Tom Doig

"The Coal Face" wins 2015 Oral History Victoria award!

Oral History Victoria have announced that The Coal Face is the joint winner of the inaugural Oral History Victoria Education Innovation Award 2015.

"An outstanding fusion of oral history, journalism and political activism. Tom Doig has worked hard and well to collect impressive first person accounts of the [2014] Morwell fire and of the time before and after; he has written a compelling account that threads those accounts into his narrative almost seamlessly, so that although the book and the framing is his, the evidence and the power comes from the testimony. This is, by any measure, an impressive and innovative example of contemporary activist oral history." 

The Oral History Victoria judges' panel consisted of world-renowned oral historian Alistair Thomson, Susan Faine and Ann Scally

More details here.

New book about the 2014 Hazelwood Mine Fire . . .

Penguin Books Australia have pubished my new book, The Coal Face

‘The smoke got thicker and darker and then it seemed to be coming from everywhere, swirling around until it blanketed the entire town . . .’

On 9 February 2014 a fire took hold in Victoria’s Hazelwood coal mine next to Morwell and burned for one and a half months. As the air filled with toxic smoke and ash, residents of the Latrobe Valley became ill, afraid – and angry. Up against an unresponsive corporation and an indifferent government, the community banded together, turning tragedy into a political fight.

Tom Doig reveals the decades of decisions that led to the fire, and gives an intimate account of the first moments of the blaze and the dark weeks that followed.The Coal Face is a gripping and immediate report of one of the worst environmental and public health disasters in Australian history. 

ORDER THE BOOK HERE! 

REVIEWS

"a very moving book ... coal miners and their families around the world need better options urgently" (Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC)

“a compelling read … a great read” (Marie McInerney, Croakey)

"an important element in the climate change debate that's usually too boring and too tedious to think about" (Mark Kramer, co-editor of Literary Journalism: A New Collection of the Best American Nonfiction and Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide)

“a terrific evening’s reading” (Kevin Jones, Safety At Work Blog)

“a great read” (Marni Cordell, Crikey editor)

“an excellent read” (David Hayward, RMIT Lecturer)

“a very interesting and confronting read” (Elaine, Goodreads)

“a well researched and readable account” (Suered, Amazon)

"Tom's writing style is a pleasure ... understated but compelling prose" (Sandy, Goodreads)

“I thought this would have been boring but I was pleasantly surprised ... a great, quick read” (Lisa, Goodreads)

READ AN EXCERPT OF THE COAL FACE HERE

MEDIA: "Push to Fire Up Coal Mine Inquiry" - The Age 

When Tom Doig visited Morwell for the first time, thick grey ash was falling out of the sky, there was an awful smell of smoke in the air, and authorities were handing out face masks.
"I had this overwhelming impression of being in an undeclared disaster zone," he said ... 
READ FULL ARTICLE HERE 

MEDIA: "Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry hears health concerns" - RN Drive 
Tom Doig speaking to Patricia Karvelas about the reopened Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry, 1 September 2015.

Hi! Welcome to my personal website page. I'm the one on the right.

Tom Doig is the author of Moron to Moron: Two Men, Two Bikes and One Mongolian Misadventure, published by Allen & Unwin. You can buy it if you want!

Moron to Moron on sale in the UK!

I am extremely pleased (and slightly startled) to announce that Moron to Moron is being distributed in the UK!
See the Atlantic Books catalogue

Tom Doig author appearences in 2014

Meanwhile, back in Australia, keep your eyes peeled for Moron-themed events featuring Tom Doig in 2014:

JUNE

Wednesday 4 June, 6:30pm - 8pm
Emerging Writers' Festival: Travel Writing Masterclass
Wheeler Centre, CBD, Melbourne
Tom Doig leads a workshop for those with itchy feet and big ideas. Turn your holiday anecdotes into narratives worth publishing with this practical, hands-on look at the do’s and please-don’t-ever-do’s of travel writing. Includes: planning your trip; finding your unique perspective; what travel writers can learn from journalists and/or memoirists; and how to spot a cliché and beat it to death without getting blood on your sandals.

AUGUST

Sunday 17 August, 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Word For Word Non-Fiction Festival: Unlikely Pilgrims
Geelong: Deakin University, Woolstores Campus, Waterfront 
Many of us can relate to a time when life reaches a crossroad and for some it can take an epic journey to figure out which way is forward. Greg Foyster (Changing Gears), Tom Trumble (Unholy Pilgrims) and Tom Doig (Moron to Moron) all undertook wildly different journeys in their attempts to do this and they discuss with Sean Vagg the perils, pitfalls and potential for peace in finding a better way of living.

Saturday 23 August, 1:30pm - 3pm
Melbourne Writers' Festival: Paperback Riders
From a nearby park to  Footscray Community Arts Centre, Footscray 
With Greg Foyster, Emma Ayres and Ianto Ware - details TBC

Sunday 24 August, 6pm - 8pm
Melbourne Writers' Festival: Funemployed
CBD (venue TBC)
Inspired by his new book Funemployed, award-winning writer, musician, performer and arts activist Justin Heazlewood, aka The Bedroom Philospher, will host his very own brand of Friday night talk show with a line up of local and international artists, including John Safran and Tom Doig, discussing the experience of being an artist, writer, musician or creative person in Australia i.e. Funemployment. 

