The collection is made up of twenty four stories selected from the Margaret River Short Story Competition.
Self-described ‘fledgling’ writer from Sydney, Ruth Wyer, is the winner of this year’s competition for her story, The Trouble with Flying. The second prize story, Dying, is by accomplished Western Australia short story writer, Bindy Pritchard. Highly Commended entries are from: Cassie Hamer (The Life in her Hands); Isabelle Li (Red Saffron); Susan McCreery (Now, Voyager); Francesca Sasnaitis (Summerlands) and Mark Smith (Butcher’s Creek). The South West Prize for the best story from a South West resident is awarded to Rachelle Rechichi for her story My House. Stories highly commended in this section are by Leanne Browning (Woman on a Wire) and Leslie Thiele (Catching Trains to Frankston).
There is a strong sense throughout this collection of stories of characters playing their parts—sometimes on a large stage, but more frequently in a single room, or its equivalent. Stories about characters controlling their destinies are in the minority. If one could generalise about a connection between social issues and literary works, then it would seem that there is a prevailing concern out there with the fragility of relationships between men and women (especially those of middle age), the often challenging relationships between parents and children, and an anxiety about the realities of old age.
Claire Aman lives in Grafton, News South Wales (NSW), an inspiring town. Her short stories have been published in Best Australian Stories, New Australian Stories 1 and 2, Australian Book Review, Escape, Island, Southerly, Heat, Griffith Review, and read on ABC Radio. She won the Wet Ink short story prize in 2013. Untrained in writing, she has been lucky to have her writing life nurtured at Varuna and through an Australian Society of Authors mentorship.
Rosie Barter is a Fremantle writer and poet whose previous lifetime career embraced design and the visual arts. Her first short story, ‘Crossing’, was broadcast on ABC Radio National where she was described as 'a very visual writer'. She has been published in Indigo, Jukebox, Sotto and Poetry d'Amour and recognised in various literary competitions. In 2014, she will finalise a memoir exploring her Greek ancestry. ‘Grasping for the Moon’ won second prize in the 2011 Katharine Susannah Prichard (KSP) Fiction Award
Leanne Browning grew up in the Upper Great Southern wheatbelt of Western Australia and studied a Bachelor of Arts (Clinical Psychology). She has worked in the fields of psychological counselling and research, although she has more recently been enjoying parenting two little ones and studying Writing at Edith Cowan University. Leanne lives in the South West and enjoys casual interests in photography and circus skills. She has a bookshelf full of books she will read one day.
Linda Brucesmith’s short fiction has been published in Askance Publishing’s 2013 Homes Anthology (Cambridge), The Fiction Desk’s 2013 Ghost Story Anthology (London), and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. She won the Fellowship of Australian Writers’ Mornington Peninsula Prize 2013, was shortlisted for the Katharine Susannah Prichard Foundation’s 2013 KSP Speculative Fiction Awards, highly commended in the 2012 Fellowship of Australian Writers National Literary Awards and longlisted in the 2012/13 Fish Short Story Prize.
Peter Curry is a lawyer who took a long sabbatical to try his hand at writing. He eventually realised the difference between a dream and an escape fantasy, and that his work was the exploration of various themes and ideas, rather than literature in its own right. He maintains the utmost respect for writers but prefers these days to apply his skills to advocacy, the protection of the rights of people living with mental illness, and the administration of justice generally.
Lauren Foley is from Rush, Dublin, Ireland. She holds a BA (Hons) in English and Geography from The University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and TESOL Postgraduates. She attempted to travel the world in 2010, met a fine Australian gent and never made it to New Zealand. They married and now live in Adelaide, South Australia without a puppy—much to her chagrin. She is a member of South Australian Writers Cente (SAWC) and Kensington & Norwood Writers, and is currently working on her first novel and a travel memoir. Visit: ayearinsouthaustralia.com to find out more about the travel memoir.
