Memory Makes Us in Darwin

Families, dreams, and distinctive scents will weave the tales of Memory Makes Us in beautiful Darwin during Wordstorm 2014.

Memory Makes Us, a live writing experiment presented by if:book Australia is returning in 2014 with three events held throughout Australia this year. In the project, a group of writers create new work live in person and online taking their inspiration from your contributions.

Three great writers are featured in Darwin:

Date: Friday, 30 May
Location: Browns Mart Theatre
12 Smith Street

Share your memories with the project and inspire our intrepid writers. The Memory Makes Us web site allows you to post your memories and browse through other contributions.


Share your memory now




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We are busy preparing for this year’s Memory Makes Us. We are mere weeks away from the call out for your memories, so keep an eye on the site for details.

Kate Pullinger’s wonderful Memory Makes Us story has now faded away entirely while we build a whole new space for our writers to work in for this year. Her work lives on though in a gallery of photos taken from the event from 9 July last year.

By the way, doesn’t the theme of ‘memory’ just keep on giving in the form of pun-tastic post titles?


The Sweet, Sweet Tears

ifbook podcastA bumper episode of the the if:book Podcast for March with our guest Andrew Duval. Get comfortable because we couldn’t bear to cut this one down. Just as well this is not radio.

Featured artist is Charles D’Almaine playing Imitation of bagpipes and Scotch airs on the violin. Sourced and remastered from Edison Gold Moulded Record 7377 and our friends at the Internet Archive. No bagpipes were harmed in the making of this record.

Emily attempts to goad Simon into ranting about Hugh Howey’s reports on the Author Earnings web site, but he’s distracted by memories of Happy Days. Somehow they still launch into a discussion that makes sense.

Our guest is the rather awesome Andrew Duval of Liquid Interactive: the brains behind the Writelike web-based learning platform.

Some links to the stuff we discuss:

Because we we distracted by interesting discussion, we didn’t quite get to Cool Stuff We Found On The Internet. Next month. Promise.

Also, it’s worth noting that every podcast is an adventure in audio engineering. In other words, we’ll give Emily her own microphone next time.



Podcast Feed // iTunes


My Robot’s Jam

ifbook podcastThe if:book Australia Podcast kicks off 2014 with special guest Christy Dena, focusing on her project Robot University for The Cube at QUT, which you can check out online for more information. Christy also kept a developer’s blog at

Other projects we wanted to discuss in more detail, but have reluctantly left for another time are:

And of course, we always have Cool Stuff We Found On The Internet:


Featured artist is  Freaky Steve with the track 140rendmess. Thanks, Freaky.



Podcast Feed // iTunes




A Whole New Year

It has been quite some time since the idea of remixing the Willow Patterns book was proposed. Many ideas have been thrown around, with the raw data being scrutinised, stretched, and segmented into workable bits. Since then a number of possible creations have been theorized and played with, but some have finally come into the light. Pascalle Burton created a surreal video containing all the

Lost in Memory, if:book in 2014


Memory Makes Us

The pilot stage of Memory Makes Us took place in July 2013 with a live writing experiment by Kate Pullinger. The project sought contributions from the public both leading into and during the event in a unique interaction between artist and audience.

Three Events, Nine Authors

In 2014, Memory Makes Us will be expanded to three events in different cities around Australia. We will also expand the number of authors for each event to three. We will announce locations and featured artists for Memory Makes Us soon.

Memory Makes Us will continue to use a combination of online and live face-to-face interaction between contributors and artists, including web submissions, social media, handwriting, and (of course) manual typing. Readers online will be able to follow the authors’ progress via a new dedicated project web site.


Lost in Track Changes

Lost in Track Changes is a writing experiment that combines contemporary notions of remix culture with old-fashioned writing games and parlour tricks.

Five writers are being commissioned to write a short memoir vignette and pass it along to another writer in the group who will adapt and creatively change the work before passing it along again. The result will be five pieces that evolve and adapt sometimes in unexpected and surprising directions. But regardless of what happens, if:book will track the changes an document their evolution.

Look for the first Lost pieces later this year.


ifbook podcast

if:book Podcast

The if:book Australia podcast will be produced once a month and will discuss future book projects, whether they be our own or those of the forward thinking writers and creative people we interview. Get ready for discussions of boundary pushing projects which poke, pull and transform our ideas of books, storytelling and publishing.

