Tag: Luke Carman

Just Make it Electric

by Felicity Castagna A lot of space in literary circles has been given of late to trying to define what is highbrow and what is middlebrow and why those distinctions matter. I think we would be better off having a debate about literature that is ‘technically good’ but boring and literature that is ‘electric.’ That, to me, is a distinction that matters. It is a distinction that makes a text both engaging and enduring. In my mind, the electricity of literature lies in the voice of the text: it’s the hardest thing to get right and it’s also the hardest…

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The Man From Snowy River does not come from Detroit

by Felicity Castagna The writer John Gardner famously said that there are only two plots in fiction—a person goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town. What he’s essentially pointing to here is that all stories are about place. Place is at once both an incredibly abstract and generic term but also a word that points to something that is very specific; a local space with its own unique and tangible identity, something that is intimate and unique and felt in different ways by those who inhabit it. When we ask a person, ‘Where do you come from?’…

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Transcendental Waters: George Miller and the cine-poetics of Miro Bilbrough

by Luke Carman Currently, debate rages over the feminist credibility of George Miller’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi-dystopian-rock-opera, Mad Max: Fury Road. Men’s Rights Activists, apparently incensed at surrendering yet another stronghold of masculinity in their campaign to defend the manhood of western culture, have condemned the film – while progressive critics argue that Fury Road is not so much an example of radical role inversion as it is a car-chase flick that happens to put women into the action (here for more, if you’re interested). Whatever the eventual consensus on Fury Road’s gender politics, it is difficult to deny that there’s a…

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Life Inside the Hyphen: fiction by Shirley Le and Stephen Pham

by Luke Carman Seven years since the publication of Nam Le’s The Boat, the author, and professional gambler, is still being feted for his short story collection; just last month, for example, SBS launched an animated online adaptation of a story from the collection (it can, and should, be viewed here). This ongoing celebration of Le’s work is not without good cause – The Boat is certainly an extraordinary contribution to Australian literature that is often attributed with reviving an interest in short stories (e.g. here). Amongst the many reasons for the collection’s broad appeal is the fact that Le’s work…

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The Revolution Starts on Monday: Tamar Chnorhokian and the case for subjectivity

by Luke Carman I want to tell you about Tamar. The publication of The Diet Starts on Monday by Armenian-Australian writer Tamar Chnorhokian was the realisation of a long and collectively held dream for everyone in involved. For Tamar, it meant becoming a novelist, for us at SWEATSHOP, it was an opportunity to contribute a genuinely unique single-author work of fiction to the frustratingly narrow world of Australian literature (sceptics can order a copy here and see for themselves). Tamar’s novel is a deceptively simply young adult tale: an obese girl with a secret crush on the hottest boy at school sets…

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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…

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