Monday, January 26, 2015

Alyssa Brugman

Alyssa Brugman was born in Rathmines, Lake Macquarie, Australia in May 1974. She attended five public schools before completing a Marketing Degree at the University of Newcastle. In 2014 she was awarded a PhD in Communication from Canberra University.

Brugman has worked as an after-school tutor for Aboriginal children. She taught management, accounting and marketing at a business college, worked for a home improvements company and then worked in Public Relations before becoming a full-time writer. She currently runs a small business providing hoofcare, equine rehabilitation and producing nutritional supplements for horses.

Brugman's new novel is Alex as Well.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I have a few books on the go at the moment.

The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers is a memoir about a family who own a backpacker lodge in Zimbabwe during the time Robert Mugabe was reclaiming white farms. Books about Africa generally have the drama of landscape, as do books set in Outback Australia, or Newfoundland, or Alaska, or anywhere that being a human in that landscape is its own contest. I can identify with that, coming from a place that is pretty comfortable for most of the time, but can be devastated in a heartbeat by the elements. We are also a British colony, and we have racial tension here too, so there is a lot that feels familiar to me, while at the same time being completely foreign. This book has that, but also political tension, family tension and a protagonist not sure of his own path either. He has a really beautiful flow to his writing, and makes astute observations about character, which must be difficult to do when the people are real.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh is a novelisation of a very successful blog. I’m interested in how blogs and social media are changing writing and publishing, since it’s my business! There is a lot of debate about whether online publishing, which is essentially free for the reader, will kill mainstream publishing. My opinion is that good story tellers will find an audience irrespective of the form, and frankly the majority of writers basically write for free anyway. I wish it were not so, but that’s the reality. We need to adapt. I started reading this book on the plane and openly guffawed like a mad woman, irritating all the passengers who were attempting to sleep. Brosh talks about mental illness in a way I found refreshing and insightful.

In the Dust of this Planet: Horror of Philosophy Volume 1 by Eugene Thacker. I heard a story about this book on Radio Lab. It’s a book about nihilism, and then, ironically, all these strange coincidences and connections started to happen around it. That question - do events happen for a reason, or is it all just arbitrary and purposeless – plagues us to varying degrees. I think it’s the question that most art or academic pursuit attempts to answer. Philosophy and books are wonderful for that reason. We can read philosophers as far back as we have notated our thoughts, and as a species we have always pondered these ideas. It connects us through time. I love an existentialist hurdy gurdy.
Visit Alyssa Brugman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Alex as Well.

The Page 69 Test: Alex as Well.

--Marshal Zeringue