The Booktopia Book Guru asks
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born in Fern Tree Gully in Victoria and went to the local school, Monbulk High School.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At twelve I secretly wanted to be an astronaut and walk on the moon. At eighteen I wanted to be a photographer, at thirty I was shooting for books and just wanted it to continue, I was enjoying the whole book process so much.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I used to believe most people in the world were sensible, I don’t believe that anymore.
4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?
For me travel has been very influential, I am lucky that I get to travel a lot for work. My first big trip was to Italy, it was a life changing experience. Owning my first garden, I love gardens and gardening and owning my first piece of dirt was a turning point in my life. And a trip I had to Tibet with Kylie Kwong and my publisher, it was a magical, life changing trip and somewhere I thought I would never get to go to.
5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?
I really don’t believe that I chose to write a book. I felt compelled to write one. Ever since I was a child, I had a busy head and the only way to make sense of things was to put pen to paper, when I got the idea for my first book, I could barely think of anything else other than the characters that had arrived and the world that had developed. I put pen to paper and it all spilled out. When I don’t write I’m a very moody, confused, unsatisfied person.
6. Please tell us about your latest book…
Shed is a look “Sheds” in Australia in the twenty-first century, who owns them, what goes on in them and why they enrich our lives. And hopefully will inspire people to create their own sheds.
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
Well how about world peace for a start.
8. Whom do you most admire and why?
Gosh this changes from week to week. This week it would be Edward Weston, who I have been reading about. One of the masters of 20th Century photography, His work was innovative and still influences photographers today. His technical skills both on the camera and in the darkroom were legendary.
At the moment it would be to continue working on interesting book projects and to get my garden looking good before Christmas!
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Don’t give up!!! Keep writing. Keep your eye on the goal
Simon, thank you for playing.
by Simon Griffiths
The Shed: A place of retreat, where we can forget the pressures of everyday life, work on a treasured project, store all those keepsakes we can’t bear to throw away, or spend time with friends or with ourselves in silent meditation.
Photographer Simon Griffiths has an eye for the beauty of ordinary things; in Shack he showed us the eccentric living spaces and holiday homes that Australians have made out of simple dwellings. Now he takes you to peek inside some of Australia’s most intriguing sheds. From fabulously cluttered artists’ studios overflowing with creativity and inspiration to evocative abandoned ruins, these sheds will make you look at your own in a new light. A shed is a place of possibility; it can be anything you want it to be.
About the Author
Simon Griffiths is a leading photographer of food, interiors and gardens. His photography appears frequently in the major lifestyle magazines and in books such as Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion and Kylie Kwong: My China. In the field of gardening and landscape design he has collaborated with Rick Eckersley and Lisa Stafford on their book Outside, with Jenna Reed Burns on Australian Gardens for a Changing Climate, and with noted rosarian Susan Irvine on The Garden at Forest Hall. He has also worked closely with leading Australian garden designer Paul Bangay on all his books, most recently The Garden at Stonefields. Shed is his is his second solo book following Shack.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.