An editor once said “oddball” is my writing speciality.
I’m OK with that – odd things are intriguing. The more unconventional, the better, I reckon. Below is a small and far from exhaustive selection of my previously published stories: sometimes odd, hopefully often intriguing.
“With no word of a lie, I can say that Koren is one of our easiest freelancers to work with. She is speedy, enthusiastic and proactive – and her writing’s great too. Plus, she’s ace company for a chat over a cup of tea!”
“Koren is a dream to work with – not only is she a great writer but she is quick, very reliable and always the right style. She is professional but super-friendly – I’d recommend her in a heartbeat (though secretly want to keep her for myself…).”
“Koren is excellent to work with. She always comes in on tone, on deadline, and clean as a whistle.”
“Koren is professional, timely and very easy to work with. Her stories are well-written and reported, and she is always willing to put in any extra work required to make sure that they’re perfect.”
“Koren is an extremely versatile writer: she’s equally at home in the pages of tabloids, literary magazines, and political blogs. She delivers clean, sharp copy on deadline, and she responds promptly and insightfully to edits. Koren is a writer of great talent and even greater dedication.”
“Koren is a gifted reporter with a honed instinct for what makes a good story and a talent for fluid writing. She’s a pleasure to work with.”
Unconventional lives + cool projects
- Trash is for Tossers for frankie
Lauren Singer lives a completely waste-free life in New York City.
- Future Library for frankie
Berlin-based artist Katie Paterson is growing books for people who haven’t even been born yet, via her ambitious century-long Future Library project.
- Eye, Human for The Lifted Brow
Spanish-Brit cyborg Neil Harbisson found a doctor willing to drill straight through his skull to permanently implant a piece of technology beneath his occipital bone.
- Abandonment issues for Smith Journal
Shane Thoms spends most of his spare time and cash chasing photos of neglected buildings around the world. His trips are often illegal, and can result in a faceful of mould.
- This Spanish family physician wants you to know more about illegal drugs for GlobalPost
Meet Dr X, who’s fighting taboos with the help of drug marketplaces on the ‘deep web.’
- Reclaiming ‘butch’: ‘It’s surprising how much of a taboo it still is’ for The Guardian Australia
“People use ‘butch” as a way of insulting queer women,” says Esther Godoy, who has launched a new publication aiming to change that.
- How to do what you love for a living: An interview with film clip director Darcy Prendergast for Junkee
Darcy Prendergast spends his days blowing things up, animating insane lives for plasticine figurines and creating mind-boggling videos for Australian rock stars.
- How one Australian woman turned Tindr into a successful New York art project for Junkee
Photographer Kirra Cheers went on 17 first dates in two months to create a series exploring how we connect in the digital age.
- Lament for a lost sister revives ancient art form for The Courier-Mail
How the seven Aboriginal sisters of Northeast Arnhem Land, in Australia’s Northern Territory, revived the lost art of keening.
- Single mother by choice: Inside the rising trend for The New Daily
Sophie Harper always knew she wanted kids, so a while back she made a deal with herself, a deadline of sorts. That’s how she found herself on the phone to a fertility clinic the day after turning 38: the deadline was up.
Passionate people doing good
- Antonio and Maria’s happy home invasion for Narratively
Long before “the sharing economy” took the Internet by storm, an ailing German adventurer and a benevolent Spanish couple sparked a forty-year experiment in ad-hoc hospitality.
- Saving an amputee pony named Faith for Narratively
An abused pony seems destined for the slaughterhouse, until one unusually altruistic couple goes above and beyond to arrange a groundbreaking treatment — the first of its kind in Spain.
- World’s longest braid saves Polish river for GlobalPost
Krakow artist Cecylia Malik orchestrates an unusual protest to save Poland’s Bialka River, threatened by over-development.
- Word on the street for The Adelaide Review
Homeless people are become tour guides in Barcelona, because who better to provide an insight into Spain’s most famous city than someone who has lived on its very streets?
