Tag: fiction

Entries now open for the David Harold Tribe Fiction Prize and the Helen Anne Bell Poetry Bequest Award for 2019

The Department of English at the University of Sydney is pleased to invite entries for two literary awards, made possible through generous bequests to the University. The Helen Anne Bell Poetry Bequest Award 2019 This is the third biennial award made under the Helen Anne Bell Poetry Bequest. The award is open to Australian women poets over the age of 18, for an unpublished full-length poetry manuscript of 50-80 pages. The winner will receive $7000 and publication of their manuscript with Vagabond Press. Judges: Pam Brown, Fiona Hile and Kate Lilley. The David Harold Tribe Fiction Prize 2019 This award has been made…

… read more

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.

Revelators, Visionaries, Poets and Fools: the palimpsest of Sydney’s western suburbia

by Luke Carman The suggestion that Australia’s literary ‘centre’ appears to be shifting – or leaning, at the least – towards Sydney’s ‘suburban frontier’ is becoming commonplace. Perhaps the first (certainly the most emphatic) recognition of this decentring to find its way into print was provided by Sam Twyford-Moore, director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, who stated in an interview last year that ‘Western Sydney is the capital of Australian literature… if not already, then certainly it’s the future’. As someone with a sensitive ear for the minor tremors of our most aspirant and incubational writers, Twyford-Moore can reasonably be…

… read more

Klekkende Høj

by Joshua Mostafa Regardless of what form the story will take, the question remains: where to begin? Not with an encyclopaedic mastery of the facts, but with some detail that will catalyse the creative process: an irritant, grit in the shell, an indecipherable image or an indigestible notion. The epitaph to Jim Crace’s The Gift of Stones is an excerpt from an archaeologist’s memoir: the discovery of ‘the skeletal lower arm of a child’ prompts its excavators to speculate ‘in the darkness of our tents, inventing reasons why the arm was there, and what the fate had been of that…

… read more

Mode, Genre and Time

by Joshua Mostafa On the first floor of Foyles, the bookshop in Charing Cross Road, London, I found the bookshelf devoted to historical fiction. It’s free-standing, and the reverse side is populated by romance novels: a not unsuitable pairing, though the appearance of the books themselves suggest an affinity with the fantasy genre: the authors’ names are displayed in large, chunky lettering with aspirations to Gothic or Celtic style. So close is the marketing style or ‘branding’ of the book covers of the two genres that a stray swords-and-sorcery title had been misshelved between a novel about the Wars of…

… read more

(Pre)historical fiction

by Joshua Mostafa I am writing this longhand on board a barge, for the second and longer leg of a trip down the Danube via Linz to Vienna, from where I’m catching the hydrofoil to Budapest (where I’m now typing it up, and trying to make sense of the Hungarian kezboard–keyboard!–layout), then a twelve-hour train ride to Bucharest, from where I’ll be able to get out to the Carpathian mountains. These cities are simply waystations for me, stopping points to sleep as cheaply as possible between the stretches of countryside I’ve been photographing and describing in obsessively detailed notes. The…

… read more

Archive Fever

by Claire Scobie I’ve often found libraries sexy places to work; none more so than the British Library in London. As you walk up the marble steps, you feel the tension. Everyone is focused, everyone is busy. You can’t dawdle or daydream here. Inside the reading rooms the atmosphere is hushed. It’s this intensity, a combination of intellectual stimulation, furious study and a reverence – for books, for the written word – that fuels the headiness of the creative process. During the four years working on The Pagoda Tree I spent many weeks there. My favourite place to write and read…

… read more

Week Two: History with my feet

by Claire Scobie On my second visit to Thanjuvar, I interviewed the current Prince, Babaji Rajah Bhonsle, in his palace with its air of fading grandeur. I was hoping for pomp and ceremony, but he arrived in beige slacks and a pressed white shirt. He’s a modern Prince – he’s on Linked-In. As we sat drinking chai in a dark room hung with chandeliers and portraits of his royal predecessors, he mentioned we were sitting in the original harem. I felt a frisson of excitement. My character, Palani, is based on the real Muddupalani, a royal courtesan and poet who…

… read more

The Gerald M. School for The Improved Reliving of Personal Memories

A fictional interview, by Tom Lee It was in August this year that I first heard about the Gerald M. School for The Improved Reliving of Personal Memories. M. had been a favourite author of mine for a number of years, so when I discovered the school on an Internet search I was intrigued. The ‘About’ section on the school’s website discusses the genesis of the idea. Apparently M. learnt of a design project (http://www.materialisingmemories.com/) aiming to create strategies to assist in the navigation of the vast amount of digital images that people take in order to capture a moment,…

… read more

Uses of Knowledge/Data/Detail in Writing and Reading

by John Kinsella I’ve always loved ‘data’, though I am sceptical of how it is sourced and utilised. This re-engineered novel I’ve been talking about over recent weeks, Morpheus, is a book stuffed with data, yet aims to be a challenge to the ‘empirical’; the data of ‘learning’ — from school, the first year or two of university, private reading and even (scientific) researching. While writing Morpheus, I was studying and occasionally working in my own home lab, complete with Mettler balance, Bunsen burners, titration equipment and micro ground-jointed organic glassware, including Liebig condensers and even a Friedrichs condenser, and…

… read more