Kathy George has a degree in creative and professional writing from the Queensland University of Technology. She has been published in Stilts and Rex, and her short story ‘A Bend in the Road’ was included in the 2013 Margaret River Short Story Competition’s anthology, Knitting & other stories. She has recently been a participant in the Queensland Writers Centre/Hachette Manuscript Development Program with her gothic manuscript, Sargasso. She blogs at http://dappledwithdew.blogspot.com.au
Paulette Gittins began her writing in the format she particularly loves: the short story. She has written a large body of stories, a number of which have won local, state and national awards. Her first novel, The Secret World of Annette Robinson, published by HarperCollins in 2004, won the NSW State Library Dobbie Award for a first novel by a woman writer. Paulette is currently extending her career in the field of media texts, producing online study guides for both documentary and fiction films.
Cassie Hamer was the type of child who was always being told to get her nose out of a book. Luckily she ignored such comments and used her love of words to springboard into a career as a television journalist in regional NSW and Sydney. These days Cassie prefers to deal with fiction rather than facts and is currently working on a novel, while studying a Masters in Creative Writing at Macquarie University. Her husband and three young daughters deserve a Masters in Understanding.
Glen Hunting was born in Perth, Western Australia (WA)., where he still lives, and divides his time between writing and working as a metallurgist. His stories have appeared in dotdotdash journal, and in the anthologies The Kid on the Karaoke Stage And Other Stories and An Alphabetical Amulet. Glen also received a commendation in the 2013 KSP Speculative Short Story Competition.
Zacharey Jane’s acclaimed first novel The Lifeboat was published in 2008 by University of Queensland Press (UQP) and released internationally. It was shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award in 2009 and voted one of the favourite reads of 2008 by ABC Radio National listeners. In 2011, UQP published Zacharey’s children’s picture book Tobias Blow, now included on the NSW Premier’s Reading List. Zacharey is currently editing her novel The Patchwork Man, which was awarded the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival LitLink Varuna Unpublished Manuscript Award in 2012.
Melanie Kinsman has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide. Her interests include young adult fiction, media studies and cultural studies. She was shortlisted for the Overland Victoria University Short Story Prize in 2012, and has co-edited a short story anthology called ‘Cracker: A Christmas Anthology’, published by Wakefield Press.
Wes Lee is a poet and short fiction writer based in Wellington, New Zealand. She was the 2010 recipient of The BNZ Katherine Mansfield Literary Award and has won many awards for her writing. Her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio and BFM and has been published widely. Her collection of short stories was the winner of The Grist Chapbook Prize 2013 in the UK, and will be published by Grist Publishing at The University of Huddersfield in March 2014. More information can be found at her website: www.weslee.co.nz
Kristen Levitzke is a Perth-based mother, 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 is currently redrafting her first novel while teaching part-time and raising two delightful boys. Kristen is a bibliophile with a deep passion for language, education and literacy development.
Isabelle Li grew up in China, worked in Singapore and migrated to Australia in 1999. Her short stories have appeared in The Best Australian Stories, Southerly, Sleepers Almanac, UTS Writers' Anthology, New Australian Stories, and Cha. Her debut script was made into a short film and premiered at the Melbourne Film Festival. Isabelle is a recipient of a Varuna Fellowship. Having completed the manuscript for a collection of short stories, A Chinese Affair, she is now working on a novel.
Susan McCreery is a writer and proofreader from Thirroul, on the south coast of NSW. Her stories have been published in The Sleepers Almanac, Award Winning Australian Writing (2010, 2012, 2013), Island, Page Seventeen, Escape and Famous Reporter. Her poetry collection, 'Waiting for the Southerly', was commended in the 2012 Anne Elder Award for a first book of poetry. In 2013–14 she will be working on her short story collection under the Australian Society of Authors Emerging Writers’ Mentorship Program.
Melanie Napthine is a Melbourne-based writer with a particular fondness for the short story form, though she also currently has a couple of novels on the go. She works in educational publishing, and any time left over is spent reading, running, travelling and parenting (not necessarily in that order).
Bindy Pritchard is a Perth-based writer who occasionally gets shortlisted for writing awards such as this. Like most arts graduates she has worked as a cleaner, pizza deliverer, in a bowling alley, at the Fremantle markets, in the public service and as a research writer and editor. Sometimes she wonders if she should write ‘fantasist’ when filling out the occupation section on her Immigration and Customs declaration form.
Rachelle Rechichi’s interest in language and arts began in her early years and has developed through studies in the areas of fine arts, graphic art and writing. Rachelle spent many years as a cartographer, driven by a fascination in lands and peoples. Her interest in writing poetry led to writing songs, two of which have been released and broadcast by Triple J and the Western Australian Music Industry. Rachelle continues to study language and writing at Edith Cowan University.
