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The Great Unknown Edited by Angela Meyer

In this anthology, our editor, Angela Meyer, pays tribute to the undeniable cultural influence that American TV programs such as Twilight Zone and Outer Limits have had on our lives ‘down under’. ‘These TV dramas,’ Meyer says, ‘ were often metaphors for equality, justice, the nuclear threat and more. Though they were just as often pure, spooky fun.’ Meyer has selected short stories and microfiction which range from the fantastical and macabre to the absurd. In Paddy O’Reilly’s Reality TV, a guest is confronted with her husband’s infidelity in front of a live audience and Ali Alizedah’s Truth and Reconciliation satirizes American celebrity television. Chris Flynn’s Sealer’s Cove has a nudist caught in a time slip. Carmel Bird evokes Edgar Allan Poe when over-sized hares incite the good folk of rural Victoria to commit criminal acts and in Sticks and Stones, Ryan O’Neill has an academic attacked by a demonic alphabet.

Released July 2013 PB, 250pp 203 x 133 $27.99 9780987447937

Contributors include established and emerging writers such as Marion Halligan, Krissy Kneen as well as new talents.

Angela Meyer is a Melbourne-based writer and reviewer. Her fiction has been published in Seizure, Wet Ink, The Lifted Brow. She has written on books for many publications including The Big Issue, The Australian, and Crikey and she has interviewed authors at festivals across Australia and overseas. A chapbook of her flash fiction will be published by Inkerman & Blunt in 2014.


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Dear Writer ... Revisited by Carmel Bird

‘Carmel Bird has updated her brilliant guide to those who are perplexed by writing. Dear Writer Revisited is a dazzling, humane and witty book which will be enlightening for anyone who picks it up, however experienced she or he may be. This is a classic account of how to write. I know of nothing that equals it.’ PETER CRAVEN This book about writing and the imagination is essential reading for any writer, emerging or experienced. Re-released with new material and updated advice for the 21st writer.

Released October 2013 PB, 150pp 203 x 133 $24.99 9780987447968

‘‘I first read Dear Writer as a nervy, secretive scribbler-in-journals 20 years ago. Reading this revised version I’m struck again by its practical generosity on technical matters - but am also inspired by the deeper, more complex conversations I think I missed in those early readings: about courage, about the urgency and mystery and self-discovery of the writing process. Dear Writer Revisited may masquerade – convincingly – as a book for beginners, but its lessons are mature and wise.’ —CHARLOTTE WOOD The Writer’s Room Interviews

‘Dear Writer Revisted is warm and nudging, firm and affirming.’ ANGELA MEYER

Carmel Bird is a primarily a writer of fiction. Her first collection of short stories was published in 1983, since when she has published novels, essays, anthologies, and also books on how to write.


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White Light by Mark O’Flynn

‘O’Flynn’s faultless ear for laconic Aussie parlance, his wry ability to turn a story in a moment from comedy to tragedy and back again, his exhilaratingly deft range...all this makes him one of a kind, in my opinion. A hugely enjoyable collection.’ CATE KENNEDY

In White Light, a single mother seeks refuge in a religious cult, a young girl hijacks road machinery as her family sleeps and a marriage feels threatened by the arrival of a well-travelled ex-lover. O’Flynn illuminates the ordinary, noting with humour and with generosity, the challenges and puzzles life throws at us all. His characters delight, his language never ceases to surprise. An accomplished poet and playwright, O’Flynn here turns his hand to linked short stories, microfictions and monologues. With the skill of a ventriloquist, he conjures Shakespeare’s Iago, an illiterate inmate, Banjo, and a famous Australian poet stuck on a transcontinental train. The result is a heady and highly entertaining mix of wordplay, philosophical ruminations and astute social observation.

