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Category Archives: short stories


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 »

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 »