Writer Nigel Featherstone generously invited STA over for a cuppa and a chat at his Goulburn studio home. He shared a few steps in his writing process:
A have a desk where I write everything by hand. Once I have it written out, I transfer it over to the laptop, which is on a different desk. I do find that by writing things out by hand I write more slowly, and I compose the words.
What I’m working on at the moment is a play called the Story of the Oar. It’s actually a play with songs. It’s inspired by the Lake George landscape, and is essentially a mystery story.
I write lots of notes and at some stage I start to feel the story out and the song lyrics start to emerge. I try to get the whole thing together before it goes into the computer and then once it’s in the computer I will print out the whole work and start doing the edits and getting rid of things that aren’t working.
Everything I write, whether it’s a novel or a short story or something for the newspaper, everything starts as handwritten notes made at a desk.
Nigel’s latest novel, Bodies of Men (Hachette Australia), was shortlisted in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards and was recently longlisted for the inaugural ARA Historical Novel Prize. Congratulations Nigel! Set during and after the Second World War, Bodies of Men is a tender and beautifully written love story that challenges ideas about fathers and sons, masculinity and war.
Nigel is represented by Gaby Naher, Left Bank Literary, Sydney
Nigel at his home studio and with one of his many Canberra Critics Circle awards. The last image is Nigel standing in front of a painting by his father Jack Featherstone, who has work on display as part of this year’s Contour 556. The smaller painting is by Rudy Kistler, who for some years lived in the Southern Tablelands.