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Category Archives: short stories

To see each other’s innards: Intimacy in Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress

In Stone Mattress, Atwood’s stories make a remarkable study of intimacy, of seeing each other’s innards, in different partnerships. Through the domestic details she describes, her masterful characterisation and her sharp tone, Atwood crafts the mundane into the profound. Read more »

The witch is dead: Hilary Mantel’s The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

This macabre short story collection is a reminder that Mantel’s gifts extend far beyond the meticulously researched historical fiction that finally won her the literary accolades she’s long deserved. Read more »

A joyous deception: Ceridwen Dovey’s Only the Animals

In visual art, the compulsion to surrender to the belief you are falling either into or out of an image is known as trompe-l’oeil, French for ‘deceive the eye’. Ceridwen Dovey’s story collection Only the Animals encourages a comparable state of joyous deception. Read more »

The turning of the tide for short stories?

On the 23nd of May, Maxine Beneba Clarke was named the recipient of the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Time differences being what they are, on the same day in Australia (but the 22nd May elsewhere) Lydia Davis won the Man Booker International … Read more »

Excerpt: from ‘Fliss’ by James Roy

James Roy’s first collection, Almost Wednesday, was released in 1996 and was followed by the CBCA Notable Book Full Moon Racing and several other acclaimed titles. His new book, City (UQP), is a collection of connected short stories that reflect our lives and those of the people … Read more »

Speculative fictions: Edgar Allan Poe and The Raven

To borrow a line from the British artist Richard Hamilton, ‘just what is it that makes authors so different, so appealing?’ I asked myself this question quite a bit last week. I had time to kill; twelve hours on a plane is a long time. It can … Read more »

Anytime, anywhere? Reviewing Penguin and A&U digital shorts

With the ubiquity of smartphones and e-readers, and the wealth of content available to us – from podcasts to video on demand – it was inevitable that publishers would publish (and require) more from writers. To appease the busy, mobile and insatiable e-masses, following on from similar … Read more »

This is a positive review of Ryan O’Neill’s short story collection The Weight of a Human Heart

The final story in Ryan O’Neill’s debut collection, ‘The Eunuch in the Harem’, plays out in a series of book reviews. A newly minted author has his book slammed by a reviewer, and, on the basis of her beauty in the author photo, the reviewer begins courting the author’s wife as well. Read more »

The Long and the Short of It: Affirm Press and short fiction

Last year my company, Affirm Press, an emerging publishing company with more ideals than commercial sense, embarked on an initiative called Long Story Shorts. It was a commitment to publish six individual collections of stories by new and emerging writers, the last of which – Two Steps … Read more »