John R. Sabine - Writer

John’s current writing covers a broad range of topics, styles and genres and includes both fiction and non-fiction.  Much is already published, some not yet.

Around the World in Eighty Ways

(2012. Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide. 256pp)

“Around the World in Eighty Ways is a book for travellers rather than a travel book.  The author makes no attempt to extol the virtues of different and far-flung places, nor how to get there, nor what to do when you are there, nor – and what is usually worse – any mention of how much of a small fortune all that would cost.
By contrast we have here a veritable salmagundi of travel adventures – for both the armchair voyager and the inveterate wanderer.  You will accompany the author to places both near and far, sometimes with his family and sometimes not, to experience with him the ups and downs of his travel at home and abroad.  And always with a smile on your face.”
(From the back cover)

Around the World in Eighty Ways - John R Sabine


On Thinking About It

(2012. Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide. 76pp)

“John Sabine writes with the authority and gentle humour of experience.  As I savoured this collection of his poetry, I felt like a child at the knee of a venerable grandfather, listening, absorbing with wonder the things he was opening my eyes and senses to.  Yet I also found myself thinking, ‘Oh yes, I know just what you mean …’ when he writes of love, children, art and nature.  John’s words are sometimes serious, sometimes light-hearted, but I was always aware of his eye for detail, an eye that is constantly twinkling.”
Brenda Eldridge

On Thinking About It - John R Sabine

Slam Dunk Poetry

(2015 Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide. 23pp)

A slim collection of short poems used for the National Poetry Slam and related exercises.

slam dunk poetry - John R Sabine

Pictures from an Album (still looking for a home)

A collection of verses to match new and old snaps found in a family album


John has several poems in each of three recent anthologies, each with a separate central theme.  They have all been published by Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide.

That Which My Eyes See (ed. Ann Nadge)

Words and pictures from Hans Heysen’s The Cedars.


The Heart of Port Adelaide (ed. Brenda Eldridge)

Port Adelaide is not so different from many country towns whose fortunes have come and gone.  W.H.Davies wrote, ‘what is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare’.  These poems suggest Port Adelaide is made for staring – and letting history sink into your soul.


Collecting Writers (ed. Brenda Eldridge)

Here is a book to delight all readers – a refreshingly diverse mix of poetry, fiction and non-fiction by more than forty South Australian writers.  It not only explains a lot about the evergreen allure of collecting in general but also reveals much about each individual contributor and their own collections, and about different understandings of that slippery word ‘collecting’.

Poetry On Demand

Send John your favourite topic/idea/concept /piece of history and a reasonable contribution – and he will respond with an appropriate poem.  Long or short?  Sad or joyful.  Serious or funny.   Old style or new?  Rhyming or plain verse?  Your choice.

Again the lode is deep and rich.  From fifty words to many thousands, on topics ranging far and wide.
And also again, pick a topic at random, suggest a length, send a reasonable contribution – and John will respond with your very own story-on-demand.  Or one of his own if you prefer.

Look Alive: The long and the short of it.

“Look Alive” represents John’s first collection of short stories – some very short, some not

quite so short, some stand-alone, some indicating the beginnings of much larger works.

“Look Alive” is his life mantra as he matures.

Look Alive - John R Sabine

A wide collection on a range of topics of current national concern, especially:

  • Indigenous Affairs – a better future for our indigenous citizens;
  • Water and Waste Management/Resource Recovery – how to do better with less;
  • Climate Change; or Not – what are the real issues?
  • The Catholic Church in Australia Today – all in together;
  • Local Government and the Environment – looking after our own patch;
  • Public Participation – real or illusory?
  • The case for teaching “Comparative Religion” in universities and schools.

etc. etc.etc.  Try him.

So many ideas bursting forth.
Can they make the grade?


A musical; libretto all done and dusted, music by Peter Kowald and Julie Palmer coming along swimmingly.

Currently seeking a suitable Producer to take on Amber.  Do you have someone in mind?

“Amber” embraces a universal theme, a love story.  Set in Australia, it comes with a distinctly Australian flavour.  A love story with a difference.  A love quadrangle perhaps…

Click Here to get the full synopsis of Amber


Pluto Park

A One-Act Play, ready to roll.


Like Father Like Son

Another One-Act-Play,  ready to roll


The Marathon Man from Manangatang

Pitched as a short film.

Amber the Musical John R Sabine

 The Universal Law of Everything: a little will do you good, a lot will kill you.