Released July 2013 PB, 150pp 203 x 133 $22.99 9780987447975 Book design by Bettina Kaiser Mark O’Flynn’s short stories, articles, reviews and poems have appeared in a wide range of journals and magazines both here and overseas including Australian Book Review, Heat, Westerly, Meanjin, Southerly, Island, Overland, New Australian Stories (Scribe) and Best Australian Stories (Black Inc). O’Flynn’s latest novel, The Forgotten World (2013) is published by Fourth Estate/HarperCollins Australia. SPINELESSWONDERS PRINT DIGITAL AUDIO

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Stoned Crows & other Australian icons an anthology of prose poems & microfiction Edited by Linda Godfrey and Julie Chevalier ‘Sharp-edged, peculiar splinters of prose’ JOHN TRANTER What do our best wordsmiths have to say about Australian icons? This anthology takes a fresh look at everything from the HIH collapse to crocs, Margaret Olley, bush burials and the ABC. We visit a postapocalyptic Opera House and spend Saturday night in downtown Byron Bay. Tones range from nostalgic to sceptical, from wry to LOL.

‘Sometimes serious, sometimes humorous, provocative, self-reflective and selfsatirising, nostalgic, angry, sad, poetic and personal, realist and stream of consciousness, this collection is above all a celebration of the many things Australia can mean to us.’ NEWTOWN REVIEW OF BOOKS Released March 2013 PB, 130pp 203 x 133 $22.99 9780987447906 Book design by Bettina Kaiser

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Lives of the Dead by Jane Skelton

‘Jane Skelton shows a fine literary talent.’ HELEN BARNES-BULLEY Literary Program Manager, VARUNA.

In this short story collection, travellers on highways and trains are preoccupied with the lives of the dead, with lost children or with parents. A woman searches a suburban deadland for her missing mother. A rural family struggles on a land that fails to sustain them. A young man’s attempt to leave the strictures of family life ends in violence. Jane Skelton writes cool prose about hot landscapes, about characters seeking relief from strong emotions, about characters whose lives are tied up, inextricably, with the Australian landscape.

‘Written with the precision of poetry.’ BARBARA BROOKS

Released February, 2013 PB, 150 pp 203 x 133 $22.99 9780987254689 Photographs by Michelle Garrett


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PRAISE FOR JANE SKELTON ‘Jane Skelton’s earth eaters is an outstanding piece of writing. A naturalistic portrayal of country life in a tough environment, an isolated country area, combined with elements of the Gothic, playing with the earthiness of farm life – cows vulvas, bull’s balls, dog shit – and the supernatural – ghosts of the earth eaters. Sex, birth, death, sickness violence, sexual molestation, eccentricity, strangeness, all handled with clarity and compassion ... the language and description have the precision of poetry – concrete, visceral, one could say earthy. The Gothic is set against a laconic Australian country understatement.’ —BARBARA BROOKS, writer & academic ‘Jane Skelton’s command of tone and language is excellent. The effect of striking metaphors and vivid metaphors in the midst of the generally quite flat, straightforward prose is like the effect of the dead, dry landscape which is nevertheless alive with its own meanings; and the house which is animate with its secret history.’ —DELYS BIRD, academic, editor, Westerly ‘An intelligent, engagingly written and thought-provoking work ... absorbing.’ —DR BRONWEN LEVY, University of Qld, on Jane Skelton’s novel manuscript, 1983. ‘ ... a talent to watch.’ —WALTER MASON, The Universal Heart Book Club Jane Skelton has published short fiction in a range of literary journals and anthologies over the past 20 years, including in Hecate, Island Magazine, Australian Short Stories, Overland, Going Down Swinging, Hobo, Hidden Hands, Idiom, and Telling Ways: Australian Women’s Experimental Writing. Her novel ‘earth eaters’ was a winner in the 2010 LitLink Unpublished Manuscript awards. In 2006 she was the recipient of a Literature Board (Australia Council) grant which had assisted her in completing ‘earth eaters’. She has since completed another novel, ’1983’. Jane works in the non-government community sector in western Sydney and lives in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

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Damaged in Transit by Mary Manning

‘Mary Manning takes her stories to places few writers would dare to go. She ranges across different styles with ease in a unique voice that is tart, tight and compulsively readable.’ PADDY O’REILLY

In these seventeen stories, Melbourne writer, Mary Manning, looks at the ways people are shaped, or damaged, by their circumstances. The results may sometimes be humorous, sometimes tragic. Whether set on a tram, along a highway or on an outback road?it is the journey, the characters and the telling of the tale that will capture your attention.

