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Category Archives: Books


Cold Feet and Hot Little Hands: Abigail Ulman on writing – and not writing – her first book

Post-book deal, every time I sat down to try to write something, I felt paralysed by some kind of literary stage fright. I had shown my work to other people before – for writing workshops, and submissions to literary journals and competitions – but I had never before written a story while thinking This story is going to be published in a book. Or, more accurately, This story idea is nowhere near good enough to be published in a book. Read more »

Girlhood and The Woman-Child in Abigail Ulman’s Hot Little Hands

Each of the stories in Hot Little Hands navigates girlhood in some way, from the lives of high school-age teenagers to those of young twentysomething women. ‘Girl things’ such as horse camp, gymnastics, feminised bodies, clothing, periods, crushes, yoga and gossip weave through the fabric of the text. Though the subject matter is often adult – the girls of Hot Little Hands navigate abortion, sex trafficking, young motherhood, drugs, and deportation – the girls themselves are not… even when they technically are. Read more »

Subscriber Stories: Angela Readman’s Don’t Try This At Home

As a subscriber to publisher And Other Stories’ distribution model, I am in the unusual position of reviewing a book – Angela Readman’s short story collection Don’t Try This At Home – that thanks me by name for making its existence possible. Read more »

A Bride Stripped Bare: A writer gets naked on the path from novel to memoir

You can find my book in the nonfiction section of the bookstore. I can’t deny it. It’s even me on the cover. And it is me, talking on radio and writing in women’s magazines about open marriages, non-monogamy, and how religion can fuck up your sexuality. People are calling me ‘brave’, but I’m not sure it’s a compliment. I feel so naked. How did this happen? Read more »

Dissolving Into Humanity: An interview with A.S. Patrić

A.S. Patrić’s fifth book, Black Rock White City, is not your typical immigrant novel. Its married protagonists, Jovan and Suzana Brakočević, are academics from the former Yugoslavia. She is a would-be novelist, he a former poet – the couple were displaced to Melbourne at the end of the last millennium by the ravaging Bosnian war. Read more »

What We’re Reading: Readings staff share their picks from April

Looking for a book recommendation? Staff from Readings bookshop share what they’ve been reading this month. Read more »

The Literature of Cruelty

I feel safe with cruel or angry writers – though their mouths are so foul the pages smell, though they hurl abuse at me, though they thwart my beliefs. I feel safe because they acknowledge how hard it can be. How messy and messed up and complex it can be. Though the air is stagnant between the chapters, it makes for refreshing reading. Read more »

‘You’re the least important person in the room’: Memoir and Bad Behaviour

Being fourteen is difficult enough; being trapped in an isolated cabin with other girls all experiencing similar feelings of loneliness, fear, and uncertainty makes for a volatile situation. Who wants to remember being a fourteen-year-old – especially one who carried around so much shame and fear? Read more »

Medicine as Art: An interview with Terrence Holt

Internal Medicine turns on its head the commonly-held wisdom of power and control in the doctor-patient relationship. Holt’s doctor-narrator is conflicted and questioning, often exhausted and confused. His writing aims for something less slick than the sanitised television offerings of medical melodramas, where ‘what entertains usually falsifies.’ Read more »

What Australian Literary Conversation?

I am concerned about the absence of a performative aspect of criticism in the public domain, which doesn’t necessarily assume specialised knowledge or recognised allegiances, but is prepared to discuss what criticism is. Read more »