Among the Chaos

This series explores where writers write. Where is the space? What is its significance? And what writing habits does the writer follow?

This issue, beloved author and broadcaster Ramona Koval takes us into her nook.

‘I have written three books in the corner of a bedroom in my apartment, set up on my splendid desk (which was a table with legs cut down by my husband), surrounded by photos of my grandchildren, their artworks, their gifts, their notes to me, (to show that if I can’t write, at least I had their mothers who, in turn, had them), editions of my books, other books that might be useful for my new project, piles of papers, my notebook and pens (I love my fountain pen but rarely use it), a literary award tucked in the corner (to prove that once I knew how to write), a pile of CDs of old radio interviews (I should put them away, it’s been eleven years), spare lipsticks (Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow because I like the colour and especially the name), and a Wislawa Szymborska poem called ‘Consolation’ Blu-tacked to the wall. Although this looks messy, I like the rest of the place to be neat. I sit down to write only when the beds are made, the kitchen is clean, the washing is on, as is the soup, and I have woken up my brain, reading the papers and doing my Duolingo lessons (German, Hebrew and French at the moment).’

Ramona Koval is the author of A Letter to Layla: Travels to our Deep Past and Near FutureBloodhound: Searching for my father, and By the Book: A reader’s guide to life. She is an Honorary Fellow at the School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University.