Wallung Githa Unsettled: gallery opening

wallung githa unsettled

While travelling in Gippsland researching my book Thicker Than Water (to be published Spring 2016, by HarperCollins, plug plug), I fell in with the aboriginal artist Steaphan Paton and the photographer Cam Cope, both born and bred in the area.

Together we collaborated on a project riffing on the myth of the captive white woman of Gippsland, a strange and disturbing episode in Australian colonial history in which my relative Angus McMillan is inextricably tangled.

An exhibition of the series of photographs produced by us during a road trip through historically significant Gippsland sites – as well as a solo installation by Steaphan – is now on show at the Anna Pappas Gallery in Prahran, Melbourne, on until 9 May 2015.

A glossy zine containing images from the project as well as writing on the subject of the white woman and the frontier violence of 1840s Gippsland has also been produced. It will be on sale at the art book fair at the National Gallery of Victoria; any remaining copies I imagine will soon appear for sale on Cam’s handy web-shop here.

Images from the project have been featured in Art Collector magazine in Australia.

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EQy: Scotland’s new equestrian magazine

EQY cover

I was very excited to be asked to contribute to the launch issue of EQy, the new luxury equestrian magazine from the same stable as the Scottish Field.

The first issue came out earlier this month. I have four features in the mag, including an in-depth interview with Olympian eventer Zara Phillips, who I met in a very snowy Blair Castle. I also interviewed the showjumper and coach David Harland; had a good nose around at the Solaris Sports Horses stud in Dunblane, home of the incredible Kambarbay, a perlino Akhal Teke; and scoped out the friendly rivalry between top young eventers Emily Ryder and Stephanie O’Neill.

EQy will be on newsstands for around 6 months; after that I’ll post versions of my articles online. If you would like to get your hands on a copy, you can order it here.

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HarperCollins acquires Thicker Than Water

mcmillans track

I had some great news last month: HarperCollins’ non-fiction strand William Collins acquired the rights to my book, working title Thicker Than Water, and it is currently scheduled for publication in spring 2016.

For more information about the book, including an overview, please click here. Questions and queries about foreign rights/publication should be directed to my agent, Sophie Lambert of Conville & Walsh.

Bookbrunch, a magazine for the publishing industry, published a short piece about the acquisition, which you can read after the fold: Continue reading

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A weekend in Casablanca

I visited the Moroccan port of Casablanca recently, and wrote it up for the Independent’s “48 hours in…” slot. Top tips: a tour of the awe-inspiring Hassan II Mosque, which sits out over the ocean on a rocky outcrop, then an aperitif at the stylish Rick’s Cafe, followed by dinner in the open air at La Sqala, amid the ramparts of an 18th century fort.

Full text of my article is available on the Independent’s website here, or after the fold.

Continue reading

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48 hours in… Jakarta

48 hours in Jakarta - Independent

I recently stopped off in Jakarta and took the opportunity to write this article for The Independent’s “48 hours in…” travel slot.

Most travellers will bustle through the city on their way to the beach or the rainforest, but take the time to explore over a weekend if you ever have the chance. I was visiting my friend Emma, who works for the wonderful Green Initiative Foundation, an NGO which seeks to find more sustainable livelihoods for communities living in areas of vulnerable rainforest.

Full text of the article can be found on the Independent’s website here, or after the fold. Continue reading

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My gammy leg: leg-lengthening surgery

clipped

My account of my childhood experience of disability, a result of being born with one leg shorter than the other, was published in the Sunday Times Magazine this weekend. I was in and out of the operating theatre more than 20 times by the age of 15 as I underwent leg-lengthening treatment using an external fixator (and a second approach, which slowed the growth of my stronger, right leg). Left untreated, the discrepancy between my legs would have reached between 10cm and 15cm.

Thanks to the wonderful care and treatment I received at The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, there is now little evidence that this was the case, and I live a very active lifestyle.

The only reminder is the network of scars that track my legs: up either side like Adidas stripes, a silver slash over one hip, a line like a zip up the front of my left thigh.

Full text of the article and the PDF clippings are available on the Sunday Times website here, and after the break. A shorter version of this article was also reproduced in The Week magazine.leg lengthening ST Mag 1

Continue reading

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Voting #Yes: Sorry England, it’s not you. It’s me

yes sheep

I’ve written a post for the National Collective pro-independence arts movement explaining why I’ve decided to vote Yes in the coming referendum.

Together, as the UK, we’ve achieved a lot and there is much to be proud of. But we’re different, we really are, and now we’ve got an enormous opportunity to build the future we’ve been dreaming of.

Full text can be found on the National Collective website here, or after the fold. Continue reading

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This land is our land, this land is your land

Who owns the Lake District - Cumbria life coverWho owns the Lake District - Cumbria Life - Sept 2014_Page_2

My eight-page special report “Who owns the Lake District?” made the cover of this month’s Cumbria Life magazine. It explores the special responsibilities that comes with land ownership in an area of great natural beauty, where public access and commoners rights must be protected by law.

It was prompted by the media outcry over the Earl of Lonsdale’s decision to sell Blencathra, the saddleback mountain, earlier this summer for £1.75m – sparking a local campaign to bring the beloved landmark under community ownership.

British national parks vary from the American system in that the national park authority does not own the land it oversees, rather acting as a planning authority. Around 60% of the Lake District national park is under private ownership.

Full text and PDF clippings are available after the fold. Continue reading

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Council bosses cash in as services are cut

Council bosses cash in - Sunday Times July 2014I worked on this survey of council executive salaries, published in the Sunday Times last week. Our analysis found that more than half (61%) of executives received remuneration totalling more than £142,500, the prime minister’s salary.

All the information is available in the councils’ annual statement of accounts, which are released in their initial form in June/July each year and opened to the public for inspection.

Find the full text on the Sunday Times website here, or after the fold. Continue reading

Tracing the Butcher of Gippsland

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Currently I’m working on the first draft of a family memoir in which I retrace the story of my great-great-great uncle, Angus McMillan, who fled Scotland during the Highland Clearances and became a celebrated explorer in Gippsland, Australia – only to reenact brutal ‘clearances’ of his own, upon the local aboriginal people.

I have been lucky enough to receive funding from both Creative Scotland (through their Quality Production programme) and Arts Trust Scotland (through their Emerging Artists programme), which has enabled me to visit Gippsland myself to conduct interviews, follow McMillan’s original exploratory routes, and gain insight into the problems affecting the Gunai people today as a direct result of McMillan and his peers’ actions.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this project – or if you have some information which you’d like to share – I’d love to hear from you. I also keep an Amazon wishlist of books I’d like to acquire for research purposes – so if you’d like to make a contribution I’d be delighted!

A girl’s got to eat so I’m still taking commissions – do get in touch if you’ve got some work for me!

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