Reading in the Nude at the QPF

A couple of months back, one of my dearest friends, Krissy Kneen told me she was going to be reading poetry naked at the Qld Poetry Festival. Diana told her that we were definitely going to come along. I was a bit… uncomfortable, I think I’ve been nude in front of a handful of people in my entire adult life.

It was a nude open mike event. The wonderful David Stavanger was hosting – I was happy enough (sorta) to be nude – but, at the door he said to Diana and I: You’re both reading, right?

Diana nodded enthusiastically, and I answered: No chance in hell.

We stripped in a room full of poets, all of us, quietly and at the same time.

And within a few breaths it was wonderful, discomfort fell away, and we waited to hear the poems. Still, when the call went out for readers there was a slight hesitation. Diana looked at me, took a deep breath, and got up to read. First.

She read about the source of her scar, the Intensive Care Unit where she lived (so close to death) for weeks after her liver transplant, and she made me cry: even though I had heard the poem several times before. I have never felt so proud. There was my wife reading in front of an audience for the third time in her life and she was doing it nude.

Then we had more readings, and Krissy, who we were all there to see, read beautifully from a new work (you can read it, and about her experience, here). It was a room filled with love, and laughter.

So, I thought what the hell. I got up and had a go too. Might have been better if I had prepared something – the two poems I recited I managed to forget lines even though they were brief pieces, which really seems to prove that reading in public is more nerve-wracking than nudity.* But I was so nicely heckled that I didn’t mind.

Regardless, it was a fabulous event, at a wonderful poetry festival, and one I will remember for the rest of my life.Fill a room full of nude poets and writers and readers and what you get is supportive and gentle and far more lovely than I would have believed. Angela Meyer described it as an Unforgettable Festival Moment and I completely agree.

Thank you Krissy, and David and everyone else involved in giving us the chance to do something really wonderful and frightening, and to discover it really isn’t (nor should be) that frightening at all. We gave each other the gift of our vulnerability and it was a powerful and fabulous thing.


*Also, proves the first law of readings. If there is a chance you might read HAVE SOMETHING READY!





Colonel George with the bulging eyes,

liked to stare at ladies’ thighs,

he yearned to find what lay within

but never did, it was sin,

to see, to touch, to love and learn

so, instead, he liked to burn.

And that he did, dressed like a clown,

he set alight the whole damn town.






A pocket-sized epiphany

to fit inside your pocket.






Day Boy – Chats, Reviews and Sundry things.

So the book’s out, but I’m still busy at work, however, I’ve been a few places on the internets this week.

There’s a few bits of me below:

Here’s me writing about Day Boys and Vampires over at the excellent Readings blog. It’s a good one if you want to know a bit more of the thinking that shaped the book.

Matt interviewed me over at Smash Dragons – and they were great questions.

And here I am at Fantasy Book review interviewed by Fergus.

And Jason Nahrung wrote this incredibly generous review. Any review that ends with this line would make a writer’s heart swell:

Jamieson’s prose is not so spartan; it is considered, poetical but not verbose or purple. It is a joy. Day Boy is a joy.


And the fine booksellers at Book Bonding had me as a staff pick. Thanks Braiden for this:

“There’s something truly magical about this novel”

So glad my little book is getting some love.



Novels are a Long Road (Well, Day Boy was, Anyway) Part Two (Yeah, I go on a bit).

In a period of about three years after never selling a novel – I had five books simultaneously published here and in the UK, and the US by two of my favorite publishers. Things were a bit busy. And it wasn’t like I wasn’t working at the same time – usually two jobs. I don’t think I really stopped from 2009 to 2012. I worked, wrote, worked and made books, but not a lot of money. I was living the dream, but as dreams often go, I never really had time to appreciate it.

I love those books (if you’re not familiar with them and fancy buying one – or all 😉 – there’s links to the left) and some of them had existed in partial form for years before this (just as I have around seven novels in various states of development now) but those years were me putting the pedal to the metal. Sadly none of them did particularly well – despite generally positive reviews, and a few stinkers – and me doing my best to promote them.

To say I fell into a bit of funk is putting it mildly. The books’ relative failure (and I don’t really see them as failures, every one of them fed my creativity, every one of them gave me at least some pleasure, and taught me something) and me working so hard at everything, hurt badly. It was no-one’s fault. I still think they’re great.

Part of it was the slump in publishing at the time (Borders collapsing didn’t help, but people were still selling ok). Part of it was me so focused on getting the next book written I perhaps didn’t work hard enough to selling the ones I had out (but there are only so many hours in the day). And part of it was, despite all the working, I never really had any money to go to cons or travel and push the books. Honestly, maybe none of these things contributed much. It’s a lottery. Books find an audience, or they don’t. And I feel honored that these books have found an audience at all.

As much as we’re encouraged as artists to make mistakes, and to fail. Few like to admit failure, not really. And I felt like a big old failure. I’d had my shot. And there are often few chances to have another. And there’s nothing like writing books that you’re contracted to write and seeing them fail despite your best efforts and the best effort of those around you, while you’re still writing them.

Throughout my short story writing career I had never felt a failure (sure, I’d occasionally feel a bit jealous of those fancy novelists) but every sale to any market, no matter how big or small felt like a win, like I was connecting with a readership. Novel writing was different. For the first time I felt that I’d stuffed up that the mere act of producing something wasn’t enough, unless it found a big enough audience. And I’d failed at that, and in doing so I’d let a lot of people down.

I don’t feel that way now. I am happy with those books and worlds created. Maybe it took a bloody nose or two to make me grow up. You do your best, and you move on.

But it took me a while to get there. And while I was thrashing around (see those seven partial manuscripts all waiting there turn) I really had no idea what to write next. But one of those manuscripts was biting into me more than the others.

