Joanita Wibowo


5 minutes with author Tabitha Bird

5 minutes with author Tabitha Bird

In 5 minutes with authorOver 60 asks book writers about their literary habits and preferences. Next in the series is Tabitha Bird, poet and writer. After working as a teacher in Hong Kong and the US, Bird returned to her home state of Queensland to work on her books and live with her husband and three sons. Earlier this month, she published her first novel, A Lifetime of Impossible Days.

Over 60 spoke with Bird to discuss reading for happiness, rediscovering creative passions, and wisdom from Maya Angelou.

Over 60: What is your best writing tip?

Tabitha Park: Write from that place inside where the most honest words come from. Write the things that scare you and excite you and move you. Come alive when you write and be yourself on the page. People tend to be attracted to the authentic and the vulnerable. Connect with your truest self when you write, and later on readers will also feel invited to connect to your words. 

What book(s) are you reading right now?

The Sparkle Pages by Meg Bignell, which is laugh out loud funny! I’m also reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which is a brave non-fiction book meant as a study guide to give your art a voice. My pen and ink drawings have been flourishing under her guidance. 

What was the last book that made you cry?

Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe stole a piece of me. The book is both beautiful and raw and I was inspired by Trent’s willingness to let his life talk. His courage in using his novel to speak about the pain, struggles and messiness of being human really paved the road for me to stand beside my own book.  

What book do you think more people should read?

I think people should read what makes them happy. I’m a big believer in reading the books that find you. The ones that you cannot put down, the stories that make you laugh or cry. Don’t read what others say you must. Read for you.

Paperback, e-book or audiobook?

Tough question! Paperback because I love to hold books the way a mother might enjoy holding a baby. I even enjoy that new book smell! But audio books are probably where I get most of my reading done. We live way out in the country so I like to listen to books on long drives. 

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I run around after three boys! I also love to draw. This is a side of my creativity that has been long dormant and I’m enjoying rediscovering it. 

Which author, living or deceased, would you most like to have dinner with?

I’d love to have dinner with Maya Angelou! I think I’d sit there the whole night hanging off her every word. I’d love to hear her recite Still I Rise in her liquid-golden voice. Then I’d soak in whatever wisdom she wanted to pass down. Secrets of womanhood, sisterhood, writing stories born of our blood and bone, whatever she had to say!