Brooke Dunnell presents: David Whish-Wilson on overcoming the fear of the known

The Fremantle Press Podcast
The Fremantle Press Podcast
Brooke Dunnell presents: David Whish-Wilson on overcoming the fear of the known

Speaking to host Brooke Dunnell on the Fremantle Press podcast, novelist David Whish-Wilson said the main problem he sees from his students as a Creative Writing teacher is ‘overcoming the fear of the known; overcoming this fear that your life is somehow not authentic and your life is not as interesting as other people’s.’

David’s latest historical fiction novel, The Sawdust House, is what he calls a ‘study of character’. David urges his students, and all writers, to ‘explore your world first and find the stories that are contained within it. Try to recognise the wealth of story, the wealth of character that’s all around you.’

Topics Discussed

  • Researching tips
  • Writing historical fiction
  • The job of a fiction writer
  • The role of fate in life and fiction
  • Advice for writers
  • Overcoming the fear of the known

Books and other things mentioned


Old Bailey Online

Ben Mountford

Tim Causer

West Cork Historical Society

Cork Museum

Sixteen Straws by The Drones

Creative Writing at Curtin University

About the host:

Brooke Dunnell is the author of the short story collection Female(s and) Dogs, which was a finalist for the 2020 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award. Her short stories have been recognised in competitions including the Bridport Short Story Prize 2019 and the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize 2017, and have appeared in The Best Australian StoriesNew Australian Stories 2, The Big Issue fiction edition and other anthologies. Brooke has worked as a creative writing mentor, workshop facilitator and judge in various creative writing competitions. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Western Australia and lives in Perth. Her novel, The Glass House, won the 2021 Fogarty Literary Award and will be published in November 2022.

Connect with Brooke at or on Twitter @TheSpineLabel or Instagram @Brooky.Brooks.

About the guest:

David Whish-Wilson is the author of eight novels and three creative non-fiction books. He was born in Newcastle, NSW but raised in Singapore, Victoria and WA. He left Australia aged eighteen to live for a decade in Europe, Africa and Asia, where he worked as a barman, actor, street seller, petty criminal, labourer, exterminator, factory worker, gardener, clerk, travel agent, teacher and drug trial guinea pig.

David’s first novel in the Frank Swann crime series, Line of Sight (Penguin Books Australia) was shortlisted for a Ned Kelly Award in 2012. He has since written three more in the series – the first three being published in Germany by Suhrkamp Verlag. David wrote the Perth book in the NewSouth Books City series, which was shortlisted for a WA Premier’s Book Award.

He currently lives in Fremantle, Western Australia with his partner and three kids, where he teaches Creative Writing at Curtin University.

Connect with David on Facebook @DaveWhishWilson, Twitter @DaveWhishWilson or Instagram @davidwhishwilson

Original music

‘Letter to a Daughter of St George’, from the Meat Lunch E.P: Songs from Floaters. Written by Alan Fyfe. Performed by Trevor Bentley (guitar and vocals – @trevormb) and Chris Parkinson (harmonica). Produced by Blake Carnaby of Nuglife studios with impresario work by Benjamin P. Newton.

Sound engineering

Aidan D’Adhemar, Fremantle PA Hire

Produced by

Claire Miller, Fremantle Press Marketing and Communications Manager and the Fremantle Press Marketing and Communications team

This podcast was produced in Walyalup in Wadjak Boodja, on the lands of the Noongar people.

Books discussed

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