more WHOA – winner of Overland VU Short Story Prize!

Prize selfie

Um…opened up my email this morning to find I had been announced the winner of the Overland VU Short Story Prize, after finding out two weeks ago that I had been shortlisted! I can’t really believe it, but what an incredible honour. Overland is such a wonderful journal. And also – big thanks to the judges AND to Overland and Victoria University for supporting emerging writers! So very encouraging.  My story, ‘Broad Hatchet’, along with the full judges’ report and two stories by the runners up, will appear in the next edition of Overland, which comes out in about two weeks. I also get $6000 prize money (like WUT?!?!). Goes to show how dedicated these organisations are to supporting writers in their work.

The judges said: ‘Broad hatchet’ takes the classic Australian short story – pioneer mythology, man versus landscape – and reshapes it…[it’s] ‘intimate, subversive and finely wrought’. I’m pretty gobsmacked by their kind words.

Congrats too to runners up Ben Walter and Ashleigh Synnott – can’t wait to read their stories, which will also appear in the September Overland.

And of course special thanks to my babes Alexis Drevikovsky, Ash Hanson, Stu Harper, Elanna Nolan and Meaghan Young for all their feedback on early drafts of the story🙂

Whoa! Shortlisted for Overland VU Short Story Prize

Overland cover

I was so totally stoked to find out my short story, ‘Broad Hatchet’, about a chick who builds a cabin in the Australian bush (or at least tries to), has been shortlisted for the Overland VU Short Story Prize from 500 entries. Overland is one of my favourite Australian political and cultural journals so I feel pretty honoured.  Winners announced in a couple of weeks – fingers crossed! The other shortlisted stories sound great so I look forward to reading the winning tale.

Review – ‘The Trick Is To Keep Breathing’ by Janice Galloway

Trick

This book is unsettling and upsetting – in a good way. It basically traces the workings of a young woman called Joy’s mind after her partner dies suddenly. Her grief quickly becomes extreme depression (and perhaps psychosis, though it’s not made clear), and she also struggles with alcoholism and social anxiety. We don’t learn a whole lot about her partner’s death (just enough to understand that it happened and was traumatic for Joy, narrated through brief and disjointed italicised flashbacks) and so the focus really is on the inner workings of Joy’s mind.
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Scotland, summer

Or, Tullohs gone wild in the highland fog.

Review – ‘A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald

fitzgerald

This book was good fun. Set in the 1920s, it follows Evie, a young American woman who wants to the first female obstetrician in the US in a time where girls even attending uni was frowned upon, let alone becoming doctors, let alone doctors that helped women give birth. The story traces her attempts to get in med school in NYC, and then to pay for med school once she’s in – she does this by becoming a showgirl with the Ziegfied Follies (another so called ‘scandalous’ choice that she strives to keep hidden lest she be expelled from university). At the same time a romance is brewing – Evie is falling in love with Thomas Whitman, a rich banker dude who is super nice and cool, but he keeps travelling abroad for business, and Evie is worried that because he’s such a high flyer, his relationship with her (and her associated scandals) could compromise his family business, etc etc…
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Review – ‘The Natural Way of Things’ by Charlotte Wood

the-natural-way-of-things I did think this dystopian story about young women being punished for sex with powerful men by being relegated to a brutal desert prison was good, but I found it hard to reconcile all the amazing reviews with my own reading experience…another case of being sucked in the by hype before I actually read the book, methinks.

Yolanda is one the girls in the prison (which is actually an abandoned sheep stations, manned by two male guards). I really liked Yolanda’s journey as she became more and more animal, stripping herself of cultural baggage and becoming no more than flesh and bone in a purposeful way (as opposed to a reductive way). The descriptions of her wandering the desolate paddocks slung with rabbit traps, carcasses and skins after she learned to hunt to survive were really powerful, and even though it sounds kind of gross, she was never a figure of horror – more of power and agency.

I also found the shifting power dynamics between the girls and the male guards really compelling, especially the way that Boncer’s ‘power’ could only be enforced by violence and threat (and finally rape), and that his desire for control basically emerged from his fear of the young women.
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