News from the Editor's desk - September 2015

Jolley Prize

Welcome to our annual Fiction issue. Among the highlights are the three 2015 Jolley Prize shortlisted stories. This is the sixth time that we have presented the Jolley Prize, which is worth a total of $8,000. After reading more than 1,200 entries submitted by writers around the world, the judgesABR Deputy Editor Amy Baillieu, poet–academic Sarah Holland-Batt, and author Paddy O’Reilly – chose a longlist of thirty-two stories before ultimately deciding on the shortlist.

In ‘Borges and I’, Sydney writer Michelle Cahill’s narrator is engaged to probe a wormhole in New Mexico when he receives an unexpected parcel in the mail. In ‘Crest’, by Melburnian Harriet McKnight, the grieving narrator finds solace, of a kind, under the Antarctic ice; while in British-American author Rob Magnuson Smith’s story, ‘The Elector of Nossnearly’, a girl seeks freedom for herself and her pony on a small Scottish island.

The judges also commended three stories: ‘Forever Re-Starting’ by Catherine Cole (Australia), ‘Butterfly as Metaphor’ by Heather Tucker (Canada), and ‘Year of the Panda’ by Jonathon Tel (United Kingdom). Advances is delighted to see that the Jolley Prize’s international reach continues to expand. We look forward to reading many more brilliant stories in years to come. ABR thanks Mr Ian Dickson for his splendid support of the Jolley Prize.

The 2015 Jolley Prize winner will be announced at a special event at the Brisbane Writers Festival on September 4 at The Edge, SLQ (5–6pm). This is a free event but bookings should be made via the BWF website. ABR will also be taking part in a number of other events at the BWF; you can find out more information about these on our Events page or by visiting the BWF website.

Over and knout

‘Rising dead English menagerie exuded moisture’; ‘New queen holds back iron – has it both ways for another queen!’; ‘Precious stone is dead, worn out’. No, these are not fresh anti-royalist taunts coined by author Peter FitzSimons in his new capacity as Chair of the Australian Republican Movement. Rather, they are clues drawn from what Black Inc. trumpets as ‘the ultimate puzzle book’: Mungo’s Cryptic Crosswords ($9.95 pb, 115 pb). Mungo MacCallum – legendary gadfly, journalist, and death-defying luncher – has been devising cryptic crosswords, first at the Bulletin magazine, now for The Saturday Paper. He admits to ‘break[ing] some of the old rules and shibboleths’. His clue for ‘Yugoslav’ – ‘Serb tells fellow-ethnic to piss off’ – generated ‘widespread applause’, he writes in the introduction.

The answers to the above teasers, by the way – as if ABR readers won’t have promptly guessed – are ‘Oozed’, ‘Nerfertiti’, and ‘Knout’.

Ten years of Calibre

For the tenth year in a row we invite entries in the Calibre Prize for an Outstanding Essay – the country’s premier prize for an unpublished non-fiction essay. The winner will receive $5,000 and publication in ABR. Once again, Calibre is open to anyone writing in English around the world. We recommend the quick, inexpensive online entry system. Guidelines and the entry form are available on our website. Entries will close on 18 January 2016. The judges are 2015 Calibre Prize winner Sophie Cunningham and Peter Rose, Editor of ABR.

All our previous Calibre-winning essays are available online. Together they have contributed to a major rejuvenation of the essay form. As always, we thank Mr Colin Golvan QC (Chair of ABR) for his generous support for Calibre.

Cryptic climate

Debates about climate change have never been more urgent, or vexed. In the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris two months hence, we will publish our annual Environment issue in October. There are many highlights, including Ashley Hay’s ABR Dahl Trust Fellowship article and Jo Daniell’s photo essay. We will also publish a survey of leading environmentalists, scientists, commentators, and writers as to what they consider the most urgent action needed for environmental reform.

We look forward to launching the Environment issue on Wednesday, 7 October. We will do so at the Royal Society of Victoria, the new home of the Bjarne K. Dahl Trust, which supports this annual publication and Fellowship. This is a free event, starting at 6 pm, but This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Seymour Biography Lecture

ABR’s long association with the Seymour Biography Lecture continues this month when it co-presents Robert Drewe with the National Library of Australia. His theme will be the complex business of writing a memoir. The National Library is about to publish Drewe’s latest book: The Beach: An Australian Passion.

The Seymour Lecture is scheduled for Thursday, 17 September (6 pm), at the National Library. Robert Drewe will repeat it at Boyd on Wednesday, 11 November. Both of these are free events. Reservations are essential: the Seymour always books out quickly. To reserve your seat at the Boyd event, click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Stow redivivus

In our survey this month, several critics lament the virtual disappearance or neglect of some masterly novelists. Randolph Stow’s critical reputation remains high, but how many people actually read him?

There is no excuse not to revisit Stow with the publication of five welcome reissues in the Text Classics series, all wildly attainable at just $16.99. They carry thoughtful introductions: The Girl Green as Elderflower (Kerryn Goldsworthy), To the Islands (Bernadette Brennan), Tourmaline (Gabrielle Carey), and Visitants (Drusilla Modjeska). This month, with permission from Text Publishing and the author, we reproduce Michelle de Kretser’s introduction to The Suburbs of Hell, with this caveat: Michelle de Kretser’s appreciation was written as an Afterword and contains spoilers.

Meanwhile, Stowians can enjoy a photo essay of Randolph Stow at Forrest River Mission in 1957, accompanied by Kate Leah Rendell’s essay ‘Encountering “Magnificent Country”’. Westerly 60.1, co-edited by Lucy Dougan and Paul Clifford, was the last to be published before the official start of its new Editor, Catherine Noske.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.