Kate Rotherham lives in a little valley in north-east Victoria. Her short fiction has been published in The Best Australian Stories and the last four editions of Award Winning Australian Writing, among other places. She finds inspiration in rural life and the fantastic energy of her four young children, who sometimes tiptoe into her stories. Find out more about Kate : www.katerotherham.com.au
Francesca Sasnaitis is a Melbourne-based writer, artist and bookseller. Her poetry, short fiction and reviews have appeared in Australian Book Review, Sydney Review of Books, Southerly, Cordite, Visible Ink, Verandah, qarrtsiluni, 21D and other publications.
Mark Smith is a writer who lives on Victoria’s west coast. His stories have appeared in Visible Ink, Offset, Mascara and Award Winning Australian Writing. In 2013 he won The Alan Marshall Short Story Competition and The E.J. Brady Short Story Competition, was shortlisted in the Overland Victoria University Short Story Competition and The Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Awards and commended in The Age Short Story Competition. He is dedicating 2014 to writing his first novel.
Leslie Thiele after a nomadic childhood, spent twenty-five years living on a cattle station in the Kimberley, moving to the South West in 2012. She began studying an Arts Degree at Edith Cowan Uuniversity (ECU)(Bunbury) to follow a love of writing and literature. In 2012 Leslie won the ECU Short Story Competition and was a runner up in 2013. She is a voracious reader and a bookshop tragic.
Ruth Wyer is a fledgling writer from south-west Sydney who composes stories by typing them one-fingered on her iPhone any spare chance she gets. It's an inefficient writing process, as she spends almost as much time backspacing over autocorrect as actually progressing, but her brain often feels like a flailing hose and it's kind of nice aiming it at something that will eventually grow. Her stories, ‘This is my school’ won Zinewest 2012 and ‘The Neurotic’s Guide to Navigating Breakfast’ will appear in The Sleepers Almanac No. 9 (Sleepers, 2014).
Richard Rossiter is a writer, editor and occasional supervisor of postgraduate Writing students at Edith Cowan University. His novella, Thicker than Water will be published in 2014 by UWA Press.
Susan Midalia is a fiction writer and freelance editor. She has published two collections of short stories: A History of the Beanbag and Other Stories (2007), shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards; and An Unknown Sky and Other Stories (2102), shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Award and long listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. She continues to believe that writing and reading fiction is ethically enriching and emotionally sustaining.
The collection is made up of twenty four stories selected from the Margaret River Short Story Competition.
"These stories, the best of the 2014 Margaret River Short Story Competition, are beautiful illimations. They deal in moments of clarity, desperation, respite, decision and grace. They deal in many voices. Some of them are healong and furious; otherare are tender and circumspect." - Fiona McFarlane, author.
"There are many forms of trouble in this collection: the trouble with children, the trouble with parents and the elderly, the trouble with the bush and the city, the trouble with love, sex, sickness and death. Most of the writers here have found fresh angles on their chosen themes, while others take us off on strange and new paths. What they all have in common is accomplished writing that engages and interests." - Helen Richardson, bookwoods.com.au
"This was the third year of the Western Australia Margaret River Story Competition; 24 stories were chosen from 218 entries from all over Australia and one from New Zealand for the collection. Most stories focus on character, combined with social issues, making this an engaging and an insightful read. Themes such as new motherhood, love relationships, marital breakdown, ageing, and facing death can be classified within an overall category of Life Stages. Eccentric characters feature also, like the young woman in the winning entry “The Trouble with Flying”, who will never make it through TAFE studies." - Anne Skyvington, author
"Not surprisingly, the collection encompasses many concerns currently facing Australians, with issues like ageing, cancer and fire appearing in several stories. Indigenous issues and our multicultural make-up also appear, albeit way less frequently, reflecting I’m guessing the backgrounds of the writers." - Whispering Gums, book blogger
"I enjoy short story collections. You might not love all the stories but there are usually some that resonate. And there’s lots to love in this collection. I even enjoyed the introduction (quite out of character for me) by Richard Rossiter and Susan Midalia." - Karenlee Thompson, author
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