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Myke Bartlett


Myke Bartlett is a journalist and critic whose debut novel, Fire In The Sea, won the 2011 Text Prize. When not writing fiction, Myke writes on politics, movies, pop culture and rock music. His work has been published in The Age, Dumbo Feather, Overland, Triple J Magazine, Metro, Cream Magazine and The Big Issue, among others.

Where were you born?

I was born in Perth, Western Australia.

What other jobs have you had?

I worked for years in record stores in Perth and London. When people stopped buying records, I worked as a secondary school English teacher at Lauriston Girls’ School and Croydon Secondary College.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Belonging, alienation, friendship, longing, loyalty, ambition, courage, mythology, trust and sacrifice.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Winning the Text Prize. That was also the start of my career as a novelist, so I’m hoping it won’t be the only peak. The first reviews of Fire In The Sea were also a big thrill.

Where have your works been published?

Apart from the Australian media mentioned above, I actually published my early fiction as podcasts. In 2006, I wrote a chapter a week, recorded myself reading it, and released it on the web. That book has had about half a million downloads.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about storytelling. I actually came to the notion of story quite late. When I started writing, it was characters and concepts that had me excited. Those things are still important, but it’s the desire to tell a great tale that sits me down at the keyboard. I’m particularly interested in the hero narrative and its influence on both mythology and Hollywood-style storytelling.

Haven’t I seen you before?

People always say this to me. Everyone has a cousin who looks vaguely like me. But maybe you have. I get around.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Although I retrained as a journalist, I still tutor students on a weekly basis. Building a rapport with students was the part of teaching I loved the most. For me, it was always about starting within the students’ own lives and finding a way to make the content relevant. That was probably what led me to write YA fiction. I felt that I understood teenagers well enough to write a story that could be clever and challenging but would still feel like it was part of their own existence.

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