Tuesday 26 August, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Melbourne Writers' Festival: Oversharers Anonymous
Toff in Town, Swanston Street, Melbourne
Myself and Laura Jean McKay are MC-ing this wild night of TMI from young memoirists, featuring Liam Pieper, Summer Land, Luke Ryan and Michelle Lee.

Friday 29 August, 4pm - 5pm
Melbourne Writers' Festival: Artists for the Environment
Venue TBC, Melbourne
In short, what can writers do to respond to climate change & environmental issues? Featuring poet Simon Armitage, writer Tom Doig and divestment activist Michael Pulsford

SEPTEMBER

Monday 8 September, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Writers Victoria: Author Talk - Other Places
Wheeler Centre, Melbourne
What drives people to leave the comfort of their everyday lives and suffer in far-flung parts of the world with unpronounceable names and indigestible food? Is it our essentially “nomadic” nature, as Bruce Chatwin claims? Is it “The Call of the Wild”? Or is that just a bunch of pretentious First World rubbish? All of the above, according to Tom Doig, author of Moron to Moron: two men, two bikes, one Mongolian misadventure. Come along and find out why.

NOVEMBER

With the NSW Writers' Centre: regional tour, by train, to Sydney via Wagga Wagga and Canberra. Details TBC.

* * * 

PLUS: Awesome events you've already missed:

Wednesday 19 February, 6:30pm - 8pm
Sunbury Library: author talk

Sunbury, Melbourne
Join Tom Doig author of Moron to Moron: Two Men, Two Bikes and One Mongolian Misadventure. Follow the hilarious adventures of two mates as they cycle across the harsh Mongolian terrain.
FREE EVENT, 18+ (apparently)

Saturday 22 February, 7pm - 7am
White Night Melbourne: Book of the Night
The Wheeler Centre, Melbourne (obvs)
The Emerging Writers’ Festival is challenging 12 writers over 12 hours to write 12 chapters in a collective work of fiction titled The Book of the Night. The intrepid writers on stage will have their writing projected as they work. Audiences are encouraged to shape the story by feeding plot points and suggesting characters. 

Friday 21st March, 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Voiceworks
 magazine launch - the 'Perspective' issue (MC)
Loop Bar, 23 Meyers Place, Melbourne
It's the fabulous Kat Muscat's final launch of Voiceworks, and she's roped me into MCing the thing - so, I will! I was Voiceworks editor from 2004 to 2006, so I will always have time and love for that crazy mag.

Tuesday 27th May, 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Williamstown Literary Festival: The Spoke'n Word - All the Pleasure and Pain of Cycling

SeaWorks, Williamstown, Melbourne
Join local author Vin Maskell as he explores all the pleasure and pain of long-distance cycling as well as adventures and misadventures, with authors who have pedalled across across Africa, Australia, Mongolia, and Siberia. Sharing their stories will be Tom Doig (Moron to Moron), Kate Leeming (Out There and Back), Greg Foyster and Sophie Chishkovsky (Changing Gears – A Pedal-Powered Detour from the Rat Race).
This evening will appeal to road racers, tourers, commuters, mountain bikers, adventurers, armchair travellers and anyone who loves bikes!

Saturday 31 May, 5pm - 7:30pm
See Change Arts Festival: From Moron to Moron and more
Jervis Bay, NSW
Be entertained by two young authors from Melbourne, Tom Doig and Laura Jean McKay, as they recount their travel adventures – one of a pushbike journey across Mongolia and the other tales of travel in Cambodia.
Language warning – not suitable for children.

* * * 

Meeeeanwhile, if you read Moron to Moron and love it / like it / don't hate it, by all means feel free to drop me a line and tell me so (tom [at] tomdoig.com), and/or review it at Goodreads or Amazon. That'd be ... zang.

Next stop: Ubud Writers and Readers Festival!

The countdown begins for the multifarious amazement that is the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival - I can't wait! (And I don't have to, because the festival begins any day now ...)

Ubud Bike & Literary Tour with Tom Doig
Sunday 13 October 2013

Tom has cycled from Moron to Moron in Mongolia & this year he’ll take you from Mt. Batur Volcano to Ubud. While Tom rides up the volcano, you will drive up for a breakfast over looking the stunning Penelokan Kintamani. Afterwards you'll cycle down through forests, rice terraces & small villages while Tom shares some of his cycling stories. The tour will end with a delicious Balinese buffet & chance to share your own travelling tales with literary (mis)adventurer Mr Doig. Please meet at Honeymoon Guesthouse II.

