Aussie author living his life with a great passion

Benjamin Law
Benjamin Law Contributed

CAPTURING the Loch Ness monster in a giant sink hole ... It's not the most conventional way to start a career, but Benjamin Law says it worked for him.

The renowned Australian author and columnist has two novels to his name and multiple bylines in top magazine publications.

But it's one of his earlier works that Law still recalls today.

"The first school writing project I remember is when I used to make hand-stitched magazines in Grade 4," he says.

"One was all about scientists who were going to drain Loch Ness with a giant capture.

"Their aim was to find if there really was a Loch Ness monster and catch him in a sink hole.

"Essentially, I would write fake news stories.

"So even when I was writing fiction it was still under the guise of journalism."

Since then, a departure from fictional monsters has seen Law gravitate more towards fact and frankness in his humorous yet touching body of impressive work.

His first novel, The Family Law, was shortlisted for Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards.

The book covered his time growing up on the Sunshine Coast with his family, and is being adapted for a television series on the ABC.

Law says the project will be done in a similar style to his friend and fellow author Marieke Hardy's show Laid, and comedian Josh Thomas's recent series Please Like Me.

But translating a literary collage of stories from an entire childhood won't be as easy as hand-stitching magazines.

Law says adapting stories about his past self is already proving to be an interesting experience.

"In a way I have to remove myself from it," he says.

"So I'm seeing it less as Benjamin 'me' and more as 'that ridiculous young boy called Ben'.

"I'm still pretty ridiculous now though."

His second novel, Gaysia, explores attitudes to homosexuality in Asia, with equal parts humour and raw observations.

When he's not creating script adaptations or gonzo-style journalistic pieces, Law writes for a variety of publications on almost any topic.

The most recent of these includes sex with his mother - but no, not in "that" way.

"My mother and I actually write a sex column for a publication called The Lifted Brow," he says.

"Every month or so, we get sent relationship questions and we answer them in turn.

"It's funny because my mum's not a writer but she gives good advice.

"It's become a nice gig that we've been doing for quite a few issues now."

Law has also appeared as a guest on the ABC's popular and interactive opinion show Q&A.

But he says his time spent sitting on the panel with host Tony Jones is unlikely to be a performance that will be repeated.

"There's nothing in the pipeline for that," he says.

"It's actually hugely intimidating to be on Q&A.

"There's something much more comfortable about participating behind the scenes by being snarky on Twitter, I've found."

As Law says himself, writing is his first and only "true love" - and one that he hopes will last forever.

"Writing is not a career with an expiry date," he says.

"It's also about helping people out with publishing or their own writing.

"Coupled with teaching and the guest lectures that I do, it's all matched up to one big passion. And if I don't keep doing it, I guess I'll get poor and die.

"So, it's lucky I love it."

Topics:  books entertainment reading

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