- Real Australians Say Welcome for The Adelaide Review
With his viral Real Australians Say Welcome street art campaign, Adelaide’s Peter Drew sparked a national conversation about Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.
- C’mon Aussie C’mon for The Guardian Australia
Adelaide artists Jake Holmes and Peter Drew hand printed hundreds of rainbow-coloured posters repurposing a classic 1970s Australian cricket anthem into a call for marriage equality.
Spanish culture and quirks
- You may find this Spanish Christmas tradition a little hard to stomach for GlobalPost
Figurines depicting pooping celebrities and world leaders are carrying on a centuries-old tradition in Barcelona.
- What’s with the Spanish mullet? for El País
Why the great Spanish mullet is more than just a hairdo, it’s a way of life.
- Jamie Oliver knows absolutely nothing about paella for Global Post
Although Spain’s well-known saffron rice dish may be eaten around the world, most people don’t know the real thing. A new website is trying to change that.
- Spain’s unlikely squatters for New Internationalist
In apartments dotted across Spain, grassroots anti-eviction group Platform for Mortgage Affected People is attempting to engineer its own solution to the country’s housing crisis.
- Life in Spain as an expat for International Living
I regularly write for International Living magazine’s American and Australian editions about life in Spain and how expats can make a living here.
- Down the worm hole in Madrid’s hall of creepy crawlers for Narratively
Worms, crickets, snakes and cash heists — it’s all just another day at Madrid’s Expoterraria international reptile fair.
- Tasmania’s Valley of the Giants for Australian Traveller
Deep in the heart of Tasmania’s lush Styx Valley, I discover a centuries-old forest housing the world’s tallest hardwoods, with a little help from a flea market map.
- The silent treatment for Slow magazine
Two European countries are pushing the idea that travelling quietly can help slow us down and make us more aware of what’s around us.
- Total nudity is non-negotiable at the Friedrichsbad bathhouse for Escape
In the German spa town of Baden-Baden, being steamed and soaked and scrubbed in a 17-stage succession of saunas, showers and healing thermal spas is absolutely worth a few hours in the nuddy beside a bunch of strangers.
- Art and soul in South Australia for Australian Traveller
You wouldn’t expect to find world-renowned artists exhibiting in Australia’s Red Centre, but a pitstop at the Tjatu Gallery makes for a special discovery of land, culture and people.
- Eco Retreat Il Fontanaro is more than an Italian postcard for The Adelaide Review
While staying at an organic farm and culinary school in Italy’s Umbria region, I learn the owners’ incredible tale of a lifelong dream almost cut down by a last-minute tragedy.
- A traveller’s tale of trusting in the kindness of strangers for International Traveller
“Bam! A shot straight into my denuded behind as the knot of morning travellers watched on. Regrettably, I would bare my backside for many more strangers before the month was out.”
- Take a Game of Thrones walking tour in the Croatian fortress city of Dubrovnik for Escape
I headed to Dubrovnik in Croatia, aka King’s Landing, and managed to take the Iron Throne without spilling a single drop of blood.
- 5 Things We Learnt On A Game Of Thrones Walking Tour for AWOL
King’s Landing is an on-steroids version of Dubrovnik, TV producers are a bunch of tricksters, and King Joffrey is apparently a nice guy.
Food and wine
- Food waste feasts hit the road to help refugees for SBS Food
Inspired by dumpster divers handing out free meals in Melbourne, an Amsterdam collective is helping feed asylum seekers with food rescued from the rubbish. Now they’re hitting the road.
- Random cups of kindness for The Adelaide Review
A simple yet elegant pay-it-forward, anonymous system of charity in Adelaide cafes is connecting the Australian city’s needy with warm cups of coffee — and far more.
- The rise of the vegans for The Adelaide Review
A look into vegan culture within the Australian city of Adelaide, asking how chefs are responding to those who choose to eat food sans animal products.
- Premium punks for The Adelaide Review
How a South Australian winemaker paired up with American rock band Tool’s famed lead singer, Maynard James Keenan, to make a small batch of premium wine.
