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War poets, open letters, and other animals

A quick post ahead of this week’s no-doubt-hectic-as-ever Sydney Writers Festival. If you’re in town, I’ll be at Sombre the Night Is: The Poetry of the Great War reading and talking about the continuing resonance of war poetry, and at The Big Read for the announcement of the Best Young Australian Novelists of 2014, for which I was one of the judges. If you see me around, come and say hello!

Despite once calling for a general open letter ceasefire, I have signed my name to this open letter against the cuts to the Australia Council which are ahead in the next few years if this government has its way in the Senate. It’s a spiteful budget, full of cheap shots against the poor. I’m more concerned about changes to Newstart for the young, and health and education, as well as what looks like the removal of any help for renewable energy, than my own skin, but it’s worth mentioning most artists are poor and precariously employed too. Yesterday’s protests gave me a little hope that there are plenty of decent hardworking people out there who will stand up for fairness in Australian society against these mean-spirited attacks on the most vulnerable.

In writing news, I have a new review coming up at the Sydney Review of Books this week;

A new short story in the fabulous independent journal, The Lifted Brow (it’s about a woman with a phantom body);

Another coming soon in the ace Review of Australian Fiction (it’s about sharks);

And this much-anticipated (by me) writing workshop at the Adelaide Zoo on the 31st of May – a unique opportunity that will get your creativity howling, roaring and swinging from tree to tree. There are still spaces – just book online at the SAWC website, or give them a ring.


  1. wrote:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the great review of Cairo: both of them. After reading your review of Womersley’s I thought, finally, I’m not the only one who feels this way! And I just read your review of Armand – your thoughts on the primacy of ‘realist’ fiction in Australia were fascinating, and inspiring.
    Anyway, really enjoyed them, keep it up.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  2. jenjen wrote:

    Thanks Jane!

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink