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Literary musings from your contemporaries

Why do we bother to write?

by Roanna Gonsalves     A few days ago, the National Human Rights Commission in India noted the suspicious deaths, over the course of a decade, of 500 indigenous (tribal) girls in government-run Ashram schools in the state of Maharashtra, India. In Australia...

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Tracing body-and-bloodlines

by Roanna Gonsalves     A book, like a person, holds a tangle of ancestors within it. Sometimes, tracing the literary influences and resonances in a book, its bloodlines, is as straightforward as tracking back through the parish register of births and...

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The double lives of writers

by Roanna Gonsalves Most aspiring writers across the world face conflicting demands in the pursuit of a literary career. We must work to develop our skills as writers, get published, hope to achieve recognition from peers and from the literary establishment, gain a...

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“Humor is vengeance.”

by Roanna Gonsalves The first time I heard the line “Humor is vengeance”, something surged in my brain and my body. I understood its outside as well as its inside, the pitter pat patter of its near perfect dactylic feet, the subatomic particles in its electric charge....

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December Monthly Blogger – Best Southerly Blogs of 2016

Many thanks to Nic Low for a fantastic month of blogging. To see out 2016, this month we’re featuring some of our most visited blogs posts of the year. We’ll be back in January 2017 with more great blogs and bloggers, beginning with Roanna Gonsalves author...

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The secret history of Australia’s unpublished literature

Nic Low For five of us over the last week, life’s been defined by the chug-and-whir of digital copiers sucking in page after page of reject literature. With the support of the State Library of Victoria’s Storage and Digital Collection Services, a small...

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New Writing for the Real Australia

Nic Low   Last week I mentioned the State Library of Victoria’s archives relating to Australian literary magazines. I’ve since learned that their existence is well-known among literary scholars, and several studies of individual magazines have drawn...

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Lessons from the State Library of Victoria

Nic Low I spend a lot of my time writing in a cottage in the bush. As an antidote to isolation, when in Melbourne I work out of the State Library of Victoria. I love the atmosphere beneath the reading room dome: readers deep in their cups, students flirting in echoing...

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‘Night on our Faces’

Kate Fagan                                                                                                      The day before I crossed the Pacific for Active Aesthetics a new book arrived by post from Berkeley. There it was – The Unfollowing by Lyn...

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‘Such Human-Scale Signatures’

Kate Fagan Here is one “photograph in the brain” from Berkeley. I’m sitting with Pete at the foot of a towering sequoia. The tree is beside a small canal. Students zigzag over a bridge. Every backpack is a house. A man on a bicycle looks like Kit Robinson. The sequoia...

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‘Written to Music’

Kate Fagan Leave the long fall between us (peak after peak) Here were my paints and there were my powders And then I was drunk and we lost each other My shadow tumbled after Soaking cinnamon leaves in the lake of the moon The roll of the damned drum calls me to duty...

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‘Into the Interior’

Kate Fagan Mountain, mountain, mountain, marking time. Each nameless, wall beyond wall, wavering redefinition of horizon. – Denise Levertov, from ‘Into the Interior’ in O Taste and See[i] It takes a long time to write precise things. Mountain, mountain, mountain. This...

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The Good Book

©Bruce Pascoe 2016 George Augustus Robinson was as randy as a turkey and twice as vain. He fornicated with the wives of his friends, the daughters of clergymen, the wives of the people he promised to save. Oh, the power of the good book and its promise of holiness. Or...

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Art, Australia and Good Hearts

© Bruce Pascoe 2016 At the Bundanon Festival at the weekend I was able to go through the Boyd’s house and see all the art, the walls of books, the great bowls and dishes of a wealthy family. Thinking about art and wealth I walked over the property and wondered about...

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Peaceable Kingdom

‘And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid and the calf and the lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them out of the wilderness.’

I grew up with this story, heard it in church, seen it as pictures on my aunties’ walls and assumed it was just another of those Christian aphorisms for peace and kindness so loved of the church that also loved beheading Africans who dared believe in another God, or worse still, tried to hang on to their land.

