Posts Tagged ‘literary magazines’

Hrrlorrrrrr. (This is actually how I say hello.) A few things:

1. My friend (I say this advisedly, because I have it on authority he’s shortly planning to humiliate me in some way) Chris Flynn is the publisher of Torpedo, an independent fiction quarterly. Due to the prohibitive costs of publishing a print journal, he’s taken the plunge and decided to make Torpedo an electronic journal going forward. It is now the first Australian magazine/journal to be available on the Kindle, and only the second in the world to be so.

If you have a Kindle, an iPhone or a even just a plain ol’ computer, you can download any or every issue of Torpedo straight away. Pretty exciting shizzle. I’m looking forward to having a play.

2. I wrote an article about the Australian Publishers Association internship program for Bookseller + Publisher magazine‘s March issue, the second issue produced under Angela Meyer’s editorship. Go forth and inspect it dubiously.

3. On my way home today, I listened to the Joan Juliet Buck episode of The Moth, in which she describes living in a haunted apartment on Paris’s Rue Jacob. I am pretty sure I can hear the strains of Michael Bolton coming from somewhere, and now I am scared that my house is haunted by Michael Bolton. Or that someone in my family has poor music taste. Whichever.

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February 3, 2010

My fatal flaw is clearly an inability to walk into bookshops without goddamn buying everything. Try writing a play of interest about that, Bill Shakespeare. Actually, I did exercise some restraint. I managed to leave a couple of choice tomes licking their paws, crying that no one will ever love them. But this supposed wallet-back-in-pocket move was of no real comfort, because I laid some scrilla down on a pair of black knee-length riding boots not an hour later. Enthusiastic praying at the altar of consumer patron saint Carrie Bradshaw? Nooo, not me.

Fascinated (or perhaps bored) to see Tim Winton top the ol’ ‘Favourite Australian novel’ (FAN) poll in ABR with Cloudstreet. I read that book when I was too young to appreciate it, and I have not yet persuaded to revisit – two companions on my holidays in Sri Lanka turned the pages so slowly and reluctantly I could’ve sworn the book had dead flies between the pages. But Winton’s Breath was in the top ten, too, at number 4. Now that is a Winton book I can get behind. Until I read Breath, I don’t think I had a FAN. And I’m still not quite sure of the criteria I applied to reach that conclusion. What does make a ‘favourite Australian novel’? Favourite novel you can thrust in a foreigner’s face and say, ‘This is Australia?’ Highly dubious concept, too reductionist. Enthralling portrayal of la vie Australienne, breath of the wattle and all that? Snoretown. Favourite novel written by an Australian? It probably is just that, at that. Breath gave my viscera a bit of a ride, and it’s rather amazing in many ways.

Anyway, I’m surprised as anyone that I have a FAN. Do you have one? Do you think it’s a useful concept?

Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: AN EXPRESS MEDIA PUBLICATION. ‘CLASSIC’ ISSUE. VERY GOOD, COVER TEAR UPPER RIGHT QUAD, GIFT QUALITY. Slight separation and fold between cardboard layers in bottom right quad. Ed.: Bel Monypenny. Contents include pieces by 2009 winners The John Marsden Prize for Young Australian Writers 2009. Inscription from Nam Le to Estelle Tang reads: ‘To Estelle – If you really [underlined] wanted to meet me – why are you fleeing/flying?’ and signature. Upper right quad. First printing. Front hinge is cracked. Gloss card cover with white and red lettering on spine. Black boards with gold lettering on the spine. Off-white pages and brown print. The text is clean and intact. Flush cut pages. Binding is PAPER BACK. DATE PUBLISHED: 2009. 210 x 297 mm.

Bookseller Inventory # 150098

Bookseller contact: 3000 BOOKS

December 15, 2009

Voiceworks is launching its ‘Classic’ issue this Saturday (which my friend Maddie Crofts is in!). This is terrible news, because Nam Le is launching the magazine, and while he is doing so, I will be on a plane to Sri Lanka. How am I supposed to solicit an inscription from him in a witty yet elegant way while I am employed thus? Luckily, I don’t stalk writers.

Except for George Dunford, whom I heartily congratulate on his being longlisted for the CAL Scribe Fiction Prize.

