Jolley Prize 2016 (Shortlist): 'The Water Calligrapher's Women' by Jonathan Tel

She says it was a man, an old man (but all men are old to her), which man, what did he look like, what was he wearing, what did he do

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month.

We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Jonathan Tel

Jonathan Tel

Jonathan Tel is writing a book of linked stories set in China. These stories have won the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Prize 2016, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2015, and the VS. Pritchett Prize from the Royal Society of Literature 2015. His story 'Year of the Panda' was commended in the 2015 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Prize. Apart from China, he has lived in Tokyo, Jerusalem, Berlin, London, New York and San Francisco.

Published in August 2016, no. 383

Comments (2)

  • Leave a comment

    This seems wonderful, but I don't get what it means! I'm just a young reader who doesn't know anything...but I really hope I could read and comprehend deeper works. Can someone explain to me what this short story means and why it is so good?

    Thursday, 01 September 2016 21:03 posted by Lilly
  • Leave a comment

    Everything get extended , bigger and demolished to new one , except his place,that got smaller and smaller. The waste ground was his voice. Everything found the new form , shape,structure as his voice.Year after year, he had taught ,how his voice transmitted from fluidity to solidity. From air to the ground from voice to calligraphy. Calligrapher Wu writes , writes on the ground ,writes his voice down.
    Calligrapher Wu was a fable but was a symbol. Symbol of the people , that are resilience. You can made them bow , you can strangle them, you can smash their soul ,character ,but they will survived and find the way to get their voice back.
    He believes “Suffering makes nation noble”. And he was noble but he suffered , suffered from society , wife ,daughter ,…..from all people that has forgotten him or maybe ignored him.And they made him to bow but he bow low.

    Wednesday, 03 August 2016 19:37 posted by Rowshanak Homayoon

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.