Traumata: Such Small Hands / Andrés Barba

In an afterword by Edmund White, Andrés Barba’s chilling and sparse novella Such Small Hands is said to be based on events in an orphanage in 1960s Brazil in which a group of young girls killed a fellow child and played with her body parts for some time afterward. This point is almost universally noted…

Grief, healing and horses: The writing of Eliza Henry-Jones

It’s rare that a piece of writing moves me to tears, but I’ll readily admit that in the course of reading the novels of Australian author Eliza Henry-Jones, it’s been three-for-three. These books are powerful, moving, and incredibly human. The experience began with Ache, Henry-Jones’ latest adult release. I read it travelling between Helensburgh and…

Journey to the Golden Age

First post of 2018! As of NaNoWriMo last year, I’ve become consumed by this new project, the tentatively-named Cabinet of Wonders. Yesterday the word count of draft zero passed 65K. I’m not sure where it will go, but I’m struck at how transformative the writing process is, especially in a work that traverses time. It…

Writing into the future: Setting intentions

I began writing on this site just over a year ago, inspired by a live talk by author, literary speaker, and all-round excellent person Walter Mason. Coming full circle, last week I heard Walter speak again, this time with a focus on maintaining a writing practice (especially when the going gets not just tough but…

NaNoWriMo V.3

One thousand, six hundred and sixty seven. To complete NaNoWriMo, the annual, international writing challenge, all you have to do is write one thousand, six hundred and sixty seven words a day. Every day. For thirty days. To break it down in such increments makes it sound feasible, reasonable even. Kind of. It is an…

Pitching for writers: A personal post

I imagine it’s a bit like an audition for film role, a casting session, where all the potential actors size each other up in the waiting area. Ultimately they have the same aim, and they can’t all get the part. But they’ve been on a similar journey, fought the same or similar battles for recognition,…

Other histories: Terra Nullius / Claire G. Coleman

I’m writing this review with care because I’ve resolved to write it without spoilers. Terra Nullius is best placed as a work of speculative fiction, a genre seemingly without boundaries. As with other affecting books, Claire G. Coleman’s Terra Nullius was a shift from one state to another, a journey in itself. It went a…

Hunter Gather: Art and Writing

This is a different kind of post. I’ve been so focused on writing this year – finishing the first rewrite of Bury the Sun and applying for various unpublished manuscript opportunities for both Sun and Birch. I’ve been pushing myself guiltily into pursuing the first New Year’s resolution I’d ever made: planning to submit Birch…

Dead girl and heron: Joyce Carol Oates

Content warning: child abuse (reference), sexual assault (reference) Before reading her work, I’d assumed Joyce Carol Oates was one of those writers who churned out weepy family sagas. As many fateful reading habits begin, I picked up Daddy Love (2013) by accident. It was an entirely disturbing read, tracking the fate of a young boy…

Strange and beautiful: From the Wreck / Jane Rawson

Speculative fiction is by its very nature strange and unexpected. Jane Rawson’s From the Wreck is both of these and more. I’d heard of the title from various book lists and reviews yet I was reluctant to pick it up given its seemingly incongruous premise: a surreal blend of historical fiction and sci-fi. The history…