If you are interested in being a guest on the podcast, contact us with a pitch and bio. Make sure you listen to our previous podcasts first to determine if  your project is a good fit. To get an idea of the types of topics and projects we discuss please listen to our previous podcasts.

amplified author

The Amplified Author

So you’re overwhelmed by the mass of information about digital publishing? You hate wasting writing time researching how to publish your own work? We created the Amplified Author just for you.

The Amplified Author is an online suite of resources giving you the tools to navigate digital and self-publishing. This course is all you need to navigate the digital revolution by providing you with information about ebooks and the publishing industry and teaching you the practical skills to produce your own ebooks. You can either grab the full course, or sign up for a short mini-course to fill in a gap in your knowledge.

Originally developed in 2011 as a series of presentations and consultations, the Amplified Author is now available as a set of online resources—text, links, and videos—covering both broad industry trends in digital and independent publishing through to practical skills development in areas such as ebook creation, design and publishing to various online platforms.


The Best Bits of 2013

As we prepare to unleash our 2014 program on your senses, Simon and Emily have taken a moment to compile their favourite if:book Australia posts from 2013. Reacquaint yourself with some of our amazing essayists or discover something you might have missed first time around. Enjoy!

Simon’s Choices

  • All Your Pods Are Belong To Us: This interview with Kate Pullinger was conducted on a phone in a cafe and yet sounds kind of half decent. A great discussion over some pretty good food. We should do more podcasts in cafes. Plus the finished product features Moonshine Kate, one of my favourite musical discoveries from the year. 
  • I Will Say This Only Once: I loved all the Willow Patterns remixes, but I probably spent more time with Pascalle Burton’s than the others. The video upload was an ordeal in transcoding and choked bandwidth, but the result was worth it. Trust me, listening to (and watching) this piece over and over again unlocks its depth. I’m yet to listen to it without hearing something I hadn’t noticed before.
  • Memory Makes Us, the short-term team: The original conception for reader contributions to Memory Makes Us was split into two stream: long-term and short-term memories. The generosity of our readers in providing their memories was overwhelming and the result was beautiful, if a bit voyeuristic. Sometimes overlooked though was the short-term memory team, a gang of intrepid postgrad students wandering the streets and gardens of Brisbane collecting moments. En masse like this, the result is bizarre and intriguing. A day documented.
  • Collabor-bake: Can a cake be a remix of a book? Shut up. It’s cake.
  • Cn u rd ths?: I told myself I could only select one N00bz essay for this list and it appears last here because I still can’t make up my mind. I’m deeply grateful to all our brave n00bz as they battled with coding, closing, drawing, making, scribbling and procrastinating. But Ben was one of the first writers to agree to this ridiculous pitch with his own idea of learning shorthand. From the distance of an editor’s desk, I assured Ben that not being a champion shorthander by then end of the experiment was still a valid result and the essay would still turn out great.

Emily’s Choices

  • Memory Makes Us, The Short-Term Team: Memory Makes us was a grand experiment. While it was wonderful to have Kate Pullinger in Australia and writing this amazing piece, I found the thoughts and moments captured by the short-term team on Twitter to be the most beautiful product of the day. For those of you who completely missed it, we collected all the thought provoking tweets into one post. : )
  • To Sleep No More (Perchance To Write): This Noobz essay was awesome, and not just because I like human experimentation (whoops, did I say that out loud?). It was a wonderfully light and engaging read on Sean Williams experience with sleep experiments. This essay confirms to me how cheeky writers truly are.
  • Robots with 808s: Don’t let the horrible synth music at the beginning turn you off, this podcast was one of my most favourite interviews of the year, with the delightful Noah Rosenberg, founder and editor in chief of Narratively. In fact we liked it so much we couldn’t bring ourselves to cut the original hour interview down to one twenty minute segment, so we split the interview over two podcasts. It covers all my favourite things like crowdfunding, and mixing media to tell a story the right way.
  • The Leak: Though I’m not one for poetry, Nathan Curnow’s cento poem has to be one of my favourite remixes of the Willow Patterns data. I love the fact that the whole thing was stitched together using phrases from the book which then created an entirely new story. Most of all, I loved seeing what part of the poem came from which original author (and not only because I wanted to see which author Nathan had a literary crush more…).
  • Dazzled by the Undoable: Another Noobz essay to finish the list, you can’t go past this very funny essay. Who can pass up an opening line like this: Hello. My name is Ronnie and this is the story of how I failed to draw a comic.

The Death of Negative Man

the noobzI’ve given up reading superhero comics three times. The first time was when I finished primary school in 1979. Until then I’d been an enthusiastic consumer of the black and white reprints of DC and Marvel comics produced by Australia’s Planet and Newton Comics, but as I prepared for high school I decided it was time to give my-then favourites Green Arrow and the original X-Men away in favour of interests more in synch with my newfound maturity.

