About Me

I was a high school dropout.

My mother said typing and shorthand would get me a long way. It was the sixties, so she enrolled me in Secretarial College. I had dropped out of High School at 15 impatient to start living, to earn money and leave home.

I’d always wanted to be a writer, but it seemed an impossibility for someone like me. “You could write a gossip column in the local paper,” my mother said. “You couldn’t be a journalist,” my father said. “You’d have to be able to write about anything.” He pointed to a straw in a glass on the table in front of us. “You’d have to be able to write about that straw.” I could do that, I thought to myself.

As things turned out, still a teenager, I got married. Then came three babies in four years. The only writing I did was in my journal and a daily dream diary. When our youngest child began kindy I started looking for a job. A friend told me it was possible to get part-time work at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. I’d always been a rusted-on ABC fan, and Gore Hill was close to where we lived in Lane Cove. It took 14 months of perseverance, of going back and back and back to the Personnel Department to finally get a placement. I was hired as a casual, replacing “on-staff” part-time typists when they went on holidays. So my mother was right about the typing after all.

My first assignment was to work in the “Four Corners” office typing up transcripts of interviews. When I saw Caroline Jones pouring herself a cup of tea at the morning tea trolley, her face so familiar from seeing her on television, I thought she was an old friend for a moment.


Three months later I was promoted to Full Time Typist. Transcribing sound tapes was a horrible job, and to make matters worse, I was good at it. Fast and accurate. But I learned something: there were employment opportunities at the ABC at that time. And so, after twelve months, I was promoted again, this time to Producer’s Assistant.  Producers Assistants were also Directors Assistants, a fancy name for dog’s body. “An engine room person” is how my father described it. But I was extremely happy to be there. This was not a bad job for a High School Drop Out.

I loved being part of it all at the ABC although, in those days, it did seem that half the staff was drunk. I travelled with film crews all over Australia and was privileged to meet some extraordinary people. I worked there for eleven years.

I realised I was probably never going to be promoted to Producer or Director. Mind you, if I ever had been, I have no reason to believe I would have been any good at it. So I became Principal of my own Public Relations company, specialising in health, sport and leisure. I was passionate about healthy lifestyle. I registered a Pty Ltd company name, had business cards printed and set up a home office. I had spent half my life wanting to be a writer and now I was having a go at it. I got my first client, the Bicycle Institute of New South Wales a positive story on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald in my first week.

But then, in 1993 Australia was in recession and I lost my retainer clients. Not wanting to lose face and close the business, I tipped my adult children out of the nest, joined Youth Hostels, threw on a backpack and headed off to Europe for two years of adventuring. There could be a book in this, I thought to myself.

It wasn’t until I was in my forties, a single mum with three grownup children, that I finally put pen to paper to write a book. The journey became “Life Without A Perm”. But after 4 years I couldn’t get the manuscript to a publishable standard, so I enrolled in an MA in Professional Writing at the University of Technology, Sydney. In 2001 the synopsis, “Around the World in Fifty Steps” was my first published story in Overland. By then, I had completed three degrees.

I went on to dedicate myself to short stories because that was what I did best. After all, Alice Munro stayed with the short form, and, in 2013, won the Nobel prize for literature.

Thirty more of my short stories were published over the next 15 years. Three book-length novel-in-stories completed. Two Emerging Writers Grants awarded from the Literature Board of the Australia Council. But no book publication.

Then, in 2015, after 20 years of trying to get a book accepted, Ginninderra Press, a small, but prestigious Australian publisher, accepted “My Year With Sammy”. The manuscript had been shortlisted in the UK’s 2014 Mslexia Competition, and Seizure’s 2015 Viva La Novella Competition.

In January 2016 “My Year With Sammy” was named Pick of the Week in Spectrum Books, Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times and The Melbourne Age as well as being awarded the Society of Women Writers’ Fiction book award 2016.

The Crystal Ballroom” was published by Ginninderra Press in 2017, “The Usual Story” in 2018, “Stories from Bondi” in 2019,  ‘Lost In Cooper Park’ in 2020. My first poetry collection, ‘The Cellist, a Bellydancer & Other Distractions‘ was published in 2022 and a second collection, ‘Flat White, One Sugar’ will be released early in 2024 by Ginninderra Press.

My poems and short stories continue to be published regularly in literary journals and newspapers including Quadrant, Overland and The Canberra Times.

