Things That Are Found in Trees & Other Stories Edited by Richard Rossiter


Things That Are Found in Trees & Other Stories

Edited by Richard Rossiter

A partnership between Margaret River Press and Arts Margaret River, this compelling collection of new writing from Australian writers emerged from the inaugural 2011 Margaret River Short Story Competition. The competition consisted of an Open Category and a South West Category.

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Short Stories

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The stories in the book are insightful, sensitive stories, wide-ranging in their interests and, I believe, deeply rewarding. In all of them, there is ‘something new’ for us to discover.

Beverley Lello’s winning entry in the Open Category, Things That Are Found in Trees, is a first person narrative that draws the reader in from the opening sentence: “I opened the newspaper today and saw a photograph of a dead elephant calf marooned in a tree by floods in Sri Lanka.”

This is the first ‘thing’ found in a tree within the story. The focus then shifts to the past and memories of an event that occurred when the narrator was seventeen. Central to the story is an event all too familiar in the lives of young men in rural Australia. But this is not a maudlin story. The writing is restrained, respectful and, wears its symbolism lightly.

Second prize open category entry, Christine Piper’s Stranded is a tightly written story set in Japan. The main character, Mr Takeda, is having an affair with a young woman not much older than his daughter. This is a very economical story with a strong sense of character and place. In spite of the ending, there is very little sense of moral judgement: in this world, surface is everything.

In Bernice Barry’s Mornings Like This, the winning South West Category story, the tone is quietly celebratory of the arrival of a new day. It’s also a time for reflection for the unnamed protagonist, who thinks about his choices—of staying on the farm, while his brothers left to pursue a university education and professional careers. It’s a familiar story, but here rendered in loving detail that avoids sentimentality.

Contributors Beverley Lello, Rajasree Variyar, Georgina Luck, William Lane, Christine Piper, Catherine Moffat, Liliane Grace, Jane Skelton, Kerry Whalen, Jacqueline Winn and Bernice Barry gain a special place in the competition’s history.

The stories in the book “are insightful, sensitive stories, wide-ranging in their interests and, I believe, deeply rewarding. In all of them, there is ‘something new’ for us to discover.”, Richard Rossiter, Editor.

Richard Rossiter 

Richard Rossiter is an experienced academic, editor and writer.  He is an Honorary Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University.  His  book length publication Arrhythmia: Stories of Desire was published by UWA Press in 2009.  He is the Editor of three collections of short stories compiled from entries to the annual Margaret River Short Story Competition. His novella, Thicker than Water  was published by UWA Press in 2014.

Bernice Barry has lived in Margaret River for eleven years and works mainly from home as an education consultant.  After twenty years as an adviser on literacy and international curriculum innovation, she found in WA’s South West a personal balance of peace and challenge, creating a native garden in the bush and managing each day’s wildlife adventures. She has written many publications on education, from language development programs for young children and books for teachers to online training courses for school principals. Her personal writing has always remained private, until now.

Liliane Grace writes short stories, plays, articles, novels and the odd poem—many of which have been published or awarded. Her self-published book, The Mastery Club marries her love of fiction and her love of personal growth; so far over 12,000 copies have been sold in Australia and China. Liliane has taught Creative Writing for some 24 years. She has three gorgeous young adult children who were largely home educated and a much loved, tech-savvy hubby who created her website:

William Lane lives on the north coast of NSW with his wife and three children. He has a degree in Australian literature and is trained as a schoolteacher. William loves reading, writing and music. He is currently writing a doctorate through the University of Queensland on the short stories of Christina Stead.

Beverley Lello lives on a bush block in NE Victoria with her husband. The children have grown up and moved north and she now has more time to cycle, trek and write. Country town life and travelling are the inspiration for many of her stories and plays. Several of her stories have been published in Stringybark Fiction and in 2011 she won the Albury City Short Story Competition and the Stringybark Fiction Award. She has had several short plays performed by theatre companies in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney and her home town of Yackandandah.

Georgina Luck has published short stories in Griffith REVIEW, Southerly, Overland, Etchings, Famous Reporter, Woorilla and The Broadkill Review.  She received the 2009 Griffith REVIEW / Text Publishing Emerging Writers Award—Fiction and was highly commended in the 2008 Marian Eldridge Award.  She has won two playwriting awards and has received a Varuna Fellowship and an Australian Society of Authors mentorship.

Catherine Moffat is a writer who lives on the NSW Central Coast. Her work has been published in literary journals and on ABC radio. Catherine is a regular blogger for Meanjin and Overland.

Christine Piper is a Doctor of Creative Arts candidate at the University of Technology, Sydney, and a freelance journalist. Her writing has appeared in Australian Book ReviewThe Sydney Morning Herald and GQ, among other publications. She was born in Seoul, South Korea and has lived in Japan several times but is currently based in Sydney, where she is completing a historical fiction novel about Japanese civilian internees. She is the recipient of a Varuna Writing Retreat Fellowship and CAL’s Creative Industries’ Career Fund.

Jane Skelton has published short fiction in a wide range of magazines and anthologies. Formerly of Queensland, Jane has lived in the Blue Mountains, NSW for the past ten years. She has a Master of Arts in Communication and Media, and is finalising a thesis for a Doctorate in Creative Arts at the University of Western Sydney.  The natural environment, from the coast to the mountains, is a strong presence in her writing. Her novel, earth eaters, was a winner in the Byron Bay Writers Festival LitLink Unpublished Manuscript awards in 2010.  She is currently completing another novel, 1983. Website :

Rajasree Variyar was born in Bangalore, but arrived in Australia as a six-month-old and grew up in Western Sydney, participating in a ridiculous amount of extra-curricular activities and with a voracious appetite for books. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 2009 with majors in Indonesian Studies, Finance and International Relations and a minor in Classical Archaeology. This mix of subject areas is quite reflective of her confusion around what her career path should be.  She is currently working in strategic product development in ANZ Direct Insurance. Writing is very much a creative outlet for her, and it would be a dream come true to one day have a published novel in her name.

Kerry Lown Whalen taught English at the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE in Queensland for 22 years before she and her husband moved to the Gold Coast. She has won prizes in several literary competitions and had her short stories A Tidy Sum, Flash Harry, Arcadia, Questions, Crossroads, Mirage and The Way Things Were published in books and magazines.

Jacqueline Winn lives on a farm at Possum Brush on the Mid-North Coast of NSW. She writes short stories, novels, poetry and scripts and has won awards for short fiction and poetry in Australia, New Zealand and UK. A number of her stories have been published in anthologies and literary magazines in Australia, UK and Ireland. She has two collections of short stories Once More With Feeling and Salt & Pepper, published by Ginninderra Press. More about Jacqui and her writing at

Nice words of encouragement from Walter, check out his blog about our launch and Jane Skelton’s story :

Read the review by Karenlee Thompson ANZ LitLovers LitBlog 30/6/2012 review of our short story collection, Check it out at : ANZ LitLovers review

William Yeoman, The West Australian, Review 22/5

Following last year’s Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival, Margaret River Press and Arts Margaret River formed a partnership to run a short story competition.

This compact, elegantly printed and bound collection edited by master-storyteller Richard Rossiter represents the first fruits of that partnership and comprises 12 short stories, including those by the three prize- winners, out of 191 submitted.

The elegiac and highly accomplished Open Prize-winning title story by Beverley Lello opens with the arresting image of a dead elephant calf stuck in a tree and is a hard act to follow but every story is a gem, leaving one in no doubt about the future of short fiction in Australia.

More than anything, Margaret River Press offers an engaging, approachable alternative to mass publication, selecting those titles that speak to us, and bringing them to you, the reader.

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