Category Archives: Commentary


Look Who’s Talking: A Birth Story

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Maya Angelou Waterslides had always been my greatest fear before I had a baby. When I was really little my dad had to bribe me with a packet of jellybeans to get me to go … Read more »

The Other Railwayman: A Diagram of Disaster

The pages of the report pertaining to Inquest No. 51/1003 – ‘Inquisition before Coroner sitting alone’ – are held together by a split-pin fastener that’s been in place so long its rust has pressed into the paper. There are sixteen foolscap sheets including a doctor’s report and … Read more »

Edges, Centres and Futures: Reflections on being an Indigenous Speculative Fiction Writer

My name is Ambelin Kwaymullina. My people are the Palyku, of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. I write speculative fiction for young adults. And I often think of the words of Wunambal elder and poet Daisy Utemorrah, who wrote: ‘Do not go around the edges/or else … Read more »

Of Monsters and Monogamists: In Search of Love

This is an adapted extract from an unpublished memoir, The Dangerous Bride. The night before I married Noah in the oldest synagogue in Australia, I kissed a girl dressed in a nurse’s uniform. She was a willowy, pretty redhead with serpentine lips, her plastic uniform dangerously short. … Read more »

It’s a Sex Thing, Right?: When Fantasy Becomes Reality

  I’ve done a lot of things to earn a crust. At 13 I wielded the great power that came with occupying middle management at an ice-cream shop. ‘Now, Elise,’ I took pleasure in saying, ‘you know it’s only the top girls like me and Leeane who … Read more »

Untying the Tongue: The Elusive Art of Interpreting

I’m in the early stages of preparing for the interpreting exam of the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. If rumour has it right, the pass rate is 11 per cent, which makes me more than a little nervous. Stuck to the wall above my desk … Read more »

Feeding the Hand that Bites: The Demise of Australian Literary Reviewing

Everybody wants to go to heaven, as they say, but nobody wants to die. So it is in the world of book reviewing. Everyone is in favour of frank and fearless criticism, up to the point where a work of theirs might come off the worse for … Read more »