I hit the ground running when I returned to Oz from Rome, travelling almost immediately to Armidale for a conference for the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, the theme of which was politics and passion. I presented a paper on representations of the Great Barrier Reef and how these can mobilise political action to save the reef. I also caught up with Parental Unit and H, who was in town for a friend’s wedding, which was lovely.
I then spent five gruelling weeks putting together and refining a postdoc proposal on an ecobiography of 19th C botanist Georgiana Molloy. This just about killed me, and I staggered onto the side of the road with exhaustion. Now, still wheezing, I’m throwing myself back onto the blogging bandwagon for a minor bout of self-aggrandizement.
My short story, ‘When the World Shivered’, has been published in the Review of Australian Fiction. This is an online journal which pairs one emerging author with one established author, and releases two stories every two weeks for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.
I was paired with Nike Sulway, author of Rupetta which I absolutely adored. Nike wrote a quiet, sad and delicate little piece about loss. Mine mirrored this in that it was also about loss, but I explored the theme through the connections between animals and children with disabilities.
I’d been thinking about this story for a few months, and I was glad that the RAF galvanised me into writing it. I was interested specifically in the bond between carers and people with disability, not just its strength, but also its uneven power dynamics.
My previous story for the RAF, 'Unearthed', published in 2012, was also about deafness: a young, belligerent deaf young woman works on a farm and moves in and out of a world in which the borders of the real and unreal are destabilised.
As I’ve mentioned in this post which I wrote recently for Arts Queensland, the genre of magic realism (into which these stories slot )is a means for me to explore the fantastic elements which disability can bring into one’s life. The fact that I could do this and knew it would be published brought, I think, a confidence into my work – it compelled me to think about and shape these ideas more carefully and clearly. Consequently, I’m now going to turn ‘When the World Shivered’ into a young adult novel.
Like any other literary magazine in Autralia, the Review of Australian Fiction needs subscribers to survive. If you’d like to be exposed to a wide range of authors, both big names and emerging names, parting with a few dollars a fortnight is a cheap and easy way to go about it. You also get that warm glow of supporting writers and contributing to Australia’s lively literary culture.