Patrick Holland is the author of The Mary Smokes Boys, which has just been longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He grew up in outback Queensland, and worked as a horseman in the Maranoa district and as a ringer in the Top End. He has travelled widely throughout Asia, studying language and literature at Qingdao University and Beijing Foreign Studies University, and at the Ho Chi Minh Social Sciences University in Vietnam.
Holland’s stories have been published and broadcast in Australia, the U.S.A, Ireland, and in translation in Japan in publications as diverse as The Griffith Review, Best Australian Stories, The Age, ABC Radio and Red Leaves.
The Mary Smokes Boys (Transit Lounge) is his second novel. His first novel The Long Road of the Junkmailer (UQP) won the Queensland Premier’s Award for the Best Emerging Author and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Best First Book, South East Asia and Pacific Region. In September 2011 his collection of essays, Riding the Trains in Japan: Travels in Supermodernity will be published by Transit Lounge, with a third novel, The Darkest Little Room to follow in 2012. His prize winning short story collection, The Source of the Sound was published by Salt in the US and UK in late 2010.
Through the kind assistance of Amy Whittaker, publicist for the Miles Franklin Award, Patrick Holland is the latest Aussie author in this series. Here are the answers to my questions:
1. I was born in a hospital between Clermont and Rockhampton in 1976.
2. When I was a child I wrote journals of imaginary explorers, especially Antarctic, and poems about Easter and Christmas.
3. The person who encouraged/inspired/mentored me to write is/was Ernest Hemingway.
4. I write in a silent room before a desk lit by a single lamp.
5. I write when I feel I’ve discovered something worth saying.
6. Research is a thing I try to keep to a bare minimum.
7. I keep my published work/s in the bookshelves of family and friends. I rarely revisit them (the books).
8. On the day my first book was published, I began to make edits and so put it away.
9. At the moment, I’m writing an essay on the Montagnard people of the Vietnamese Central Highlands
10. When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I go walking. I reckon the feet and the mind are linked.
Thanks, Patrick and Amy!
Update#1: The Mary Smokes Boys was also shortlisted for the 2011 Age Book of the Year Award.
Update#2: There’s a must-read and very interesting interview with Patrick Holland at Perilous Adventures.