Twenty-four stories were selected from 260 entries submitted to the Margaret River Short Story Writing Competition.
These are stories about men, women - and children - who stand aside from the mainstream world, and see it, as Emily Dickinson would say, 'aslant'.
In Barry Divola's winning story, Knitting, the narrator is a perceptive, no-nonsense, subversive figure who is as hard on herself as she is on the world around her. She is a 'guerilla knitter' who by the end of the story is beginning to warm to her circumstances, the people around her, and, most importantly, herself. The second prize winning story Laps, by Sally Naylor-Hampson, is focused on the ocean and adolescent sexual experience, at Belongil, seventeen years earlier. In this case between an older woman, the wife of the swimming coach, and a fifteen-year old boy, Jasper. The South West Prize winning story by Vahri McKenzie, I Shine, Not Burn, is about family and family history. The underlying issue is the extent to which knowledge of the past may be destructive to following generations.
This is a collection of tightly written, graceful stories exploring the familiar and the strange by both emerging and established writers.
These 24 stories continue - as fine stories always do - to speak, to unsettle, to shine long after you’ve closed the book.
- Amanda Curtin
Amanda Clarke was born in 1971, and is a lifetime resident of Brisbane, Queensland. She has a background in mathematics, and is relatively new to writing as an art form, having taken it up at the suggestion of a doctor as creative therapy for depression. She has recently begun to focus on short stories and enjoys the challenge of distilling human experience into a single moment, or collection of moments.
John Dale is the author of six books including the best‑selling Huckstepp, two crime novels and a memoir, Wild Life, an investigation into the fatal shooting of his grandfather in 1940s Tasmania. He has edited two anthologies, Out West and Car Lovers, and co‑edited a third anthology, Best on Ground. His most recent novel, Leaving Suzie Pye, was translated into Turkish.
Louise D'Arcy has had over 30 short stories published in magazines and anthologies in Australia and overseas. In 2010 she won 'The Age Short Story Award'.
Alyssa Davies is a videogame nerd with an unhealthy love of fantasy, sci‑fi and children’s card games. She lives with her family in Perth and writes with the hope that, one day, she’ll be able to give something back to the world. Too much of her time is spent wondering what life would be like as a dragon.
Barry Divola is a journalist and author from Sydney. He writes regularly for Rolling Stone, The Sydney Morning Herald, Men's Style, the (sydney) magazine and Monocle (UK) and 314 notes on contributors he is the long‑time music critic at Who magazine. Barry has published seven books—three non‑fiction books, three children's alphabet books with illustrator Paul McNeil, and one book of fiction (Nineteen Seventysomething). Barry has won the Banjo Paterson Award for short fiction three times, for his stories 'Nipple', 'Cicada Boy' and 'Nixon' (which all appear in Nineteen Seventysomething) and the 2011 FAW Jennifer Burbidge Award for the story 'Life Be In It'. Barry has a fortnightly radio spot about new music on 702 ABC with James Valentine. He has one wife, one daughter, one cat and no hair.
Margaret Everingham (Pen Name: Amy Douglas) was born in Brisbane in 1946 and spent most of her childhood in various country Queensland towns due to her father's erratic behaviour. The pattern was repeated in adulthood when she married a NSW police officer. Only this time it was his job which required them to move several times. The urge to write about the characters who moved in and out of her life in both states over those nomadic years was persistently on her mind. She was in her early 50s before she had the courage and discipline to take up creative writing. She had her first taste of being published when the writing group she was part of in Sydney published a book of short stories.
Kathy George completed a degree in creative writing at the Queensland University of Technology in 2011. She won QUT's undergraduate short story prize for that year, and has also been a past winner of the Hal Porter Short Story Award. Kathy recently completed a gothic novel and is undergoing the tortuous process of approaching agents and publishers.
Daniela Giorgi is a writer, theatre producer and civic educator. She is the co‑founder and producer for the independent theatre company subtlenuance (www.subtlenuance.com) and is a published writer of short stories, poetry and non‑fiction articles. Her debut play, Talc, was produced in 2010. She blogs about food, place and time at http://sagesomethymes.wordpress.com
Paulette Gittins was born in Sydney, NSW, and has been a secondary teacher of english, History and Japanese since 1972, although her first love has always been with the written word. She began writing short stories in 1980 and over the years she has won a variety of short story competitions, both local and national. In 1990 she resigned from teaching in order to pursue a career in writing. Her first novel ‘The Secret world of Annette Robinson’ was published in 2004 by HarperCollins; in 2005, this won the State Library of NSW Nita B. Kibble (Dobbie) Award for a first work by a woman writer. She is currently at work on refining a volume of short stories which she hopes someone would like to publish. She is also having a bash at a second novel.
Hilary Hewitt lives and works in Sydney's inner west where she writes poetry and prose. She is currently completing her first novel which was shortlisted for the 2012 HarperCollins Varuna Awards for Manuscript Development.
John Jenkins has written, co‑written, edited or co‑edited 26 books, including fiction and non‑fiction, and won several prizes. He has worked as a journalist and editor, both in Australia and overseas, and as teacher and lecturer. His latest poetry collection is Growing Up with Mr Menzies (John Leonard Press, 2008) and non‑fiction title Travelers' Tales of Old Cuba (2nd edition, 2010). He edited a seminal anthology of experimental fiction way back in 1975, The Outback Reader (Outback Press) and has recently rediscovered his deep love of the short story, and is working on a new collection. John lives on the semi‑rural edge of Victoria's Yarra Valley, near stretches of the Middle Yarra. John's website is: www.johnjenkins.com.au
Barbara Knight is a 75‑year‑old retiree who lives in Tasmania and during her life has been a teacher, mother, mature‑age student and librarian. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Graduate Diploma in Librarianship. She began writing seriously about eight years ago and has had three short stories published and another that won second place in a competition which will appear in a magazine next month.
