Politicians invariably attribute their most reactionary idiocies to the population. They are, they say, merely reflecting the electorate’s wishes. But the most recent elections revealed little positive enthusiasm for the conservative program. A survey immediately after the poll showed that respondents expected the new government to make matters worse rather than better on job security, workers’ rights, the environment, public services and welfare.
Besides being exhausting and stressful, moving house is strangely introspective.
In early September last year, I began to feel an ache running between my spine and right shoulderblade.
For some time I’d wanted to build a new writing space that would also double as a bedroom.
On Feringhee Bacha, lost among the Afghans
The address was voted number three in a 2011 ABC Radio National poll of ‘the most unforgettable speech of all time’, ranked behind, first, Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have a Dream’ and, second, Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.
On 2 February 2013, Anene Booysen, a seventeen-year-old from a small, forgotten farming community, died from injuries sustained during a brutal rape. Only a few days later, on Valentine’s Day, celebrated athlete Oscar Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The shock was complete: what was this dark heart beating at South Africa’s centre?
At this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival, Arnold Zable spoke with Alexis Wright about her new novel
The year is 1984. The snow has melted and the smell of spring is in the air. I am walking along Bolshaya Sadovaya Street, which begins at the Mayakovsky Square. At house number 10, near the archway from the street to the courtyard, there is graffiti reading Slava Bulgakovu (Hail Bulgakov!).
By this stage in my freelance writing career, I fret that I’ve made myself unemployable in the ‘regular’ workforce because I struggle with the panoptical logic governing most jobs. By ‘panoptical’, I mean the ways in which employers require their workers to perform their work as if always observed.
What were the lessons of the ALP’s defeat?
Rock’n’roll in Mali
The winning stories have nerve. They avoid these pitfalls, and do something more: they surprise and delight, and they bring us into the places writers need to go. They take us past the stereotype, past our expectations, and into the blurry vagueness of life, with all its bewildering contradictions.
Winner: 2013 Overland Victoria University short story prize
Joint runner-up: Overland Victoria University short story prize.
Joint runner-up: Overland Victoria University short story prize
I wander in her woollen hat caught like
The silver glints in the ti-tree. A clue is wrapped in foil, peeled from the lining of the cigarette pack and rolled into balls. The clue says, look behind the beach hut. The rosaries clack
A cigarette bud sits
at my windscreen
they were really into sax back then – big mouthfuls of it –
Later that night, I cut the plastic boning from the bodice of my dress:
My meditation teacher is a pessimist and a poet. He says the mind is like a glass of orange juice, the sediment slowly settling to the bottom leaving a clear liquid.
Cloud burst, and another sky falls. A blight of sun causes all feather to lose flavour in the wind. But our children will still have their mobile phones and dial the clouds
Footsteps of giant creatures crisscross ancient mud
A thousand paws-prints caught in pitted sandstone
It’s possible to forget a lot of things in the fullness of time:
My father’s eyes, the pale intensity of distance, how it all began.
The smell of toast reminds me of my father,
Not only because he was cremated.