Tag Archives: Australian writing

Raise a glass to our debut author

If you are in Melbourne on 11 December, please join us for the launch of debut author Sarah Madden’s magic realist memoir Blue in the Red House. We are very excited to mark this special occasion with Writers Victoria, where Sarah was a Write-ability Fellow. Sarah will be in conversation with writer and director Fiona Tuomy, who was also Write-ability’s founding Mentor-in-Residence. And there will be champagne of course! RSVP at the Writers Victoria website.

If you can’t join us Blue in the Red Houseis out now and available through the Obiter online store.

Just in time for Christmas

‘This collection,’ says Imelda Whelehan, ‘is for everyone who wants their Christmas stories to mirror their Christmas location – with the heat on their backs, perhaps wondering if lowering clouds presage a storm or more extreme weather event. They will be best savoured as the barbecue sizzles or while dipping a toe in the water, enjoying fresh raspberries, cherries or apricots, or during lunch at the cricket.’

‘It might be a tonic, too,’ she points out, ‘for those travellers who find themselves in the northern hemisphere longing for the characteristic smells and sounds of an Australian summer holiday.’

Professor Whelehan is a scholar of women’s writing, feminism, popular culture and literary adaptations and the current Dean of Higher Research at the Australian National University. She and her family moved to Australia from England eight years ago where Christmas was shaped by Dickensian images of Victorian English celebrations recycled on chocolate boxes and biscuit tins and Christmas Day was accompanied by adaptations of A Christmas Carol on television. Like all migrants, she says, ‘we gradually acclimatised and adjusted our family traditions to make the most of a beautiful Australian summer.’

Imelda has written the introduction to our collection of ‘lost’ nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Australian Christmas stories that have not been previously published beyond their original serialisation in newspapers. We are delighted with the gorgeous cover from the talented team at Giraffe, using a perfect image by photographer Jane Worner at Austockphoto.

The book is available for pre-order in our online store.

 

Forthcoming: Christmas Eve in a Gum Tree

Christmas in fiction – a time when families reunite and love blossoms, when evil is overcome and tragedy is averted. Cruelty and revenge are offset by heroism and forgiveness, and constancy in love is rewarded. But in Australia Christmas stories are also marked by fire and flood, cyclone and drought, and the perils of isolation. Cattle drovers find themselves stuck in a gumtree, a sheep stealer’s son is lost in the bush, and love’s ‘cooee’ is heard as far away as London. All the drama of nature and humanity is vividly recounted in this collection of nineteenth-century Australian Christmas stories.

Christmas Eve in a Gum Tree is the second title in Obiter’s ‘To Be Continued’ series. It collects previously unpublished stories unearthed in an Australian Research Council funded project that has produced a bibliographic index and full-text archive of fiction in Australian newspapers from 1803 to 1955. The stories are contextualised in an introduction by Professor Imelda Whelehan, a scholar of women’s writing, feminism, popular culture and literary adaptations and the current Dean of Higher Research at the Australian National University.

Christmas Eve in a Gum Tree and Other Lost Australian Christmas Stories will be published next month. Further info soon!

You can purchase the first title in the ‘To Be Continued…’ series, How I Pawned My Opals and Other Lost Stories by Catherine Martin, from the shop section of our website.

Forthcoming: Blue in the Red House

Obiter Publishing is excited to announce the forthcoming release of our first ‘Futures’ experimental non-fiction title, Blue in the Red House.

Blue in the Red House is a hybrid memoir/magic realist novella from debut author Sarah Madden, which recreates her experience of being diagnosed with Autism at age 34.

Sarah Madden grew up in New Zealand and has been based in Victoria for the past 5 years, after spending a number of years living in the Middle East. Since landing in Australia, Madden has rediscovered her love of writing and words, and was awarded a Write-ability Fellowship by Writers Victoria in 2014. Madden writes fiction, memoir and poetry, most with a lyrical, slightly magical treatment woven through the threads of the everyday. Madden has been published, as Sarah Widdup, by Underground Writers, The Big Smoke and Hot Chicks with Big Brains.

In Blue in the Red House, readers follow the journey of Ms De Beer who seeks out a doctor to assist with removing her eyes, figuring she no longer needs them. She is surprised to learn the true source of her concerns. Ms De Beer cannot see red. As a result, she has been leaving a trail of heart-blood behind her everywhere she goes.

Reeling from this information, Ms De Beer sets out on a journey to rediscover herself. Along the way she discovers far more of herself than she expects. But piecing all of the parts together and learning to see clearly will be harder than she thought.

Through the journey of Ms De Beer, Madden recreates her own story of being diagnosed as autistic. The story reimagines Madden’s sensory perception of the world around her and her place within it. In fiction, Madden illuminates the truth in ways that strict facts often cannot manage.

Blue in the Red House will be released in November 2018.

Exciting diversity in awards longlist

Prizes – lauded, maligned, heralded, disparaged. Many have called them elitist and chastised them for upholding the status quo. Many more have derided them as middlebrow harbingers of impending artistic doom. For authors and publishers though, the lure of prize attention persists.

The Stella Prize is no different, except of course, for its founding premise – to redress the gender imbalance of literary prize culture. And for those of us who love new Australian non-fiction, the 2017 Stella longlist delivers a bumper crop. Amidst the 12 titles longlisted (8 of which are non-fiction), are two of my favourite reads of 2016.

The Hate Race – Maxine Beneba Clarke (Hachette) – The kind of incessant, casual racism that others would glibly label ‘micro-aggressions’ is personified in Maxine Beneba Clarke’s memoir as an insidious, monstrous element of our cultural psyche. The Hate Race is, for the most part, a relatable and blush-inducing memoir of suburban childhood. With adeptly paced and stridently crafted lyricism though, Beneba Clarke brings racism to the fore, forcing readers to confront the truth of our nation’s discriminatory foundations and prevailing prejudices.

Wasted – Elspeth Muir (Text Publishing) – Writing about grief without wallowing in its depths is a feat few writers accomplish. Yet Elspeth Muir manages, with astonishing prosaic skill and aching self-reflection, to intertwine the story of her brother’s early death with a broad and insightful observation of Australia’s drinking culture. Wasted is an un-indulgent and measured examination of the dangers of alcohol that averts blame in favour of insight and reflection.

These two books, and no doubt others on the longlist, are exemplars of the potential of new Australian non-fiction. Particularly, non-fiction writing from diverse voices. They are inherently Australian stories that confront and transcend popular nationalist narratives. These are the kinds of works that we hope literary prizes continue to foster. The Obiter Publishing team commends The Stella Prize for recognising the talents of these formidable Australian writers and congratulates all of the longlisted authors and their publishers.

Obiter currently ships to Australia and New Zealand. For other destinations please contact us. Dismiss