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Cry for my Heart, Dance for my Soul

by Bruce Pascoe I’ve been on boats and trains and plains all around the country supporting my book, Dark Emu, and the idea that Aboriginal people were not mere fauna and flora upon the plains of Australia but active agents in its care, nurture and agricultural...

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September Monthly Blogger – Bruce Pascoe!

Many thanks to Tara June Winch for her excellent posts. This month our blogger is Bruce Pascoe. Bruce, a Bunurong man, is a member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative of southern Victoria, and an awarding winning Australian writer, editor, and anthologist. Bruce...

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On Writers Block

I’m meant to write this final blog, I said I would, I made a promise. I must, but, I can’t, I’ve tried for a week and nothing comes up, a blank abyss, I’m writing fiction at least – my head is engulfed in fiction right now and there is absolutely no way I can maneuver it to this promised blog post. I’ve been trying to write about Virginia Woolf’s electric, 1929 call to arms essay, A Room of One’s Own and muse on that early line that – “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”. But I can’t write about it because my desk is literally in the living room, the kitchen, the front door and the back door at once and I just couldn’t grab an ironic break to think this week.

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On Magic and Other Secrets

by Tara June Winch I generally let the common cold ruin me and then pass, and try to avoid having to see a doctor and take antibiotics at all costs. Last week, though, I saw a doctor. We talked not about the sniffles, but about my hand; my great bulging, and throbbing...

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In Sickness and in Health

 by Tara June Winch We’re home now; I’m at that vantage point, sorting boarding pass stubs into the recycling, shaking the sand out of bag linings, looking back at photographs, at diary entries without dates; looking back with the fogginess of a fresh return. Earlier...

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The Vegetarian Regular at the Meat House Cafe

by Tara June Winch I’m typing this on my best friend’s deck, during a winter that feels like a summer. I’m using her laptop, I don’t own one myself. I’m the writer without the laptop. Back home in France I have a PC, the keyboard is AZERTY and this one is QWERTY so...

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August Monthly Blogger – Tara June Winch!

An enormous thanks to Ali Jane Smith for her excellent posts. This month our blogger is Tara June Winch. Her bio is below. Tara June Winch is a Wiradjuri writer based in France. Her first novel Swallow the Air won numerous literary awards and has been on the education...

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Reading Secondhand: Ruth Park at St Vincent de Paul

by Ali Jane Smith I am a keen, but not obsessive, op shopper.  I love bric-a-brac. A novelty biscuit tin, the toys from McDonalds’ Happy Meals, a jigsaw puzzle, cake forks, a milk jug. Tupperware! I’m wary of the books, unless I am in the shop where my...

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Reading Secondhand: Susan Hampton at Sappho Books

by Ali Jane Smith The walk from Sydney’s Central Station along Broadway to Glebe Point Road did not have a lilting, iambic rhythm. It was a prog rock experience, a march through a tunnel, a stroll along the footpath, a scurry across a road that inexplicably...

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Reading Secondhand: Graham Greene in The Foundery

by Ali Jane Smith The orange spine of a Penguin showed through a grotty plastic cover. The title, partly obscured by a piece of masking tape with the call number ‘824.91 G83’ written in biro, turned out to be The Lost Childhood and Other Essays by Graham...

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New Monthly Blogger – Ali Jane Smith!

A enormous thanks to Eileen Chong for her excellent posts. Our blogger this month is Ali Jane Smith. Her bio is below. Ali Jane Smith is a poet and critic. Her poetry has appeared in Southerly, Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite, and Mascara Literary Review. Reviews...

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Eating and Telling: A Personal Food History

Food is serious business. I live in a suburb with so many restaurants that if you went out to eat every night of the week, you wouldn’t be a repeat customer at any establishment for about a month. Once, when I walked past a restaurant on my way home, I saw a famous...

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Letters

by Eileen Chong 23 June 2016 1:44am                                                                          Sydney, Australia Dearest Joci, Hello! As I’m writing this, you must be in the waiting room of your doctor’s office. I hope the wait isn’t too long. I can’t...

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