Aussie Talk – an author interview

This wonderful lighthearted book is a collection of some of the best known and most used Australian ‘Slang-uage’ – sayings, slang and idiom the Aussie way.

This book is the duck’s nuts for those writing and editing for an Australian audience who may not be Australian born or have lived in Australia long enough to be across uniquely true-blue Australian colloquial language. It would also make an ideal gift for a visitor to Australia.

The book’s chapters cover Greetings & Farewells; Compliments; Insults; Threats, Warnings & Taunts; Toilet Humor, The Mating Game and Sport to name a few.

At Editors Books we copped it sweet and managed to track down the author of Aussie Talk, Paul Bugeja. We decided to have a yarn with him about the inspiration for the book and found an author with blood worth bottling.

What prompted you to explore Australian ‘slang-uage’ and write a book about it?

My first gig while doing my Writing and Editing degree at RMIT was a freelance editing/proofing gig with a small publisher Brolga Publishing. About a year or so into that gig, the publisher asked if I was also interested in writing. This led to me putting together all the forwarding material and doing some rewrites/edits for ‘Dream Dictionary’ and to taking over completing ‘Crimes of Passion’ when the other writer had to pull out. Once I was through these, the Publisher then pitched some books he wanted written, one of these being a book on Aussie Slang. So effectively, it was commissioned, which I quite liked as I am quite project driven – give me a brief, and I’ll go at it!

Did you have an intended audience for the book and if so, who was it?

The Publisher and I spoke about this and he was hoping it would have quite a broad audience, hopefully outside of Australia. Given it had about three print runs, and I had friends in the USA and UK stumble across it, he was right!

When the book was published, did you find an audience for the book that you didn’t anticipate? If so, please explain.

Not really, although I did have people find it in some really odd places! One friend found a copy in a really small bookshop in Port Douglas, in far north Queensland, which kind of makes sense given the huge number of international tourists that go through there.

I’m sure you have had some great feedback on the book and it would be good to have a comment or two that are either funny, quirky, profound, interesting or just true-blue Aussie that you would be happy to share.

Well, I’d like to hope that those who bought and read it found it ripper, beauty, true blue and bonza. I do like it that the few times I’ve spoken to people who have read it that I found a good balance between older, more standard Aussie Slang and some more contemporary language – a good mix between reminding people where our slang has come from to where it is now. Given how quickly language evolves, it might be time to do a refresh and add in some new slang.

Do you have any plans for a follow-up book or any other books?

I have written a number of other books since Aussie Slang, with very much a focus on Australia, notably ‘Outback Women’s Stories: Amazing Aussie Amazons’ and ‘Aussie Dog Stories’. I’m currently writing a book a very personal work titled ‘No Time for Grief, or How I learned to love the Dark Angel’, which is a very personal piece about a neuromuscular condition I have called FascioScapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy. It’s a massive departure from other books I’ve written, given how personal it is, and a bit confronting too, but I really want to share my story, thoughts, feelings and the (little bit of) wisdom I have with others who are also dealing with their own personal challenges.

Bugeja P, Aussie Talk, Brolga Publishing, 4th edition, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-1922175885

Paul Bugeja is a writer, editor, screenwriter and (sometimes) actor-director. His passions (read: obsessions) include sport, film, the arts and politics. With several books under his belt and a variety of other writing projects on the go, his love of the written word is what keeps him up at night, gets him up in the morning and keeps him going during the day. Along with coffee.

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