Yes, Virginia, you can have too much of a good thing.
If I wanted to knock a little sense into you, I might start by tapping you gently on the head with my forefinger.  You would then perhaps wake up, be alert and ready to go.  Good for you.  On the other hand if I tapped you somewhat more firmly, say with a baseball bat swung at high speed, at best this would just knock you senseless.  At worst, it would undoubtedly kill you.
Just so.  And as you browse your way through this little book, browse that is rather than speed-read, you will find that this same principle – a little will do you good, a lot will kill you – applies to very many situations we all encounter in daily living.  Hence, The Universal Law of Everything.

Think of your diet, the things that you eat and those that you avoid.  And what about when you are actually dieting?  Think of the drugs that you take, even of the illegal drugs which of course you never take but that junkies and crooked athletes do.  Alcohol and coffee and chocolate fit in here somewhere.  What is the best recipe for a gin and tonic?
Think of your need for exercise, your need for sleep.  Can you have too much of a good thing?  O indeed you can.  Though what about sex?  Well, my friends, this is really not an area in which I can claim much experience or any expertise, but when you eventually turn to that chapter (hold it now, don’t start with that one) you will discover that my universal law is, well, universal.
(Taken from the Introduction.)

The Chronicles of Pericles

As is already known, though by no means widely known, the Chronicles of Pericles are a collection of ancient manuscripts unearthed beneath Athens, adjacent to the Parthenon, when that city was preparing for the 2004 Olympic Games.  They are so named because the chief character, at least so far, appears to be one Pericles.
“The Chronicles” – or at least those that have so far become available – tell us of Pericles’ life and adventures.  This life and these adventures stretch back and forth through time, past, present and future, back and forth across space, real and imagined.  But within the Chronicles time and place are not important.  The stories are told in an ancient language and are set in a style that could be called the Greek “Dreamtime”.

Conversations at the Emmaus Café

Conversations  at the Emmaus Café embraces a wide range of the present-day contentious issues of Science vs Religion .  They deal with the evolution vs creation debate from several angles; they ask about the meaning of science, and of god; they ponder the separation of church and state, as in the provision of education, for instance, or the formulation of laws in areas of ethics; they marvel that ancient religions can make statements with which modern science can completely agree. And in all this lies the crowning glory of “Conversations at the Emmaus Cafe”.  There is considerably more agreement between the opposing sides than either currently realizes.

Of a Different Colour: On being Catholic in 20th Century Australia

The twentieth century, the last two-thirds of which are included in the literary time-span embraced by “Of a Different Colour”, was a time not only of great wars but also of great revolutions – political, social, scientific, technological.  All revolutions usher in change and the ultimate success, if that is quite the right word, of any revolution can perhaps be judged best by the extent and permanency of the changes it wrought.
The Catholic Church too – the key focus of this text – also underwent its own revolutions during this same time, though perhaps in a less dramatic way.   It is difficult to change the direction of a 2000-year-old ship.  The Church and its adherents, in Australia no less than in any other part of the world, had to come to grips not only with the consequences of those what might be called external revolutions but also with its own internal conflicts and the dramatic changes resulting from them.
Moreover it can also be argued that the changes within the Catholic Church and its public position vis-à-vis the whole gamut of external changes affecting society at large during that time played an especially dominant role not only directly in the personal lives of many millions of Australians (the Church’s own adherents) but also, albeit less directly but nevertheless very powerfully, in the life of every other Australian during that period.  Public debate over the relationship between Church and State has dramatically coloured national discourse over a complex range of important topics – from conscription in World War I to present-day angst over public support for private education, over rights versus responsibilities, over abortion, euthanasia and a wide range of “ethical” concerns.
Realistically the story of all of this can best be told by an insider, that is by an Australian Catholic who has lived, studied, worked and observed, written and thought critically throughout that time.   Thus I claim quite unashamedly that if I tell this story well, and as accurately as a very fallible memory might enable me to do, then some more and brighter light can usefully be shed upon an important period in Australian history.

Another Night, Another Day

A novel of the near future – a crisis, when the human race can no longer reproduce.

Oh Shit

Shit happens.  Like death and taxes, we can’t avoid it.  Wherever we turn – in daily life, in the trades and professions, in literature, in the theatre – the inevitable happens.  Shit happens.
But though we might not be able to avoid it, we can come to grips with it.  Metaphorically speaking, that is.  Famous philosophers, statesmen and other leading figures throughout the ages have learned how to cope and can share their insights with us.  From the world’s great – and not so great – religions we can gain inspiration and guidance, so that ultimately we might be able to make our own individual response.
Learn all about it here.
But remember always – when shit happens, turn off the fan!