pipeclay Pumphouse has sold out, but you can catch his wit and charm at these events, where tickets are still available:
Listen Up! - talking podcasts with talented writers + podcasters
Queerstories - a delightfully enjoyable evening including dinner
So without further ado…
Meet Ben Law!
What book/author has had the biggest impact on your career?
Hard to pin down. But from overseas, David Sedaris – seeing what he could do with personal essays changed how I saw writing generally. And locally, writers like Marieke Hardy and John Birmingham made me understand my writing didn’t have to be one single thing. If they could write across platforms and genres, and write across serious and silly, then so could I.
How did you get into the writing business?
My first published piece was a letter to the editor at Rolling Stone magazine as a teenager. I was named “Letter of the Month” and they sent me a Panasonic stereo as the prize. “Obviously,” I thought, “writing is a very well-paid career path.” From there, I did a writing degree, edited the university magazine, did work experience – then worked – for street press, and got writing for newspapers and magazines from there.
What’s your ideal reading setup?
In my usual place: at night, after a shower, when I’ve rinsed off the day, and in my bed with my legs interlocked with my fella who’s reading something entirely different. Either that, or an overnight train in India.
Coffee or tea?
Tea. I don’t mind coffee, but I’ve never needed it – I probably have one coffee a month. I have green or oolong tea every day though.
Kindle or Paperback?
Early riser or night owl?
Bit of both. I go through phases. Right now, it’s early riser, but that isn’t out of choice. I’m not a morning person, but I do like the sense of getting a headstart on everyone else.
Favourite book of all time?
Can’t possibly answer that. Let’s approach it another way. I nominate The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander.
What are you reading right now?
Non-fiction: Fake, by Stephanie Wood. Fiction: Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James.