Kristen Levitzke is a Perth‑based teacher and writer of fiction. She graduated from the University of Western Australia in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts (English & Fine Arts) and subsequently completed a postgraduate Diploma of education. Kristen performs the delicate balance that is child rearing, teaching and writing, and enjoys little more than tapping out stories at the keyboard. She is a true bibliophile with a deep passion for the written word.
Vahri McKenzie lectures in the Bachelor of Arts program at ECU Southwest. She publishes short fiction and essays and creates performance work. She is interested in creative arts pedagogy and practice‑led research. Vahri lives in Busselton.
Sally Naylor-Hampson from a young age was fascinated by the english language, asking her parents to read to her each night and teach her the longest word in the dictionary. At age nine she entered her first short story competition, The Williamstown Aid Abroad Short Story Competition, and won first place in the Under 15 category. Sally's love for creative writing and reading grew, and she experimented with various writing styles including script writing. In 2011 she wrote and directed her first short film which was featured in the St Kilda Film Festival Top 100 Australian Short Films. Sally is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing at RMIT University, majoring in novel writing.
Gemma Nisbet is a writer from Perth. She works as a features journalist for The West Australian newspaper. Find her online at gemmanisbet.com.
Judy O’Connor left school at the age of 15 and wrote her first stories on the train travelling to and from work every day. Some years later, a story she wrote about being lost overnight on a bushwalk, was published in a New Zealand newspaper and, soon after, was offered a job as a journalist. She has since worked for most major newspapers, magazines and other publications in Sydney, Wollongong and New Zealand. She has two adult children, two grandchildren and lives in Sydney.
Bindy Pritchard pretends to be busy looking after her children and doing church and community work when in fact she is secretly eating chocolate and writing fiction. Her poetry and short fiction has been published in Australian journals and anthologies and she has been a prizewinner in various competitions including the HQ Short Fiction Award, the Katharine Susannah Prichard Short Fiction Award and the Bobbie Cullen Poetry Award. Bindy has a BA in Comparative Literature and a Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing and is constantly being inspired by her circle of writer friends in Perth.
Katerina Protopsaltis was born in 1971 and lives in Sydney with her eleven‑year‑old son. She is studying writing at Curtin University through Open University and working on her first novel.
Richard Rossiter is an editor, writer and part‑time supervisor of higher degrees in Writing at Edith Cowan University. He has published a range of critical works, both books and articles. His latest publications are in the journal Westerly and in The Kid on the Karaoke Stage and other stories. His most recent book length work is Arrhythmia: Stories of Desire, UWA Publishing, 2009. He has judged numerous literary competitions.
John Scholz grew up on a wheat and sheep farm on South Australia's eyre Peninsula. He is an avid reader and took up trying to write for publication about twenty years ago. He has had several stories published in magazines and great success in a number of short story competitions. John currently resides on a few acres an hour south of Adelaide. He is a high school english teacher and he has two grandchildren.
Dorothy (Dotti) Simmons, a native of Northern Ireland, has spent her adult life in Australia juggling teaching and writing. She has had a play performed and four YA novels published as well as assorted publications in literary and professional journals. Now retired from full time teaching, her current PhD in Creative Writing at Melbourne University comprises a critical dissertation, 'Such is Life: Myth and Meaning', and the novel 'Living like a Kelly'.
Kerry Lown Whalen lives on the Gold Coast with her husband. She has two children and a grandchild. Most days she writes short stories. Some have won prizes and others have been published. Her happiest moments are when her fingers flutter over the keys of her computer and words appear on the screen. She doesn’t impose order on these words and allows them to lead her where they will. It means she is often led astray. Competitions challenge her to write on disparate themes including crime, mystery, adventure, romance, the supernatural, fantasy, memoir and history. She’s written one poem. It was published so perhaps it is time to write another.
Jacqueline Winn’s short stories have won over 100 awards, including 35 first prizes, in literary competitions and her stories have been published in anthologies in the UK, Australia and Ireland. Ginninderra Press Australia has published two collections of Jacqui’s stories, Once More With Feeling and Salt & Pepper. Some of her short stories have been published by Blackriver Press as Kindle mini‑ebooks on Amazon. Jacqui lives on a farm at Possum Brush on the east coast of Australia. She is regularly tempted away from the farm and her writing by her two grown‑up children and three grandsons who live in Sydney. Writing, family and farm - a fine combination. More information about Jacqui at www.jacquelinewinn.com
Jacqueline Wright began her career in the north‑west of Western Australia as a teacher/linguist working on Indigenous Australian Aboriginal language and cultural programs. She is published in Mattoid, Bodylines, Summer Reading, Sauce, Tiny Epics and Kimberley Stories. Her first novel, Red Dirt Talking, written as part of a Creative Arts Doctorate at Curtin University, earned her first prize in the TAG Hungerford Award and is published by Fremantle Press. Parts of Red Dirt Talking have also been adapted for radio, by Radio National’s Airplay, and stage as part of the 'Maj Monologues' at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Perth. Jacqueline lives and works in Broome as a publishing intern at Magabala Books and as a sports producer with ABC Kimberley.
Twenty-four stories were selected from 260 entries submitted to the Margaret River Short Story Writing Competition.