I showed Day Boy to my then agent Sophie Hamley along with a bunch of other partials, and it was Day Boy that Sophie responded most to. Actually she responded this way.


I love Day Boy! Can’t wait to read the rest.

That is all.


And she did read the rest. I think sometimes you just need someone to tell you it’s ok to write, and that you’re onto a good thing.

Sophie pulled that novel from me. I sent it to her chapter by chapter. And I can’t tell you what a privilege it was to have someone there (who wasn’t family, whose relationship was mainly a work one) enthusiastically demanding the next bit of the book.

I was back on the writing horse. Putting word after word, scene after scene. I didn’t feel like such a failure.

And then I turned forty. A week or so later*, I started to get a terrible ear ache, oh such horrible, hideous pain – all while Diana and I were on holidays. Then, one morning, I woke up and half my faced was paralyzed.


*Obviously it was entirely unrelated**

**Obviously. Right, Universe?

It’s not all gloom and doom, and look at what’s arrived!


Day Boy’s Launch is Looming and it will be at Night at Avid

Day Boy is going to be launched on June 25 by the wonderful, amazing Isobelle Carmody. If you’d like to help me celebrate feel free (and it will be a free event) to book and come along to Avid Reader. (If that link doesn’t work let me know)

I’m thrilled to have Isobelle launch the book, not least because she is so busy at work getting Red Queen out into the world – this is the final in the Obernewtyn series! – so thrilled/guilty to be honest.

It’s all starting to feel a bit real.

If you’d like to see the real thing, book for the launch, and watch me get all emotional* on the night.


*emotional in this sense does not mean drunk – not until after the launch anyway.

Not Long Now – and some vague bookish rambling.

Day Boy is heading to printers in a little over a week, and it’ll hit the stores late June. Finally finding time to breathe. Between this book and work I’ve barely had time for anything else, but it’s almost done. And I can think about it (and soon I might actually get started on the roughly novel-length next Death Works MS that’s sitting next to me on a table and giving me dirty looks).

This is my quietest book. It’s not about saving the world, and there are no grand quests or races against the clock.

It’s about a boy raised by a monster, and the feuds of old men, and the monstrosity of boys, and the hope that there might be more. And it’s about small country towns and the rhythms of a year that will see an end to childhood. I grew up in a small country town in North Western NSW called Gunnedah – it wasn’t tiny, but it you could walk its edges – and my childhood was a good one, so all that is there, but towns, like hearts, have a darkness too, and that is there as well.

It’s also my most beautiful book the seasons swing through it, the trees turn, and my little Day Boy grows older and maybe wiser.

I hope you like it.



I think for me, as a writer, what I’m really wanting is to haunt the reader. Sure, I want to entertain them at the very least. I want to capture and entrance, to chart the heart and the mind’s triumphs and failings. I want all of those things, or part there of.

But above all, I want to haunt.

I want to have a reader inhabit a book of mine and then find that it has somehow inhabited a part of them.

A good book never leaves you, even as its specificity fades. A good book looks at you from behind your eyes. A good book haunts you.

And that’s what I want my books to do*.

*(Doesn’t mean that I actually do that, but a fella’s gotta have an aim.)


How did it get to March already? Edits for Day Boy are soon to drop, there’s a release date – July.  I’ve seen the cover, and it’s glorious – six books in and that still hasn’t gotten old. (You’ll all see it soon enough.)

And I decided to tidy up this overly busy webpage.

If you see anything missing (except commas) let me know.


Clowns and Vampires and Carnivals and Trains

Christmas is upon us, and Death Moots, and Birthdays – I’m crashing through my forties at an insane rate (still a lot of them to go though).

Next year is going to be all about clowns and vampires and carnivals and trains. I’m just finishing up drafts of the next Death Works stuff, and I’ve a rough outline (as in something kind of clear in my head about the final Death Works story – which will be called the Triumph of Death, and which I should finish next year, and which should be a truly satisfying way to see out a series that has been in my head for over a decade).

This has been an odd year for me. Working on Day Boy, trying to get the next Death Works story done (Carnival of Death), and fitting it around longer hours at Avid – a boy needs to pay his bills. In some ways it’s felt like a step forwards and a step or two back.

But, I’m very happy with what I’m writing, and I work in one of the best bookstores in Australia, in the most wonderful city, with some of the lovelietst booksellers you could ever hope to work with. So, to be honest, I am feeling kind of blessed.

After a few fallow years, a few missteps, and a bit of a breakdown, things feel like they’re heading on the up again.

So, may 2015 be a wonderful year for us all.

Here’s the rough unedited beginning to the prequel story to the Carnival of Death – I’ve always wanted to do one of those X-files like openings. It’s called ICE. Just a teensy bit of a weird intro to an even weirder Death Works story, got some full on cosmic horror/comedy (hopefully) coming.



Ray checked the clip of his pistol. Full round, special munitions, ready to go. He wasn’t feeling lucky today. He suspected he might have to use it.

“I don’t like guns up here,” the pilot said.

“I don’t like pilots with opinions.”

The pilot laughed.

They’d been in the air for hours. Ray had forgotten the pilot’s name. He didn’t really care.

“Putting the gun away,” he said.

“See if you can find your sense of humour when you do,” he said.

“I’ll look for yours while I’m at it.”

“Right now your life is in my hands,” the pilot said.

“You don’t think I know how to fly a plane?” Ray lied.

The pilot shrugged. “You Special Interest Guys, who the fuck knows what you know.”

Ray smiled.”Which is exactly how it should be.”

The pilot smiled right back; both of them smiling like loons. “We’ll be hitting approach in about three minutes.” He gestured at the gear. “So, unless you want to have the honour, I suggest you shut the fuck up.”