Good Reading : February 2018
Asan author, poet and musician, J M Donellan has made a career out of creating stor ies in different forms. After a string of bands in which he played guitar and sang broke up around him, he decided to focus solely on lyric writing, leading to more success as a poet than he ever had as a musician. His passion for storytelling - which he says is one of the things that makes us human - has lead him to his latest project: an anthology of stories in podcast form called Six Cold Feet. The first series of the podcast focuses on River and his twin sister, Har mony, who leaves her brother panic-striken when she vanishes from their town. When asked about his decision to feature a brother and sister as the central relationship in this story, Donellan said that he finds the sibling bond ‘a lot more fascinating and a bit stronger’ than that of a romantic relationship, which he originally considered as the focus of the narrative. Like their creator, indie musicians River and Harmony are driven by the idea of creating something new through their music and writing. Donellan says: ‘One thing that’s great about art is that you don’t need a licence; you can pick up a guitar and make something.You don’t need per mission.You don’t need authority. You just make it.’ The strong bond between the twins and their love of creation drives much of the story, but it is also driven by the platform on which it’s delivered. By telling a story with audio rather than text, Donnellan has different ways of building mystery and suspense at his disposal. It’s also a positive development in Donellan’s storytelling career, as it has allowed him to reach a wider audience. Novels often require a large amount of time to read, whereas podcasts are a more accessible medium that can be listened to while commuting or exercising. ‘As a storyteller, you always want to reach the ears of anyone who is interested,’ Donellan explains. He also realises that this platform is more enjoyable for those who struggle to read novels, such as people with dyslexia. Donellan’s novels A Beginner’s Guide to Dying in India and Killing Adonis have both received critical acclaim. He publishes poetry, regularly performs live spoken-word pieces and was a national finalist in the 2015 Australian Poetry Slam with his poem about refugee rights. When asked about which form he prefers to write in, Donellan explains that he likes ‘to blur forms wherever possible’, so it seems natural that he has ended up creating a podcast. There will be 10 episodes that follow River and Har mony, and episodes of Six Cold Feet are being released weekly on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher and TuneIn. GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING FEBRUARY 2018 30 UP CLOSE SOUNDING OFF Multitalented storyteller J M DONELLAN has released what he calls ‘a podcast novel’, Six Cold Feet, which kicks off as Harmony, the sister and bandmate of River, disappears. ERIN CHRISTIE reports.