Catherine McKinnon lives in rural New South Wales and is a novelist and playwright/director.
She grew up in South Australia, and, after studying at Flinders University, worked at the Red Shed Theatre, State Theatre Company, and Adelaide Festival as a theatre director and/or writer. Her own plays produced for the Red Shed Theatre are Immaculate Deceptions, A Rose By Any Other Name, Road to Mindanao, and Eye of Another. In 2006 she won the Penguin Women’s Weekly Award for her short story ‘Haley and the Sea’ and in 2008 Penguin published her novel, The Nearly Happy Family. Her play Tilt was selected for the 2010 National Playwriting Festival, and As I Lay Dreaming won the 2010 Mitch Matthews Award.
Her short stories, reviews and scholarly articles have appeared in Transnational Literature, Text Journal, RealTime and Narrative. She currently teaches performance and creative writing at the University of Wollongong. Her novel Storyland (Fourth Estate, 2017), which developed from her novella ‘Will Martin’, was longlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Award.
FictionMY OAR STABS the side of the Reliance. We push off and pull away from the ship. Venus is out, but the sky still has some light. Mr Bass and I boat the oars and hoist sail. The Lieutenant takes the helm. Tom Thumb’s sail snaps at the breeze and air-filled we bounce across the water.‘To dare is to do!’ Mr Bass shouts our motto.‘To dare is to do!’ The Lieutenant and I reply as if we are one.Seawater sprays across the gunwale. It is Thursday, the twenty-fourth of March, the year 1796. This is the day that we embark on our second Tom Thumb sail.