Of course it didn’t stick. A little over a year later, in 1981, I started reading them again. My parents’ marriage had just ended, I was thirteen, overweight, desperately lonely and flunking out at school, so I’m sure it was at least partly about comfort, about returning to something I understood, and which repaid the sort of emotional energy I invested in them by providing me with a sprawling, endlessly evolving and richly imaginative world to explore.

I tried again in my final year of high school. This time it was little more than an interregnum, a blip of a few months, meaning that by the time I started university I was back on the drip.

Somewhere during the decade and a half that followed I pretty much stopped reading mainstream superhero comics, transitioning to the sorts of titles DC was producing through its Vertigo imprint, although if the truth be told my happiest moments often involved moments like the appearance of the original Sandman, Wesley Dodds, in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, or revisionist riffs on the superhero like Grant Morrison’s Animal Man and Doom Patrol.

But by the time I was in my early 30s I’d had enough. Most of the titles I read had petered out, and given it was the dark days of the mid-1990s, there wasn’t much new that appealed to me, so when the final issue of Grant Morrison’s Invisibles appeared I decided to draw a line under my life as a comic nerd.

Yet as Renton famously observes in Trainspotting, there are last hits and there are last hits. And, as the years passed, I discovered I couldn’t stay away. At first it was just the occasional deniable dalliance, but slowly my habit started to get more serious again, a process that has only accelerated in the past few years by the instant fix of digital comics.

Alan Moore often seems to take a little more pleasure in annoying mainstream comics audiences than is really seemly, but I suspect his recent comments about superhero comics being a form aimed at boys of 9-13 which have somehow become the preserve of 30, 40 and 50-something men are pretty much on the money. Yet my love of comics – and superhero comics in particular – isn’t just about wish-fulfilment or the need to keep returning to the things that delighted me as a child or the slightly nerdish delight associated with an awareness of sprawling continuities that stretch back decades (in her excellent study of superhero comics, Superheroes, the critic Roz Kaveney observes correctly that the Marvel and DC universes represent the largest narrative constructions ever created). Continue Reading →


Let’s Not Give Credit Where it’s Due

For the final podcast for 2013, Simon and Emily look back over the topics covered in if:book’s essay series The N00bz:

  • Caroline Baum discovers reviewing books in the click economy
  • Benjamin Law struggles with the syntax of shorthand and questions its true utility
  • Elizabeth Lhuede takes up the Australian Women’s Writing Challenge
  • Emily Stewart gives away a bunch of those bound papery things
  • Ronnie Scott utterly fails to make a comic

So of course the discussion eventually turns to book covers, stick figures, and taking graffiti classes.

Featured artist Robert Gaylor and a beautiful piece for the celeste called Christmas Bells from 1919 (because we really do give credit where it’s due).



Podcast Feed // iTunes



Skulking in Dark Alleys

the noobzIt was pitch black in Verity Lane, and the mid-winter drizzle added to the eeriness. I generally avoid these dark back streets, having narrowly escaped being mugged in one nearby years earlier, but I had books to distribute, and at the other end of this service courtyard stood Smiths Alternative, Canberra’s most bohemian bookshop.

At the time, Smiths was run by Jorian Gardner, the trilby-wearing director of Canberra’s Fringe Festival, and Domenic Mico, a former director of one of the city’s largest arts centres. Their clientele visited Smiths to hear poetry readings, drink coffee and wine and attend gigs. Sometimes, they even bought books and zines.

As is the nature of these things when you’re juggling a six-month-old baby, a three-year-old, a Masters degree, two teaching gigs, a magazine publishing job and your ebook start-up, time was short. I hadn’t managed to forewarn the booksellers of my impending arrival, so I was relieved to spot them as I slipped out of the alley and within sight of Smiths.

‘Hi Jorian,’ I said as he pushed a rack of indie fashion items through the side door. ‘I think you know about my new publishing venture? Would Smiths be interested in taking a couple of copies of [Anna Maguire’s] Crowdfund it!?’

The former radio shock jock filled his partner in. ‘She’s a REAL publisher, Domenic. Publishing books professionally, here. At Gorman House. Of course we’ll take some, Charlotte. We’ll buy them outright. Is a 30 percent discount OK? Email me an invoice.’

Just like that, I had my first retail partnership in my home town. Continue Reading →


This is the future of the book, but not the one you were expecting.