Formerly known as the Orange Prize, the Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded annually and ‘celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world’. We delve into the third of the six shortlisted novels – Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour.
Kingsolver is no stranger to the British literary award for women writers. In 2010, the American novelist beat out Hilary Mantel – incidentally, another finalist in this year’s shortlist – and Lorrie Moore to win the Women’s Prize for Fiction in its previous incarnation.
Not one to shy away from the themes of social justice, biodiversity and the interaction between humans and the environments in which they live in, Kingsolver’s latest novel revolves around the peculiar presence of the beautiful monarch butterflies in Feathertown – symptomatic of the larger cataclysm of climate change – as it traces the life of Dellarobia Turnbow before and after she discovered the advent of the butterflies.
‘Australian comics have been around for decades. But it has been in waves and visibility has always been a problem. I’ve been in it long enough to see several waves come and go,’ says Bruce Mutard, who has been making comics in Melbourne for over 20 years. ‘This wave, I’ve been saying for a long time: it will stay. This has legs. What we’ve got now is the comics culture I always dreamed of.’ Mutard’s dreams involved comics being made and embraced by a diverse community, being in mainstream bookstores and libraries, considered by arts and funding bodies, studied in academia and included in literary and arts festivals. ‘All of that has come to pass,’ he says.
The internet is a place where people feel things deeply. Sometimes, those feelings are about Zach Braff. During the four days it took the Scrubs star and writer/director of Garden State to raise US$2 million dollars on Kickstarter to fund his next movie, numerous commentators felt it necessary to point out that a successful Hollywood actor was using a platform designed to fund small-scale art projects to finance a fairly commercial-sounding Hollywood feature film. Sometimes they phrased it as ‘it seems somewhat askew that an actor/director who has the means to either fund his movie himself, or sign a typical financing deal, is asking you for cash’. Other times they were more like ‘Oh for crying out loud. This needs to stop’.
The underside of the marriage plot is the marriage-as-blood-sport plot.
In 1900 the so-heralded ‘father of modern Swiss literature’, August Strindberg, wrote a theatrical template for the marriage-turned-sour drama called The Dance with Death. In it, an ailing artillery captain and military writer, Edgar, faces off with his wife Alice, a ‘once celebrated actress’ we’re told, in a series of escalating rounds that inaugurated the structure of this brand of bourgeois tragedy as a cycle of horrific repetitions rather than a teleological narrative moving toward an end.
In 1969, the Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt adapted the second half of Strindberg’s play, ironizing its bathos and earnest marital angst. Retitled Play Stringberg, Dürrenmatt’s work set the play in a boxing ring, literalising both the cramped claustrophobia of Alice and Edgar’s home – a barren, island military barracks from which both their children and their servants appear to have fled – as well as the theatrical spectacle itself of watching hateful adversaries fighting it out. With very little of the hopes for redemption of the earlier play, Dürrenmatt adapted Dance with Death into a series of brutal – and brutally funny – boxing rounds between these marital malcontents.
Grown-ups can learn a lot from children. When it comes to the big questions in life, children have a natural ability to wonder. Join Erin and Fleur as they explore time, love, health and careers through the eyes of the Little Pearlers. Music compliments of Kevin MacLeod. Executive producer Chris Saxton.
Killings brings you our weekly selection of posts that have amused, enlightened and
generally distracted us.
Did you manage to see the google doodle celebrating Saul Bass this week? It’s so wonderful!
When wrong layouts lead to wrong laughs.
The Sydney Film Festival released it’s program. So much to see!
In other festival news, Human Rights Arts & Film Festival opened in Melbourne last night – its a great program, so be sure to check it out.
Did you see this super smart advertising campaign created in an ’effort to provide abused children with a safe way to reach out for help’? Amazing.
Hopefully we won’t mess up your routine too much, but be sure to procrastinate a little at ‘Daily Routines’ while you delve into the various daily rituals of famous writers, artists and other creatives.
Feel a bit peckish? Want to cook up a storm this weekend? I’d recommend: Slate‘s peanut butter cookie recipe or getting lost browsing food blogs What Katie Ate or Smitten Kitchen that offer a range of hearty recipes and lovingly presented food photos.
‘An animated graphic of meteorites seen impacting Earth’ = coooooooooool.
Have you seen David Bowie’s new clip, yet? Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard are in it.
Listen to Wilco’s Melbourne set online, thanks to ABC Radio National. Perfect weekend listening.
Last minute A&D update: Gosling rejecting cereal! This is a very important addition.
For artists, the accelerated rate of technological change presents an interesting conundrum. It has always been difficult to make statements about technology that will maintain their relevance for more than a few years, but the Cambrian explosion of contemporary digital technology has amplified this problem. As an artist, what can you say about the internet, about social media, about videogames, that remains essential in five years, ten years, 50 years time?
For Military Vision, an exhibition curated by Baden Pailthorpe at Melbourne’s Screen Space gallery, one answer is to embrace this accelerated change. Military Vision presents three works that explore ‘the militarisation of sight’: John Crandall’s Heatseeking (2000), Denis Beaubois’ There is no aftermath (2004), and Matthieu Cherubini’s Afghan War Diary (2010). The short temporal space between each work amplifies the pace of technological and political change, as each work is concerned with issues that have been displaced quickly, yet not erased.
Formerly known as the Orange Prize, the Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded annually and ‘celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world.’ We delve into the second of the six shortlisted novels — Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life.
The highly popular children’s series Choose Your Own Adventure resonated because it allowed adolescents to play God, to assume the role of the protagonist and make choices that determined the main character’s actions and the plot’s outcome. In similar fashion, Kate Atkinson’s stunning genre-bending tale Life after Life, shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013, invites readers to take an inconceivable journey tracing the multiple different narratives of English protagonist Ursula’s life. Akin to a child who jumps back to the beginning when their adventure goes awry, Atkinson continually forces Ursula to live her life again and again until she finally gets it right.
We’re delighted to open, virtually, our very own online store. The KYD shop now sells print and online copies of all KYD editions, as well as print and online subscriptions and other KYD publications. Excitingly, we’re also now selling ebooks direct to you – in both ePub and mobi format, so you can read them on any device!
In the coming weeks, we’ll be selling other products through the KYD shop, such as titles from our book club, stationery and nifty writerly goods. For subscribers, stay tuned for information on discounts to the store. Yay!
Three lithe young women frolic around in short nightdresses. Smoking cigarettes, they’re slowly getting drunk from a bag of potent local wine. I’m in Kemang, a wealthy district of South Jakarta – home to flashy bars, beer-swilling expats and cashed up locals. But here in the backstreets, rats scurry around heaps of rubbish and decaying bajaj rickshaws in front of a crumbling tenement block.
In this small, shared room on the ground floor, I watch 20-somethings Hera, Betty and Rika get ready to work on the streets as prostitutes. Wigs are primed and coiffed, heels strapped on and tight dresses slipped into. A group of other women from the community of current or former prostitutes, sober and chatting, spill out of the room and onto the gravel below. The older ones have deep and tired lines on their faces. The etchings are a reminder that for many of them, life has not been easy.
None of the dozen or so women gathered here were born, biologically, as women. Nor are they officially recognised as women by the Indonesian government. They are part of Indonesia’s vibrant transgender community, estimated to number 32,000, though Dede Oetomo, founder of Indonesia’s first LGBT rights organisation, Gaya Nusantara, tells me that most activists say the real number is far higher (closer, in fact, to seven million). In society, they are known as waria, a portmanteau of the Indonesian word for woman (wanita) and man (pria).