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Fiction, Life Writing

Reflection: The Book of Dirt by Bram Presser

On Friday I walked underneath a blazing sun with 60 thousand other people to stand in solidarity with Aboriginal people and Torres Straight Islanders. We gathered in Naarm on Wirundjuri and Boon Wurrung land, under the banners of Constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, the abolition of national holidays that are invested in narratives of white supremacy, and calling for a treaty to be negotiated in relation to the stolen land on which we work, walk, live, and love. We mourned the violences enacted against a 60 thousand year old culture. As I’m writing this, I’m sat in a pub, surrounded by old men while Baker Boy plays over the speakers, and there is an absolute joy that I derive from hearing Danzel Baker singing in Yolngu Matha. The resilience of humans to keep culture alive through art, stories and music is, for me, central to what it is to assert subjectivity (self in relation to power) in the face of oppression and dehumanisation. It is a bitter irony that International Holocaust Remembrance Day falls on 27th January, the very day after the Australian national celebration of the events that resulted in Australia’s genocide against First Nations people. News papers can’t seem to decide between proclamations of “Never Forget, Never Again” and “Just Get Over It.” The dissonance is painful.

Continue reading “Reflection: The Book of Dirt by Bram Presser”

Fiction

Reflection: We Who Are About To… by Joanna Russ

TW: mention of socially mandated reproduction/rape.

I was wandering thorugh The Book Grocer when I came across this volume. Having loved The Female Man, And Chaos Died, and How To Supress Women’s Writing, I was delighted to come across the novella, We Who Are About To…. I was fresh from the Ethics/Utopias/Dystopias conference (I think that event might shape a bit of my reading this year) and I’m always here for a bright, kitsch cover.

Continue reading “Reflection: We Who Are About To… by Joanna Russ”

Whisky

Wayward Girls Drink Michel Couvreur Intravagan’za

After a day sweltering in the Melbourne Summer a few of us decided (we few, we lucky few, we band of sisters) to go ahead with a whisky night at the Northcote Home for Wayward Girls. We started the evening with a 10yo Glenlivet, just to open the palate and went on to the Hakushu Single Malt Distillers reserve. This was a fresh and light whisky, perfect for an evening that hadn’t yet dropped below 30 degrees (my cat had melted).  Continue reading “Wayward Girls Drink Michel Couvreur Intravagan’za”

Fiction

Review: The End of Days – Jenny Erpenbeck

From where she sat today, she cast a critical glance at the peace-loving girl she had once been. She had understood even then that there was a difference between the blood that flowed during a revolution and the blood that was spilled in a war. She also knew that all wars are not created equal. (122)

The End of Days is a thoughtful and evocative read that traces the many and potential lives of one woman over the course of the twentieth century. It is a book that asks readers to think about the ways in which their relationships with other people—family, friends, strangers—can shape their lives.  Continue reading “Review: The End of Days – Jenny Erpenbeck”

Fiction

Reading Resolutions

I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions. I figure if I am going to exercise it shoud be a thing I want do to, not just a thing I need to do by x date. The thing that I want to do more of in 2018 is read experimental fiction. After a semester teaching Carter, and speaking at a conference on Ethics in Utopias and Dystopias, I’m inspired to pick up more experimental fiction. This is probably also aided by reading Eimar McBride‘s A Girl is a Half Formed Thing (a cute boy recommended it to me and I’m as superficial as the next person and wanted to impress him. That encounter didn’t go past the first date, but I did end up with this New Year’s Resolution and a subscription to Salvage Quarterly, so I’m calling it a win.) Continue reading “Reading Resolutions”

Admin

Wayward Girls Read

Welcome to the Wayward Girls’ Book Club. this group grew out of a monthly lounge-room book club held at my home in Northcote, Victoria. we make a point of reading only short books (essays, poetry, novellas) because who has the time to slog through tomes? We try to read books by women, queer people, and non-Anglo/European authors. With a table heavy under wine and cheese and the sound of women’s laughter bouncing off of wooden floors, we shared our own stories and experiences, we caught up with each other, we consoled each other. We created a small refuge under the twinkle of fairy lights and the warmth of blankets. In some ways this space is Arcadian. While everyone is invited to read the books, we know there are times where that just isn’t going to happen: work, children, life, these things intervene and don’t always leave the time to read.

The Wayward Girls’ Book Club has run well for the last year, so I thought it might be time to expand: to make our experiences, our ideas, our chatter available on a broader scale. I admit, this is largely selfish: I’ll be leaving Australia later this year, and I want to take my book club with me, to have it in my pocket. This book club is about far more than getting through pages; it is about the intimate and loving connections forged between a roomful of women who were once perfect strangers. I invite you all to join us.

 

Life Writing

Featured Content: A Card From Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp

I decided to head out the other night to write at a pub. It had been uncomfortably tropical in Melbourne, and my house is an old weatherboard, which is charming, but snug. This is brilliant in winter. In summer? Not so much. By the time I arrived at my venue of choice it became clear that a significant portion of the inner north had had a variation on the theme of my own idea. The pubs and beer-gardens were chockers, and this meant there was not really the space in which I could commandeer a table (annotated printout of article, reference books, iPad) and, perhaps more pressingly, my misanthropy went into overdrive. As it was 15 minutes before the tram that would take me home arrived, I decided to walk back along Brunswick st toward what I hoped would be a slightly less populated pub (spoiler alert: it was! yay!). On the way I called in to the usual suspects, the Brunswick St Bookstore and the Grub St Bookshop. As soon as I walked through the door of the latter, I saw A Card From Angela CarterContinue reading “Featured Content: A Card From Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp”