Joanita Wibowo


5 minutes with author Miriam Sved

5 minutes with author Miriam Sved

In 5 minutes with author, Over 60 asks book writers about their literary habits and preferences. The first author of this series is Miriam Sved, a Melbourne-based writer, academic editor and parent. Her short fiction has appeared in various journals and anthologies such as Meanjin, Overland and Best Australian Stories. Her debut novel Game Day, which focuses on the AFL culture, has been praised as an “absolute corker” by The Age. Her latest book, A Universe of Sufficient Size, is out now. Over 60 spoke with Sved to discuss tired tropes, favourite fictional characters, and what to do with seemingly unending reads.

Over 60: What is your best writing tip?

Miriam Sved: Figure out your best routine and try to make a habit of it. For me it’s writing first thing in the morning, with a word count goal (from 300 to 900 words, depending on where I am in a project and in life). Also – if I can have two best tips – find a good writers’ group.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Long Run by Catriona Menzies-Pike and The Thinking Woman by Julienne van Loon. I don’t usually have more than one book on the go at a time but I accidentally picked up all three in the last couple of weeks and can’t bring myself to put any of them down.

What is your favourite literary character?

Such a hard one! Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice was an early love, but as I get older I have more time for Anne Elliot from Persuasion.

What book do you think more people should read?

I think Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver should be required reading in the age of climate change. Or maybe everything by Barbara Kingsolver.

Paperback, e-book or audiobook?

Definitely paperback for the win. I had a sordid fling with e-books but it didn’t last. I do love an audiobook on a long car ride.

How many books do you read each year?

Not as many as I’d like – maybe 25.

What is your least favourite trope?

I find the tortured male artist pretty tedious.

What do you do when you can’t seem to finish reading a book?

I stop. I recently stopped reading a book two-thirds of the way through because it just wasn’t compelling me to keep picking it back up. This used to be unthinkable – if I’d made it past the first page or two I had to see it through – but at some stage I decided life’s too short.