6731153667_070eb08e14_z
Type
Announcement
Category
Prizes

Shortlist for the 2018 VU Short Story Prize

While we’d like to thank all 863 entrants who worked hard to submit this year, the four judges for the 2018 competition – writer Sarah Schmidt, writer and editor Michelle Cahill, writer and VU academic Tom Clark, and writer and Overland fiction editor Jennifer Mills – have now decided on a shortlist of thirteen outstanding stories.

wiki
Type
Article
Category
Activism
Feminism

The fight for women’s refuge

The first women’s refuge in Melbourne opened in 1974. According to the Women’s Liberation Halfway House Collective (WLHHC), ‘the need for a Halfway House had been discussed for a long time in the Women’s Liberation Movement’, as the Women’s Liberation Centre ‘constantly received calls from women needing somewhere to stay for awhile, often in desperate circumstances.’ In April 1974, a meeting was called to ‘discuss the setting up of a halfway house… a halfway point for women between their old lives and new ones.’

sydney
Type
Article
Category
Architecture
Gentrification

The nihilism of inner-Sydney architecture

People are protective of their space and often suspicious of outsiders. People are cramped together in auspicious looking high-rises, disturbingly typical and askew. Outside of my inner-west bubble, I often talk to friends who have lived in Ashfield for years, a suburb that completely transformed and reshaped within a matter of months.

5646599150_c3ff188fbd_z
Type
Column
Category
Migration
translation

On writing while foreign

Often, when asked what I do for a living, I say I am a writer as well as a translator. It is not a word that I would use in my native language: the Italian ‘scrittore’ is far too grandiose. It implies that you have published at least one book, probably more, whereas the English word ‘writer’ covers a larger semantic field, encompassing people who write habitually for a public in various media domains, such as this journal.

Propaganda poster
Type
Polemic
Category
Racism
the state

A new red scare? On the campaign against Chinese influence

What, if anything, does McCarthyism have to do with racism? Consider what happened to the Council on African Affairs, founded in 1937 with a slightly different name, and renamed in 1941. The CAA was a volunteer organisation which published a journal called New Africa. It campaigned against colonialism and apartheid, and publicised the activities of the South African ANC, the party of Nelson Mandela.

8454700039_2253e57de3_z
Type
Polemic
Category
Far right
The media

On the fear of a ‘foreign invasion’

It’s symptomatic of where we’re at in Australia that the appearance of fascist agitator and Hitler-fan Blair Cottrell on Sky News – an interview that briefly turned ‘Nazi’ into a Twitter trending topic – wasn’t the most significant media boost offered to white nationalism in the last week.

Flightscrop
Type
Review

July in fiction (plus one collective memoir)

An activist in the 1970s, Desmond spent years working and living with ‘gang women’ in New Zealand. Trust was an attempt to tell their stories ethically. It didn’t shy away from intersections of class, race, economic disempowerment and violence.

Her second book turns the lens on subject matter more personally hazardous, and no less ethically fraught.

moscow
Type
Review
Category
Capitalism
Europe

Post-communist blues

Citizens of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries are not satisfied with the progress that has been made since 1989. Many feel that they have traded in the grey faceless bureaucratic oppression of the Communist Party for a new capitalist class who are offensively showy: every four-carat diamond and London flat pilfered through privatisation has become a personal insult to an unemployed Donbass miner or pension-dependent babushka in Yekaterinburg.

metjp
Type
Article
Category
Film
Technology

What happened to sci-fi?

Sci-fi has depoliticised. Spectacle has replaced critique. Most sci-fi today just isn’t about very much, nor does it have much feeling to it: the feeling of not knowing who you are, like Deckard and Rachel in Blade Runner; of longing for someone you’ve lost, like Kris Kelvin in Solaris; the feeling of fear for your life, as in Alien; of pure awe and wonder as in Close Encounters with the Third Kind.

May-Shelley-still
Type
Review
Category
Cinema
Feminism

Mary Shelley: on body horror and biopics

Whether it be in terms of creators or fans, horror is not – nor has it ever been – the ‘boys club’ it is so commonly assumed to be. In Haifaa al-Mansour’s recently released biopic Mary Shelley, the author is told by her stepsister Claire Clairmont upon first reading her famous novel Frankenstein: ‘I’ve never read such a perfect encapsulation of what it feels to be abandoned.’ At its best, horror is all about outsiders, its focus emphatically upon the experience of otherness.

loud
Type
Article
Category
Disability
Science

Yanny, Laurel or a thought experiment in empathy

The internet was divided recently when a short audio clip repeating a two-syllable word caused an outpouring of confusion. ‘Do you hear Yanny or Laurel?’ everyone asked. Within hours it became team Yanny versus team Laurel, both groups lambasting one another over Twitter and Facebook. I hear Laurel. I am a thirty-year-old deaf woman.

Stinsonessay
Type
Essay
Category
Class
Massification

Bad readers

I began university in 1996, attending what could be considered an ‘elite’ US institution. It was not Ivy League, but it was regularly listed among the top thirty universities in the country. The fee for one year was just over $33,000, including room and board. My family had been comfortably middle class for most of my childhood, but my father had quit his job and taken another at much lower pay while I was in high school. I was only able to attend the university because I received direct scholarships, alongside a complex array of government-subsidised loans and grants.

Aung Thin story
Type
Fiction

Tea ceremony

Jab. ‘$679. Your original price.’

Jab. ‘$649. Your reduced price.’

Jab, jab. ‘$629. Your additional discount from your $20 gift card.’

I was pretty sure he was wrong. I thought he’d rung up $20, not $629. But the bill was a little too far away for me to see it clearly and he was making such a big thing about it in front of all those people that I just apologised, another middle-aged sans papiers among the digital natives. He folded my receipt back into the bag and smiled.