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At risk of cross-promotion, and perhaps at greater risk (considering the sentiments of my first blog for this series) of a touch of hypocrisy, I’ve recently engaged—and distracted—myself by curating a series of short ‘gestures towards performance’ from performance-makers in my various networks, both ‘here’ and ‘elsewhere’. This began on a sunrise after a typically […]
February, 2020 Late last September, I started going to Lake Monger (Galup) one morning each week. I would circumnavigate the path around the lake two or three times on each of these mornings, alternating between walking, running, and lingering to look at birds.  I started this ritual at the tail-end of a difficult fortnight marked […]
Written March 24 In the past few weeks—as the global COVID-19 pandemic has blown up past being a ‘distant news item’ and into the everyday reactivity of Australia—I have seen many variations of a motivational, writerly ‘headline’ either shared amongst my circles or sponsored to me on social media. This revolves around making the most […]
This week I’m chatting to Emily Paull, author of the short story collection Well- behaved Women. This interview took place over email, but you might like to imagine us in a buzzing library on a Tuesday morning in the not-too-distant future: the Librarian’s Pick of the Week table resplendent, readers falling hungrily onto books they’ve had […]
What happened? And what happened next? These two questions, according to writer Tessa Hadley in a recent article, drive all of her short stories.  I found them helpful as a way of thinking about this tricky form, and with lots of short story competitions coming up, including The Big Issue’s annual Fiction Edition, I’ve created a […]
My hands seize up. My legs are numb. My entire body feels disconnected from my head, where a brain scan would show some activity, but from outward appearance is just a blinking face and messy hair. The alternating tap tap tap of the keys and the backspace button are the only sounds.  Writing is a silent […]
Two weeks have passed here in Berlin since the city more or less shut down. As with other places, there were warning signs. People wearing face masks in the supermarket. Bus drivers locking the front door as they were no longer handling coins. My son’s hands starting to peel from constant washing at school. And […]
Scottish author Muriel Spark’s The Hanging Judge (1994) has as strong an opening to a short story as any: “The passing of sentence,” wrote one of the newspapers, “obviously tried the elderly judge. In fact, he looked as if he had seen a ghost.” This was not the only comment that drew attention to Sir Sullivan Stanley’s […]
In the past, I’ve written somewhat extensively on censorship and its many contemporary forms: the direct prohibition of words, the self-censoring by authors in autocratic societies, as well as the oversaturation of ‘glut censorship’ that drowns out conflicting discussion. Concealment, however, is something quite different. I return once again to British visual artist Cornelia Parker, […]
In Scottish author Muriel Spark’s Harper and Wilton (1953) the protagonist is approached by two Edwardian suffragettes:  The front-door bell was ringing, now. I was not at all sure I should answer it. There was no reason to expect visitors and I had been assured by the Lowthers of my complete solitude. But I opened the garden […]
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