The moral of this story is, all it takes to become the only thing worth being, a writer, is perseverance, dedication and hard work.

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55 thoughts on “About Me

    1. thanks, Anne. it’s actually taken from the Fort on top of Mont Baron in France looking across to Italy. i walked up there from my studio apartment in Villefranche that i rented for a month in December. so beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh dear. that’s a faux pas on my part. It looked so beautiful I thought it was home! I’ll look more closely next time. Bu tit is a lovely photo of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. great to see you at the launch of my new book My Year With Sammy last night. i thought, the whole evening went extremely well. weren’t susanne and dr karl fabulous? so entertaining. they did a great job at entertaining the sold out audience 🙂


  2. Yes, congratulations…for the launch of “Sammy” and a wonderful night. I’ve scheduled a short post about your book on my blog.


    1. thanks very much for your nomination for the 3 day 3 quote challenge, Claire. i feel honored. i may not participate as i’ve only been blogging since February this year and i don’t have a wordpress relationship with 9 people. but always good to see my blog name in print. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Libby, it’s fascinating to read about your journey to writing! Impressive and full of dedication and perseverance! I laughed out loud as you tipped your three children out of the nest and love how you backpacked in Europe for two years – wow!! Congratulations on your wins, publications, book! I”m a keen reader of Mslexia and am impressed with your shortlisting here – they only look at the best!! Happy Writing … it’s a gift, although it might not always feel like it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wonderful words of recognition and encouragement from you Annika. many thank yous for reading and commenting on my About page. i think you are the one and only. i must get more active on Social Media. i blog once a week and post daily on my Facebook Author Page and on Instagram. i notice you are very engaged with Twitter. so far i prefer images on Instagram rather than conversations on Twitter, but your follower numbers have grown in leaps and bounds. your sincere engagement with other writers and readers gives rich rewards.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much, Libby! When I’m out and about on social media I am just myself and this seems to work well! I must say I’m (and my son too) astonished by how fast twitter has grown! I don’t know how…I’m on for a tiny bit each day, thank people for retweets. It’s a fun way to interact. I am not on FB or Instagram. Blogging is wonderful but taking too much out of my time at the moment so I’m probably going to slow down a little after Easter. I have learnt so much along the way and made some wonderful kind friends who have been so encouraging…my short story collection and novel wouldn’t have been written without their support, I’m sure!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. it’s so timely you commented on my About page, Annika. i realised my details need to be updated. two more books to be added to the info. my third book will be coming out in a few months time. good luck on your writing journey. i hope we maintain communication when you slow down with the blogging after Easter. so good to have contact with a fellow traveller 🙂


  5. That was amazing. We all have stories and yours is wonderful. My grandparents lived through the depression and your way of doing things was theirs. We hear all kinds of bad news in this world and seem to ignore the good. Yours is good. Really good.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great story so far, Libby. Congratulations on your perseverance, grit and sense of adventure and for getting your writing published. Hugs Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I so admire you and your story, libby. I had a rather ‘bumpy’ beginning as well, and found my place over the years to where I am now. thanks for stopping by my blog and l look forward to reading more from you – beth

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fascinating journey Libby, very different from my own but then – you are a recognized published author and I only think I want to be.

    You visited my story blog site and even followed me – thanks for that BTW.
    I’d love to know what caught your attention and have a friend such as you to Q&A with, share writing ideas and generally enjoy this art together.

    I have a couple of niches that I like so I use my blog to create and share my experiments. For example, I love the challenge of creating full stories with no narrator voice, e.g.

    A Daily Regret

    I also have a collection of rowdy memoirs which as a group I’ve named “I Recall”.
    They are essentially first-person stories told with the point of entertaining a reader. This collection accidentally got me started creating stories that take no more than 10 minutes for most readers so their limit is 3000 words, but most are around 2000. These are where I let my rowdy voice go and I like to imagine two good friends sitting somewhere enjoying a drink or meal and laughing at things they did or experienced while growing up.

    The Giant Inner Tube Adventure

    Anyway, I’ll stop presuming that you care to collect another friend who’s interested in short stories and maybe finding a market for them and let you go.
    Thanks for finding my story blog and popping into my world.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much for your message gary. good to hear from you. unfortunately, i try to spend as little time as possible on my computer, so am not a good writing friend possibility. i meet up with friends face to face and write longhand first, then type it up, print, edit from the print out, write some more. that is my process. very best of luck with your writing journey. kindest regards, libby


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