Robert Phillips | ACT Author Insights

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 1 Jul 2017   published by: Robert Phillips

This is the first blog I have ever written, so I really have no idea of what I’m doing, but one has to start somewhere.

I thought I’d better begin by introducing myself.

I’ve always been a writer, ever since I was very young. I wrote my first stories when I was about four or five.

My first serious forays into writing were in the 1970s, mainly at the Q Theatre in Adelaide. I wrote several sketches and one act plays before I wrote a full-length play Technocraton. Set in a future, technocratic society, it showed how robots and computers were putting people out of work.The city’s administrators set people the task of building a pyramid. Technocraton was premiered at the Q, and was published by Heinemann in their Australian Theatre Workshop series.

Later, I moved to Canberra to follow a research career. I became a Senior Researcher in the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, specialising in aviation risk analysis. My major project was working with a team to develop models to calculate the probabilities of mid-air collisions between aircraft.

During quarter of a century I wrote about 100 technical papers and reports, mostly for internal consumption, although some were published or presented at conferences etc.

By the time I retired, I realised that most people didn’t have much appreciation of the likelihood of risk, so I decided to write a book about the risks that we are exposed to in everyday life. The result, after several years of scanning through hundreds of documents and doing many calculations was A Risky Life, published by Halstead Press over the summer of 2014 - 2015.

In the meantime, I continued to write other things, trying my hand at novels, short stories and comedy sketches, some of which have been performed or found their way into print. I have also written historical papers, and articles on writing. More recently, I compiled a novella called Canberraesque, set in the ACT in the 23rd century. It will soon be coming into print.

As far as my involvement in Canberra life is concerned, I became active in the Downer Community Association. I was involved in running it and the Downer Community Centre for several years, and worked with a colleague on compiling the Downer History Project of interviews and memorabilia.

For several years, I was Secretary of the ACTWC and the ACTWC (Writers Centre and Wine Club). I also got involved with the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild and Canberra’s annual speculative fiction convention Conflux.

A week after I retired in 2006, a Burmese cat named Tom wandered into my townhouse and my life. He has now been with me for over a decade. He is like many Burmese, affectionate and self-opinionated. Life is never dull with a Burmese cat.

I decided to set up this website, partly to promote my writing, but also to express my views of a wide range of subjects. This blog will hopefully be the first of many.