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On Your Desk

Josephine Pennicott 1

The next workspace in the "On Your Desk" series belongs to Australian writer and artist Josephine Pennicott. Josephine is a multi-award-winning author of mystery, crime, and fantasy novels, including four of particular interest to mythic fiction readers: the darkly enchanting "Circle of Nine" trilogy, which draws upon Persephone/Kore myths, and Poet's Cottage, a terrific mystery inspired by the life of children's author Enid Blyton. Josephine was born in Tasmania, spend her early years in Papua New Guinea, and now lives in inner-city Sydney with her husband and daughter. To learn more about Josephine's writing, art, and life, visit her blog: Tale Peddler.

Here's her description of the charming "writing shed" in her garden, pictured above:

"No matter what time of day or evening, it is always tranquil in my garden office shed. There’s no internet connection or telephone. Instead there’s the rustle of trees and sounds of birds. I can hear currawongs, magpies and the occasional plane passing over. When it rains, the shed becomes womb-like and cosy. But in the humidity of Sydney it is also a good place to be, in between large cool palms and a tea-tree.

Josephine Pennicott 2

"Inside my garden writing shed I’m surrounded by past, present and future project inspirations. At the moment there are a lot of books on 1940s Australian artists as I’m writing a mystery novel in that time period. The blue butterflies on the window remind me of my father who died last year and who encouraged me to live a creative life. The Thesaurus he bought me when I was seventeen is always at my side to remind me of our shared love of words.

"There are several awards placed around the office that my writer husband, David Levell, and I have won; and an old china teapot which has flowers in it to honour the muses.  On the wall is an inspiration board of photographs and images for my current book, including lots of photos of the Australian bush.

Josephine Pennicott 3

"Also in the shed: Piles of scrapbooks with clippings from newspapers. Crystals. Jean Cocteau prints from Menton. A tribal mask from New Guinea, where I spent my early childhood. A limited edition print of “Charles Dickens’ Dream,” signed by a descendant. My muses in the form of photographs of Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, Enid Blyton and the wonderful Elizabeth Taylor, who is the patron saint of my shed. A framed certificate for love of reading which I received from Bulae Primary School in Lae, New Guinea. Nothing has changed so many years later; I still love words and books.

"Above the desk is a beautiful Laura Ashley wallpaper which features birds and butterflies. My German publisher used it for the cover jacket of Dornen Tochter (the German version of Poet’s Cottage); I love the fact they used my wallpaper. In the photo above, you can see the bag that Ullstein Publishing made for the book, inspired by my writing shed.

"Our house is a small brick historic worker’s cottage, and so the garden shed is necessary for space. I share it with my husband, but luckily he's accustomed to my penchant for florals and pretties. My workspace doesn’t actually reflect some of my current writing, mystery and crime (which can get very dark, tinged with gothic and supernatural elements), but it’s my frou frou refuge where I truly feel not only inspired but at peace."

Josephine Pennicott 5

All readers of this blog are welcome to contribute to the "On Your Desk" series. You'll find more information (and the address where you should send your photos) at the bottom of the first post of the series. Please view the full series to get an idea of what kind of material to send in. If you've already contributed to the series, but you've changed your workspace, you are welcome to contribute again.