Taking Five with Benjamin Law

Taking Five

Benjamin Law is holding two masterclasses at the ACT Writers CentreThe Story of My Life on Saturday 1 November, and Feature Writing and the Business of Freelancing on Sunday 2 November. Bookings by phone on 6262 9191 or online here.

1. What is it about writing that you love?

Mostly I write non-fiction, which gives you the permission to be a shameless busybody and ask the most thrillingly rude questions. But I also love writing because it’s a big, ongoing education – one you get to share with an audience.

2. Are there any particular works/writers that have influenced you?

As a teenager, I subscribed to Rolling Stone and devoured their longform stories on everything to politics to music to gender and sexuality. That was my first realisation that non-fiction could be told like a great story. Nowadays, I’ll read anything by Susan Orlean, Ariel Levy, Devin Friedman, Joan Didion and Jon Ronson, and locally, anything by Helen Garner, Anna Krien and Chloe Hooper.

3. What do you find hardest when it comes to writing?

The hardest part of writing is probably writing itself. Standing in front of the laptop and putting one word in front of the other? It ain’t natural.

4. What are you currently reading?

For my book club, I’m reading Stephen King’s The Shining and Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North. And I’m reading Lena Dunham’s memoir and George R.R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows on the side. As well as some Christopher Isherwood, as well as the latest issues of GQ, The New Yorker and The Monthly.

5. Describe your newest book (co-authored with Michelle Law)  Sh*t Asian Mothers Say in 3 words.

Not very appropriate.

6. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

Read a lot. Write a lot. Get an accountant.


Benjamin Law is a Sydney-based journalist, columnist and screenwriter, and has completed a PhD in television writing and cultural studies. He is the author of two books—The Family Law (2010) and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012)—and the co-author of the comedy book Shit Asian Mothers Say (2014) with his sister Michelle and illustrator Oslo Davis. The Family Law has been translated into French and is currently being developed for television. Gaysia was published in India in 2013 and North America in 2014. Both of his books have been nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards, and he is now working on his next. Benjamin is a frequent contributor to Good Weekend (The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age), frankie and The Monthly. He has also written for over 50 publications, businesses and agencies in Australia and worldwide. For more information about Benjamin and his work please visit http://benjamin-law.com

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