Animals and animal rights
- Spain is Africa’s animal-trafficking gateway to Europe for GlobalPost
An unassuming primate rescue centre in Spain’s south has become a key player in the fight to halt illegal animal trading through the Iberian Peninsula.
- Smart milk for Qweekend (exclusive cover story)
In a dairy north-west of Brisbane, Australia, an unlikely source is set to deliver a healthy alternative to the white stuff usually produced by cows.
- Weeding out animal cruelty for The Courier-Mail
The remarkable story of Sue and Rod Weeding, British expats who gave up their sunshine-and-relaxation retirement to open a sanctuary for abused horses in Spain.
- Meet Adelaide’s koala rescue squad for The Adelaide Review
“Suddenly, Montarello’s phone starts pinging with terrible pictures: a koala had been attacked by a dog. Worse yet, she had a joey in her pouch – a baby now destined to become an orphan.”
- All the love gone bad: On men and music lost for Kill Your Darlings
A personal essay exploring the links between music and memory.
- You can call me Koren for The Big Issue
A rant against all the mere mortals who dare to mispronounce my name.
- The Christmas poo for frankie
It’s rather undignified, but I’ve always had a certain scatological obsession. So imagine my joy when I realised my adopted home of Spain shares the same preoccupation.
Spanish and Australian politics
- How Cat Woman become mayor of Madrid for GlobalPost
Manuela Carmena rose from relative obscurity to unexpected power, thanks to a street art campaign and the internet.
- Brand new leftist party is transforming Spain’s political landscape for GlobalPost
Harnessing anger over years of austerity, upstart political party Podemos is threatening to help unseat the ruling conservatives.
- Spaniards try to sew up economic recovery for GlobalPost
A spectacular rise in the sales of sewing machines, plus other more official indicators, indicate crisis-ravaged Spain is on the mend — for now.
- Drones take off in Spain for GlobalPost
Sunny Spain boasts the perfect weather and flying conditions for drones but the flourishing young industry is up against image problems and privacy concerns.
- Crowdfunding, peer-to-peer start-ups face uncertain future in Spain for GlobalPost
Airbnb and other sharing-economy websites are under threat even as the Spanish government seeks to end the country’s crippling economic crisis.
- The EU promises to slash carbon emissions for GlobalPost
The European Union agrees on an ambitious plan to tackle climate change ahead of a key 2015 summit, but critics question whether its goals are realistic.
- “And then who do we have left to publish?”: The grim future of writing in Australia for Junkee
The literary scene was one of many groups disadvantaged by the Australian Government’s 2014 Budget, but they probably wrote the best open letter out of anyone…
- State apology to adoption victims for The Courier-Mail
Australian mother Linda Manderson recalls the forcible adoption of her son four decades ago as the premier of Queensland apologises for past government practices.
- Art on a limb for frankie
Taking their cue from the now-stylish spectacle industry, McCauley Wanner and Ryan Palibroda are transforming ugly prosthetics into avant-garde fashion.
- You need a thick skin to cope with disability for New Internationalist
The awful things able bodied people say to those with disabilities – like: “If I was in your situation, I’d top myself” – and the way one writer and activist from Melbourne, Australia responds.
- Meet Deb Roach, A One-Armed Australian Pole Dancer Making It In The UK for Junkee
Says Roach: “I won’t be made uncomfortable because society tells me that ten fingers is the only thing that looks pretty.”
- We need to look past, not at, disability for New Internationalist
People living with disability face fear, prejudice and awkwardness in their daily interactions with others. UK charity Scope is trying to End the Awkward with a new advertising campaign.
- Two extremes of our state’s fault-based insurance scheme for The Courier-Mail
The awful human consequences of a motor accident insurance scheme in Queensland, Australia, which only pays compensation to crash victims if fault can be established.
- 52 meatless meals to slash your grocery bill for Money Saving Mom
Monster vegetarian recipe list was pinned 45,000+ times on Pinterest and amassed 15,000+ Facebook likes.
I also take photographs. Head over here to see some of my favourite pictures.