Jan Cornall is a writer, performance poet and singer based in Sydney Australia. Awarded a number of grants and fellowships, she has written fifteen plays and musicals, a feature film, a published novel, a poem/song collection, short stories and three CDs of songs. With a strong interest in Asia, Jan collaborates regularly with writers, musicians and artists from the region. She has performed her work at a number of literary festivals including Ubud Writers Festival (Bali), Utan Kayu Biennale(Jakarta), Hong Kong International Literary Festival, Northern Kingdoms Poetry Festival (Cambodia), Darwin’s Wordstorm, Irrawaddy Literary Festival (Burma) and Open Arts Festival (Beijing). Jan leads international writers retreats and is currently working on a literary memoir set in Vietnam, which traces the footsteps of the French author Marguerite Duras. Her novel Take Me to Paradise was launched at the Ubud Writers Festival in 2006 and her recent book Archipelagogo - Love Songs to Indonesia, is a delightful collection of poems, songs and stories penned during a decade of travel in Indonesia.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in country towns in Victoria, Australia. We rode bikes wherever we liked and spent hours out in the bush, just mucking around. I think all that time spent playing and dreaming is important training for a writer. In my bedroom, on a shelf or chest of drawers I always had a kind of diorama with porcelain characters, small dolls and china animals set up. I would move them around from time to time and let them play out various stories. I performed plays too from an early age, so it's no surprise my early writing was for the theatre.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote poems in primary school and high school which were published in the school magazine.
Marilyn wakes up one morning and instead of catching the bus to work, catches the ‘I don’t like Mondays’ flight to Bali. But is she too late to indulge her paradise dream? How many western women have arrived before her and fallen headlong for the lush green island, its exotic culture, and their attractive driver?