Writer & Editor, available for hire.
/ About me.
In 1987 I started a journalism cadetship at The Western Times newspaper in Footscray in Melbourne. We’re talking manual (not electronic) typewriters and weekly printed editions. I moved to The Telegraph group on the north-western outskirts of Melbourne and was Editor of the Bacchus Marsh & Melton Telegraph by 1989. Not sure how that worked. Have been in writing and editing essentially ever since, save for a) a nine month stint at a stockbroker in Birmingham and b) a nine month stint proofreading phone books.
Proof. Reading. Phonebooks.
Between times I completed the two-year Associate Diploma of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University (early- to mid-1990s; dux).
This is the guts of it: I’ve been out on my own as a full-time, freelance word farmer since 2003. I’ve not had any kind of casual, part- or full-time work in that time; every cent I’ve earned has been work-from-home pay-per-word piecemeal. I don’t run courses, or do tours, or tastings; I just write. I’ve done this with a mortgage, two kids, two cats and one wife. Through the entirety of this time my wife has been in the exact same boat: she’s a full-time, freelance writer and editor too, and has not had any supplementary steady income this century. We’re “no Plan B” types. We roll up our sleeves and see what we can craft.
Professionally, wine saved me. Wine has been very good to me. The below have been crucial in keeping things afloat:
The Winefront website. I started it in 2002 and I love working on it just as much now as I did then.
Australian Sommelier Magazine. I was founding editor, and it was fun.
A 10 year stint as a columnist at Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine. It helped establish me in the field.
SUNDAY Magazine wine columnist (former). It was that rare thing in wine writing: a weekly gig.
Halliday Wine Companion Magazine (former). I was founding editor, and I’m proud of it. It’s an even better mag now with Amelia Ball in the editor’s chair, but we’ll keep that to ourselves.
Chief Features Writer at Halliday Magazine (former).
Reviewer for the annual Halliday Wine Companion book 2013-current.
The Wine Hunter (2006, Hachette)
The Big Red Wine Book (2008, Hardie Grant Books)
The Big Red Wine Book (2009, Hardie Grant Books)
The Big Red Wine Book (2010, Hardie Grant Books)
Thin Skins, (2011, Stirling US)
The Wine Hunter (2015, Hard Cover, Self/Hardie Grant Books)
1995 Independent Monthly Young Writer of the Year Award
1996 CUB Best Australian Sports Writing Award
2004 Wine Press Club Wine Communicator Award
2005 R/U Wine Press Club Wine Communicator Award
2006 Wine Press Club Wine Communicator Award
2013 Wine Press Club Best Feature Article
2016 Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards Chairman’s Award
In 1990-1991 I had a full-time, reasonably paid, superannuation-contributing job at the Werribee/Wyndham City Council in Melbourne. I wrote speeches, newsletters and press releases. My resignation letter from this job suggested that I needed to write a novel. To do so I'd rented a place in the Victorian high country a long way from anywhere; it had no phone line, or tv, or radio reception, or sound system though it did have possums living in the roof. This of course was pre-web days. My boss said: get that out of your system, then give me a call and we'll get you your job back. Wilson was his name. I started the novel, knocked out 165,000 words in 7-8 months and was quite chuffed. I then decided that this manuscript was almost perfect but just wasn't quite there. So I started re-writing it from scratch. And so began a long, long road to who knows where. Every day I write, I craft, I move words around the page, and every day still brings surprises. I’ve won a good many writing awards through the journey, some of them small, some of them significant, some of them for fiction, most of them for non-fiction. But I still don’t have that novel that I can slap on the table and say: there you go Wilson, I’m done. This is the burn in my life. It hasn’t happened overnight, but it will happen, and when it does, I still plan on calling him. I don't know how old Wilson was in 1990-91 but as a guess I'd say, maybe, he was in his late 50s. That would make him mid- to late-90s now. If you have his number, please pass it on via the Contact Me page. And wish me luck.
Mattinson’s Avenue Photography
Photographer, available for hire. Stories told in images. Editorial, portrait, promotional. After 30 professional years of moving words around the page photography has been a wonderful addition to the kit box. Hire me to tell the story of you.