December 14, 2009


Okay, astute and exacting readers, it is Monday, and this isn’t a book post. So sue me. I went to the Meredith Music Festival over the weekend, and I’m lucky to still have a face, let alone be able to carve up some literary criticism for you right here. Fortunately, the good people at harvest magazine are less dissolute than I, and Issue 4 of the world’s most beautiful literary journal is out. One of my favourite local poets, Maxine Clarke, is in there, writing on black rights and bell jeans; Evie Wyld is in there, talking about her incredible debut novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice; Michael Sala, Ainslee Meredith and Jasmina Krupic are all in there. All of these people are winners at life. I’m also in there, cutting a dash about being a reader who writes. And if one issue just isn’t enough, harvest has a cracker of a deal whereby you can purchase every issue of harvest ever produced for $50. So, get to it, and while you’re there, could you get me a copy, because my arms hurt too much from a full weekend of my favoured dance move: the wu-pump.

July 27, 2009

The should-be-chuffed-with-themselves folks at The Lifted Brow kindly sent me a copy of Issue 5 to review on SYN. But five minutes is not enough, really, to discuss such an ambitious publication. I’m actually quite embarrassed because I think my review consisted purely of positive, undescriptive adjectives. But that’s the me + radio equation for you. So onward we go.

The Lifted Brow is a strange chimera of a publication. I hesitate to call it a magazine or a book, being in shape more like a book, and in internal presentation/submission selection more like a literary magazine. Not that it matters either way, but I will probably vacillate between the two terms. Its contents are diverse, though not as uncategorisable as the publication itself: on the Brow‘s pages you can find ample examples of non-fiction, fiction and poetry, and for bonus points there’s a play and an attached CD containing a 77-minute long ‘epic rhyming sci-fi audio drama’. I must admit I haven’t listened to it in its entirety. I can’t remember the last time I sat down for 77 minutes, or even 20 minutes, though, so that’s my bad.

The writing is the usual literary magazine mix — not everything will appeal to everyone. While I thought all the material was of a high standard, generally, the most helpful taxonomy for me is the divide between ‘what if’ writing and ‘it is’ writing. What I mean by this is, respectively, writing that comes from an interesting place of curious conjecture but doesn’t quite manage to shake off its excogitated feel; and writing that seamlessly transports me from my own inner life to another already-existing awareness of emotion and event. Literary fiction is difficult to execute, and this isn’t a blanket criticism of the former: not everyone feels the same about style as I do. But when the gentle flutter of my usual literary magazine reading attention settles down intently, I know I’ve found ‘it is’ writing.

For me, there were two shining examples of ‘it is’ fiction writing in the Brow. Chris Currie’s ‘In the Oldest Way’, about a man who has escaped to Ireland to nurse heartbreak, was consummate writing: tense, fragile, perfectly measured. It proves the benefits of practice — Currie wrote a short story every day on his website Furious Horses. Bryce Wolfgang Joiner has two pieces in the magazine, the first of which is an unsettling, unsettled Full-Metal-Jacket style detailing the transition of soldiers to the psychiatric ward. But his second, ‘Chainsaw’, a first-person narrative in a kind of working-class Australian argot, stuck in my throat. Use of vernacular in stories is contentious (see Zora Neale Hurston) but it’s consistent and assured here. ‘Chainsaw’ proposes the violent velocity amounting from the equation of resentment plus misimagination. Further, Joiner invests people on either side of the deforestation controversy with so much humanity that morality looms in the background like a plateau throughout the whole.

There’s some international content, too. Tao Lin and Ellen Kennedy, representing the banal post-nihilist fiction crew, have poetry and a short story in here, lyrical examples of a niche genre I am particularly fond of. The non-fiction is fantastic: I read an article by Tim O’Neil about comics. Really, I did, and I liked it. There’s also a maths column about knots, which I didn’t understand at all. But it comes with a piece of string — cute!

The Brow‘s mindful capacity to stimulate is pretty wonderful. I think it does the literary landscape a favour, picking and choosing as it does premier examples of work by emerging writers from Australia and beyond. Blending the local stuff with international material didn’t bother me at all, because it’s all very good, and if you can increase the market for Australian writing by increasing potential sales areas, you should. Subscribe, submit or buy at The Lifted Brow.