Category Archives: meta

A Biographer in Perth is relocating: please come join me at nathanhobby.com

Abandoned_House_-_panoramio

Photo: “Abandoned House” mrfreson, Wikimedia commons.

Starting this separate blog seemed like a good idea at the time. It was January 2014 and I was writing a lot about the art of biography on my original blog, nathanhobby.wordpress.com. It was quite specialised and I thought that (a) it might bore readers who came for other things and (b) if I started a new blog it might help me connect to other biographers and readers of biographies.

As it turns out, I don’t have time to maintain two blogs and most of the readers of this blog would probably enjoy or at least tolerate the things I write on my other blog. So the blogs have merged, and I’ve exported everything on this blog to my new address, https://nathanhobby.com. My two blogs, “The Annotations of Nathan Hobby” and “A Biographer in Perth”, have become one: “Nathan Hobby, a biographer in Perth: The life of Katharine Susannah Prichard, the art of biography, and other things.”

Thank you all for reading and commenting on this blog! I look forward to continuing the conversation with you over at the new address. If you haven’t already, please do follow me there through WordPress or by email or however else you like to do it. It won’t be much different, just a little more frequent, if anything. And for the moment, this blog can stay just as it is, like an abandoned house.

 

 

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70k, and the war just beginning

The word count of my biography just hit 70,000, so I thought I’d pause to celebrate with this blog post. It’s a nice milestone, but it’s not altogether welcome. The paragraph I’m on concerns the outbreak of the Great War, so I’m in August 1914, which means I have 4.5 years to go, and the original aim was for an 80,000 word biography.

Back at the end of August I set a plan to write a chapter a month, taking me to the end of the biography during 2017. I’ve been meeting my targets, but I’ve become painfully aware of how naive my plan was. The years I’m writing about in Katharine’s life have proven to throw up far more intriguing stories, characters and events than I anticipated. A good problem to have, I realise. I’ve already added two chapters, and I expect to have to keep adding them.

Writers often get obsessed by word counts and I think it can be a trap; words are cheap, quality words are hard. But it’s a balancing act: measuring, celebrating output can be a necessary and powerful incentive along the way and I feel my ambitious and naive targets have energised me. So far. Most days.


Why and how I write: a blog chain

Writer and priest, Ted Witham, has asked me to carry on a chain-blog. Ted’s post can be found here, giving interesting insight into his writing process. I think a walk along the beach first thing is a splendid idea, though would be a bit hard for me. I’m also looking forward to his feature article on Dorothea Angus.

What am I working on at the moment?

As readers of this blog know, I’m working on a biography of the early life of Katharine Susannah Prichard. I have a new title this week, taken from chapter two: “The Memory of a Storm: The Making of Katharine Susannah Prichard, 1883-1919”. It’s a phrase from her book The Wild Oats of Han, but it also refers nicely back to her autobiography, Child of the Hurricane, the foundation for my book. Continue reading