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Calibre Prize

The ABR Podcast 

Released every Thursday, the ABR podcast features our finest reviews, poetry, fiction, interviews, and commentary.

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Tracey Slaughter

Episode #187

‘why your hair is long & your stories short’

By Tracey Slaughter

With the publication of the May issue, ABR was delighted to announce the winner of the 2024 Calibre Essay Prize. Tracey Slaughter – from Aotearoa New Zealand – has become the first overseas writer to claim the Calibre Prize with her essay ‘why your hair is long & your stories short’. We are thrilled Tracey Slaughter could join the ABR Podcast to read her winning essay. Listen to Tracey Slaughter with ‘why your hair is long & your stories short’, published in the May issue of ABR.

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With the publication of the May issue, ABR was delighted to announce the winner of the 2024 Calibre Essay Prize. Tracey Slaughter – from Aotearoa New Zealand – has become the first overseas writer to claim the Calibre Prize with her essay ‘why your hair is long & your stories short’. We are thrilled Tracey Slaughter could join the ABR Podcast to read her winning essay. Listen to Tracey Slaughter with ‘why your hair is long & your stories short’, published in the May issue of ABR.

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‘A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.’

Coco Chanel

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Calibre Essay Prize

Tracey Slaughter – a poet, fiction writer, and essayist from Aotearoa New Zealand – has won the 2024 Calibre Essay Prize. Her name will be familiar to ABR readers: she was runner-up in the 2018 Peter Porter Poetry Prize. Overseas writers have been shortlisted for Calibre in the past, but Tracey becomes the first to claim first prize.

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We woke early that morning as the sun lit up the two shared bedrooms, three of us in each one. The thin, printed cotton curtains were no match for that kind of light. We were eighteen years old. It was the first weekend of our first semester at university, and we had come to the beach house armed with our readers and highlighters.

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Amy BaillieuAmy Baillieu is Deputy Editor of Australian Book Review. She complet ...

In this week’s ABR podcast we hear from the runner-up of the 2023 Calibre Essay Prize, Bridget Vincent. Calibre judges Yves Rees, Peter Rose and Beejay Silcox praised Bridget Vincent’s ‘Child Adjacent’ for its wryness and compassion. They noted that it broadened our understanding of the family and interrogated the terrors and moral dilemmas of raising children in the climate crisis. Bridget Vincent is a Lecturer in English at the Australian National University. Listen to her reading ‘Child Adjacent’, published in the June issue of ABR.

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I feel like I need to come out every day. I’m pushing the stroller, fishing out the dummy, pointing out dogs, but this isn’t what it looks like. At the playground or the checkout, I take the nods and maternal solidarity, staying inside the parenting illusion until it feels slightly disingenuous. I am not the mother. I am an aunt instead, if ‘instead’ is even the right word. There are categories – infertile, childless by circumstance, childless by choice – and within these, more specific groups like the Birthstrikers, who are publicly delaying procreation until there is climate action. Being an aunt of the Anthropocene is none of these, and all of them at once.

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Sydney writer Tracy Ellis is the winner of the 2023 Calibre Essay Prize. Her name will be very familiar to ABR readers: Tracy won the 2022 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize for her story 'Natural Wonder'. (She is the first person to win both Calibre and the Jolley Prize.)

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When Wheel left his jeans to soak in the bathroom sink one morning, he didn’t notice that the tap wasn’t quite turned off. He went out for the day and while he was gone, a clear, almost invisible, wire-thin needle of liquid continued to flow. It would have looked static, like an icicle, far from voluminous. But it was insistent, continuous. In his absence the trickle turned into a flood. It overflowed the sink and then the bathroom of the third-floor apartment. It crept silently down the hall into the bedroom and the built-in cupboards, blooming inside document boxes in search of absorbent substances. It was drawn through the diaries and notebooks where I, his partner of many years, had documented my adult life. The water seemed to soak my belongings specifically, as if it was coming for me, trying to wash me away. It left tea-coloured tide marks on my charcoal drawings and filled my shoes with puddles in the bottom of the wardrobe.

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Declan FryYves Rees is a Lecturer in History at La Trobe University and autho ...