The importance of place in our sense of who we are is central to the writing and life of Seddon author Meg Mundell. She speaks with Benjamin Millar
What’s your connection with Seddon?
My partner and I moved out west six years ago, when our son was a baby. We wanted to live close to the city – but not too close. Inner westies seem to feel a strong attachment to the area, and there’s a real sense of community. It’s a welcoming place. We love it.
What do you like most about the area?
I like the industrial history, all the old buildings, and being close to both the city and the sea. And I love the fact that not everyone around here looks exactly like me: it’s really culturally diverse. Being a migrant I feel at home in a community that’s made up of so many different cultures.
What are your favourite local places?
Maribyrnong River for walks, bike-rides, or a cruise on The Blackbird with local legend Captain Peter Somerville. For fresh air, Footscray Park, Altona beach, Williamstown back beach and Newport Lakes.
For food, Barkly Street in Footscray, Little Man in Seddon and One For the Crow in Maidstone.
What inspired you to write your new fiction work The Trespassers?
The Trespassers was inspired by Australia’s history of migration, our attitudes to outsiders, and a fascination with the sea. My aim was to write a page-turner with heart, a mystery that also makes you wonder, and think. Most of all, I hope people get swept up in the story and the characters’ lives.
What is the idea behind your story collection We Are Here?
We Are Here is a collection of true stories written by people who’ve experienced homelessness. The goal was to create something beautiful, amplify overlooked voices, and challenge a few myths and stereotypes. It was hugely rewarding working with the 37 talented writers, some of whom live locally.
Are you currently working on any other projects?
I’m writing some academic articles, gearing up for writers’ festivals, and chatting with the screenwriter who’s adapting The Trespassers for TV. I’m also planning to co-write a children’s book with a friend, Hassan. My mum Pam Mundell is an artist, so we’ve recruited her to illustrate it.
What is something people may be surprised to learn about you?
Since I’m from New Zealand, maybe this isn’t so surprising, but I know how to shear a sheep!
Meg Mundell’s new novel The Trespassers (UQP) and her edited collection We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place & Belonging (Affirm Press) are now available from your local bookshop, or online.