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A Novel Idea is a memoir in photoessay form that follows Fiona McGregor’s life as she writes her award-winning novel Indelible Ink. It is a tongue-in-cheek rumination on the monotony and loneliness of the novelist’s daily life, and the act of endurance the writer must perform.
Through an extended sequence of photographs taken on a hand-me-down camera, accompanied by terse, evocative captions, the book spans several years of labour and procrastination, elation and despair. The details of the outside world intrude as McGregor works on the novel alone in her Bondi flat, with nothing but a desk, a pin-board, a laptop and a cat, and in studio spaces in Berlin and Estonia.
McGregor’s voice is wry, vulnerable, at times caustic, capturing the colloquial qualities of her fiction and the durational nature of her performance art via the ephemeral and essential thoughts that take up an author’s days, weeks, and years.
’A Novel Idea is a curiosity and a delight. Composed over years, Fiona McGregor’s intimate photo-essay charts writing a novel: that collision of exhilaration, tedium, despair and sheer slog. It will captivate writers and readers alike.’ – Michelle de Kretser
’Fiona McGregor casts out any pretence to literary mystique in a deadpan, ruthlessly honest, witty and at times surprisingly moving first person photographic narrative that draws us in, disarms us, leaves us vulnerable to the sudden poignancy of certain observations and revelations.’ – Blair French
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