*
Writing on the Road
Monday 14 October 2013

Backpack (suitcase), notebook, laptop, mobile, camera, research, desire, courage... Hear from these travel writers about their experience writing from the road — is it always so easy to find an original angle & what lengths do you go to to find the story?
With: Claire Scobie
Jan Cornall
Laura Jean McKay 

*
Laki-laki Yang Lucu
Monday 14 October 2013 

How & why do these men use comedy to convey their stories? Are people born funny or do you have to work really hard to write genuinely funny material?
With: Ernest Prakasa
Jon Doust
Khairani Barokka
Morris Gleitzman
(*not a man)

*
The Second Sex Debate
Tuesday 15 October 2013

'It would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities & interests are different for physiological reasons.’ – Tony Abbott (1978). The quote may be old, but in 2013 have beliefs really changed?
With: Clementine Ford
Florence Williams
Jon Doust
Khairani Barokka
Chip Rolley
I Wayan Juniartha

Tom Doig at the Brisbane Writers' Festival in September 2013

I am very much looking forward to this upcoming session at the Brisbane Writers' Festival:

NOMADS
Sunday 8 October, 10am-11am
 

"Seasoned explorers Tim Cope and Tom Doig* discuss the internal pull to travel deep into other cultures with broadcasting legend Phillip Adams. Discover what they learn about themselves and their home in far-off, distant lands."

full event details

*Tom is not actually an explorer, nor is he particularly seasoned 

 

Tom Doig in conversation with Tony Wheeler at the Melbourne Writers' Festival

... I should probably say, Tony Wheeler in conversation with [some guy] at the Melbourne Writers' Festival on Wed 28 August.

Tony has just written a new book, called Tony Wheeler's Dark Lands, in which he recounts his experiences in Congo DRC, Colombia, Haiti, Nauru, Pakistan, Palestine-Israel, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe. I have the privilege of asking him some probing, journalistically rigorous questions about his flirtations with atrocity tourism. (Note to self: "Tony ... you're a legend!" = not a question.)

Book tickets now!

Thanks Byron Bay Writers' Festival for a whale of a time!

This is me flanked by authors-slash-iconic homosexuals Matthew Mitcham (left) and Benjmain Law (right), with authors-slash-notorious heterosexuals Mary-Lou Stephens and Jane Caro stage right.
We were all on a panel discussing gender, sexuality and, in my case, epically gratuitous shower masturbation scenes. Everyone learned a lot. 

Moron to Moron is a New Zealand bestseller!

I just got back from a couple of weeks in New Zealand, hanging out with fellow moron Tama Pugsley and plugging Moron to Moron left, right and centre as we cycled from Auckland to Wellington on a shonky Book Bike Tour. The NZ Herald ran a travel profile on me, and I went on television for the very first time. (Also, Tama and I made it onto the front page of the Taupo Times!) During mid-June, Moron made it onto the Nielsen Weekly Bestsellers List (for the week ending 15 June 2013). Here is the list:

INTERNATIONAL NON-FICTION FOR ADULTS Anchor(EXCLUDING NZ)
1. Jamie's 15-Minute Meals - Jamie Oliver
2. The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer - Mimi Spencer & Michael Mosley
3. Is it Just Me? - Miranda Hart
4. Moron to Moron: Two Men, Two Bikes, One Mongolian Misadventure - Tom Doig
5.
The Boys in the Boat - Daniel James Brown
6. The Fast Diet Recipe Book: 150 Delicious, Calorie-controlled Meals to Make your Fasting Days Easy
- Mimi Spencer & Dr. Sarah Shenker
7. Mud, Sweat and Tears - Bear Grylls
8. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead - Sheryl Sandberg
9. Rod: The Autobiography - Rod Stewart
10. How to Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You - Matthew Inman

... so I'm up there with Bear Grylls, Rod Stewart and some guy whose cat is plotting to kill him. What an exciting moment! It probably won't last, but for now it's my 15 frames of fame, and it's pretty zang.


Coming soon to a (small) town near you ...

Starting next weekend, myself and hopefully Tama (if he can get the time off work) are going to cycle from Auckland to Wellington as quick as we can. Especially if there is snow on the Desert Road. We will be doing Moron to Moron book launches along the way! However, in keeping with the moronic ethos of the original Mongolian mission, the whole thing is not particularly well-organised and might fall apart. Especially if there is snow on the Desert Road.

Thursday 13 June: AUCKLAND
6pm - 7:30pm, Timeout Bookstore, 432 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden Village
tell your mates

Saturday 15 June: HAMILTON
venue TBC 

Sunday 16 June: TAUPO
venue TBC 

Monday 17 June: TAIHAPE
venue TBC 

Tuesday 18 June: PALMERSTON NORTH
venue TBC 

(Wednesday & Thursday: sleeping)

Friday 21 June: WELLINGTON
venue TBC

Moron to Moron - in stores now!

Moron to Moron: two men, two bikes, one Mongolian misadventure is out now wherever all good books (and some shonky ones) are sold!
For e.g., at Booktopia
 
If you're in Melbourne, please come along to the launch on Thursday 9 May at Bella Union, Trades Hall.
If you're not in Melbourne, there's a chance I might be in your neck of the woods sometime soonish ... check here  

Meanwhile, check this zangin' book trailer, courtesy of Puck Murphy