‘Climbing the Walls,’ Griffith Review

Last year there was a call for submissions for the best new writers in Asia under 40.

I was 39. At the Asia Pacific Writers conference in Singapore they changed it to 45 and I panicked! More candidates! More experience! Oh no. I wrote my story and hesitated countless times before submitting it. I almost didn’t do it.

I need not have worried… and received a ‘congratulations’ email which I read, re-read and then showed a friend to make sure I understood correctly.

Yes my story ‘Climbing the Walls’ was published this month in Griffith Review: New Asia Now. A huge accomplishment. A renowned Australian quarterly publication. You can buy it in book stores around Australia and some places in Asia as well as online at: https://griffithreview.com

 

You can now read my short story Climbing the Walls, Griffith Review

“Griffith Review49: New Asia Now showcases outstanding young writers from the countries at the centre of Asia’s ongoing transformation. They write about the people and places they know with passion, flair and insight.”

‘The Boy who Loved Bubbles,’ Imprint13. Hong Kong

My first short story to be published in a book was in the annual anthology ‘Imprint13’ through Women in Publishing in Hong Kong.

I jumped at the chance to attend the book launch and shared a room with my friend and poet Elizabeth who was also published.

I had written a short story ‘The Boy who Loved Bubbles’ based on my work at Tiny Toones Cambodia. It is the true story of a little boy ‘Bou’ who came from a family of such extreme property that his body odour sent me in to shock. It is a terrifying real story but did have a gloriously happy ending … of bubbles. The Hong Kong Women in Publishing Association loved my story and chose to include it in their anthology and invited me over to the book launch.

You can read The Boy who Loved Bubbles here.

Elizabeth and I were very civilised; shook hands with everyone, gave and received congratulations, posed for photos and drank a glass of wine or two…

but I believe some late night food was had 🙂

Read the short story here…

‘The Boy who Loved Bubble’ by Romi Grossberg.

Visiting Cambodia

The AP Writers Conference was over and being this close to Phnom Penh was too good and opportunity to pass up. SO I jumped on a plane and flew to Phnom Penh and as always straight over to Tiny Toones to visit these amazing kids. Here is Bboy Homie taking an exercise warm up class at Tiny Toones.

Later that day I went to watch the rest of the gang rehearsing at a club for their evening’s performance.  This is them post-rehearsal and pre-performance… always ready to pose for the camera. These are the amazing hip hop and break-dance staff of Tiny Toones – the original kids of the centre who came in as 10, 12 or 14 year-olds themselves. My amazing staff, my beautiful family, my heart, my everything.

The next day I went to catch up with good friend, Princess Soma Norodom. What an amazing and insiring woman. Love her to bits. We went for coffee and got hit on by two Russian guys at the next table who bought shots of vodka and had the waitress deliver them to us… at 11am! We could not stop laughing.

A trip to Cambodia without seeing my old housmate and sister Jemma is not complete and since she couldn’t get to Phnom Penh, I went to the jungle of Mundlukiri at her elephant sanctuary to see her. There is no visiting without being set to work though so here I am washing an elephant and trying to make myself useful.

And I am sure purely for Jem’s own amusement… here I am cleaning elephant poo…. they are enormous and I was kicking with all my might!

And then finally she let me relax and here we are in the hammocks… exhausted 🙂

Byron Bay Writers Festival

I was sitting in my Phnom Penh apartment on skype with my friend  – Australian author and mentor Kate Veitch, when she convinced me to come to the Byron Bay Writers Festival (it wasn’t really that hard).

She both put me up and put up with me and ferried me around to readings, panels (of course she was on numerous) and workshops on the beautiful Byron Bay grounds and in town.  If you’ve never been to this festival, stick it on your list!

On the left is Kate, Laurel Cohn in the middle and myself. Kate had booked me in to Laurel’s workshop on storylines which was incredible and a year later I asked Laurel to edit the first draft of my book.

There was even time to hit Mullumbimby Farmer’s Market and enjoy the sunshine over good coffee.

Gorgeous Spring weather for the 3-day festival (plus 2 days of workshops).

 

Tedx rehearsal… on my birthday

Me rehearsing on my 36th birthday at ‘sound check’.

Notice the notes in my hand? Yep, I was told off. No notes allowed! With 7 days until the real performance I assured them … no problem (with  a lump in my throat and sweaty palms).

The kids rehearsed… and dutifully bowed….

AND THEN…. they suprised me with a birthday cake! My whole gang and the organisors came out of the kithen with cake for me. 

which we all shared before going outside to play …