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A GRADUATE of various British and Australian schools of hard knocks, UK-born MARTIN STEVENSON recalls when journalists did not require fancy-pants university degrees before being allowed to bash a keyboard and write record court, local and state government stories, or breathlessly record pic-stories of cats up trees being rescued by valiant firepersons. Despite having written (by his own account) millions of words, some of them unashamedly self-described as “beautiful prose” if not “deeply moving” and/or “laugh out loud hilarious”, Stevenson has never won, indeed coveted or sought, any major (let alone minor) journalistic award and is certainly not jealous of those who have except, possibly, for the Pulitzer Prize which is American so doesn’t count anyway. Stevenson lives quietly in East Launceston with Her Indoors and far too many books and Dave Brubeck records (yes, vinyl), plus a goldfish called Elvis. His only other pet, an ancient corgi named Halfpenny, died several years ago of boredom.