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Apostrophes: you can do it

It’s incredible that a tiny scrap of punctuation can cause such panic. But I am here to tell you, there’s no need to be intimidated. There are only ever two reasons to use an apostrophe: to signify missing text it’s = it is (The missing text is the i in is.) to signify possession Jenny’s dog The Jones’ house That’s it! Plurals: apostrophes, keep out So often I see apostrophes used in plurals, commonly, for days of the week. Look out for…

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I love my job

Proofreading is the perfect blend of reading and words and characters (typographical and otherwise), all of which bring me much joy. While it’s a solitary pursuit, it never feels isolating, and in addition to the various folks on the page, it’s the voice of the writer that’s the best part to listen in on. When the voice of the writer takes the time to sing your praises, well, what an honour. Lynette Noni generously dedicated a blog post to my proofreading of her book,…

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My friend wrote a book!

While working at McKinsey and Company in Sydney, I met a great number of excellent people, one of whom is senior media designer, Nicole Gilroy. Nicole has written and illustrated a gorgeous book called What Time do Elephants go to Work? (Resonance Publishing, 2017). The book was inspired by her son, who as a 3-year-old asked this question of his mama. It aims to teach kids how to tell the time, in both digital and analogue formats; no matter your age,…

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Road trip podcast

I love road trips, and especially love travelling solo to (1) stop whenever I like (e.g. to taste-test an award-winning item from a country bakery. Hello Tatura Hot Bread vanilla slice! Gee, you were nice!) and (2) sing out loud to my favourite songs (e.g. Italian Plastic by Crowded House. I also love podcasts, so on a drive home to Melbourne from Forbes last weekend, I was looking forward to finally listening to A Word In Your Ear. Language expert Professor Roly…

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Burial Rites: believe the hype

I finally read Hannah Kent’s superb debut novel, Burial Rites. First published in 2013 (Picador) and reprinted six times in 2014, it’s no wonder Kent won so many awards for the book. Winter is the perfect season to delve into its icy depths. Painstakingly researched, the setting of rural life in 19th Century Iceland just suits the warm glow of lamplight and, ideally, rain pounding the window as you adhere yourself to the unfolding drama of Agnes’ wretched life. The…

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Kerouac gets real

“And be sure of this, I spent my entire youth writing slowly with revisions and endless rehashing speculation and deleting and got so I was writing one sentence a day and the sentence had no FEELING. Goddamn it, FEELING is what I like in art, not CRAFTINESS and the hiding of feelings.” Link: Jack Kerouac, The Art of Fiction No. 41, The Paris Review

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Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought her back

Chasing the origin of a new word is one of my favourite pastimes. I’d been curious about Café Feoh, a local spot with an intriguing name. I finally popped in to ask how to pronounce the word and what it meant. The owners cheerfully told me it was the first letter of the Runic alphabet and to them represented prosperity and good fortune. Later I found an article all about it. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as…

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The lost art of editing

Image: A meeting of the board of directors at Faber, March 1944. From left to right TS Eliot, Morley Kennedy, Geoffrey Faber, WJ Crawley, Miss CB Sheldon and Richard de la Mare. Photograph: Picture Post/Felix Mann and Kurt Hutton/Getty Images. Source: The lost art of editing

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Michel de Montaigne

Paris is my favourite place in the world. On a literary-inspired ramble through the city in November 2008, I came upon this sculpture near La Sorbonne. It depicts Michel Montaigne (1533-1592), well-known as introducing the essay style of writing. Location: rue des Ecoles, Paris. Photo by Desanka Vukelich. Link: What made Michel de Montaigne the first modern man?

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