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Deakin Arts graduate John Bartlett is about to release his latest book All Mortal Flesh, a collection of short stories which explore and navigate the reader through the frailties and quirkiness of the human condition.
His first novel Towards a Distant Sea drew heavily on his experiences as a Catholic priest in the Philippines during the turbulent years of the Marcos Martial Law regime. The novel, currently being marketed as a possible movie, was described by High Court Judge Michael Kirby as 'a story about the impact of repression on the human spirit - and the way, despite all odds, humanity struggles endlessly against worldly authority.'
All Mortal Flesh too is peopled by characters with a raw honesty that never degenerates into didacticism and the balance between morality and mortality (or perhaps it's humanity and humanism) is maintained with a wisely observant eye.
A man diagnosed with cancer goes on a flower-buying spree while a sculptor is seduced by and elopes with his own statue. A girl makes the most of an encounter with a UFO and a woman returns to her childhood home to search for a vanished father. A man modelling for an artist gets more than he bargained for and a country boy looks for love in the big city.
John graduated from Deakin in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts (Literary Studies). He is an experienced writer and researcher; in recent years he has had over 50 feature articles and short stories published in various magazines and newspapers.
John says his Deakin Arts degree helped him to pursue his writing career.
" My course challenged me to professionalise my writing skills in my chosen field and allowed me to become more knowledgeable about literature and professional writing. Deakin introduced me to many new industry contacts and networks," he said.
"I am currently undertaking an off-campus Master of Professional Writing degree at Deakin to further improve my skills and hope to continue publishing both fiction and non-fiction books," he said.
Mr Bartlett is currently lecturing in Professional Writing at Deakin's Waurn Ponds Campus.
All Mortal Flesh will be launched on Sunday 29 March 2009 at 2pm at the Connewarre Hall, Randalls Road, Connewarre by award-winning short story writer Anthony Lynch.
For more information about John and his writing, visit his Heartsong website.