‘Manning renders everyday scenes unfamiliar through unusual characters and their actions.’ BOOKSELLER + PUBLISHER Released Oct, 2012 PB, 150 pp 203 x 133 $22.99 9780987254603 Illustrated by Paden Hunter

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Review by Jennifer Mills There are writers who look outward, observing the world around them, chroniclers of their times. Then there are those who look inward, exploring their own mind, often drawing on the subconscious. Damaged in Transit, with its interplay of public and intimate realms, is a collection that seeks to do both. In ‘Traffic Island’, the first of these stories, Flora, an elderly woman, becomes stuck on the median strip of a busy road while attempting her shopping. Huge trucks roar past. Flora settles in for the long haul. This image of a small person dwarfed by the rhythms of urban life and yet persisting in her own eccentric course could be an animated Jeffrey Smart painting. In Manning’s hands it’s half humour and half sorrow. Like many of these surreal tales, the drama hovers between the banal and the outrageous. As if her own voice was barely audible over the traffic, Manning has restrained herself to easy, conversational prose in most of these short pieces, giving an illusion of simplicity and a suggestion of intimacy. With a few exceptions, notably the creepy stalker tale ‘The Painter’, most of these stories are in first person, and Manning’s characters tend to be ingénues. The prose may be unassuming, but the interplay of banal problems with questions more absurd and surreal hints at a hidden depth. One advantage that short stories have is their ability to undermine their own illusion. A short story can switch its logic very quickly, pull the rug out from under a reader’s feet. While many of her characters inhabit a version of Australian suburbia, and seem focused on interpersonal conflicts played out in ordinary places, there is almost always something strange going on, a not-quite-hereness that upends the real. It’s Manning’s weirder stories that more

fully exploit the potential of the form and of her style. In many of her stories, hints of the sacred are concealed within the tale like a nut, but trapped within the shell of each bumbling individual, not quite ready to break through. This often has upsetting consequences. ‘Baby Shower’ has strong overtones of Elizabeth Jolley, that master of repressed impulses: Manning’s misbehaving woman wreaks hilarious havoc on social propriety, her laughter small redemption for an unhappy life. Other influences are more explicitly honoured, for example in a story called ‘Reading Murakami’ which features cats and airports – a story which doesn’t quite work, but pays its dues in terms of evoking the popular flat-affect mystic. Manning chases a dream logic throughout, and readers of this collection are compelled to follow. It is sometimes impossible to tell if her characters are telling you fibs, like Amazon Man, who might have swum the length of that river, or could simply be trapped in exotic delusions. ‘It suits my international lifestyle to live in this caravan,’ he says, reminding us of glamour’s double meaning. ... For all her missteps and loose ends, Manning’s odd, off-kilter world is strangely addictive, and her images will leave an impression precisely because they refuse definition.

Mary Manning is a writer of short stories, poetry and educational books. Her stories have been awarded in the Victorian Fellowship of Writers and published in Eureka Street, Slippery When Wet and Gathering Force. Her poetry has been published in Small City Tales of Strangeness and Beauty and awarded in the Reason-Brisbane Poetry Competition and by the Melbourne Poets’ Union.She has taught in primary and secondary schools, adult workshops, the Diploma of Professional and online classes.

Fault Lines

by Pierz Newton-John

‘A startling collection…sly humour and memorable characters.’ CHRIS WOMERSLEY

What does it take to make a man? The short stories of Pierz Newton John move through the full range of masculine experience, with an openness, not afraid to show men at their most lonely, sexual, loving, sometimes vulnerable, sometimes abusive. Tender moments between father and son, first sexual experiences and what men feel and think about women.

Released February, 2012 PB, 182 pp 203 x 133 $22.99 9780987089762 Illustrated by Paden Hunter

‘Fault Lines returns the grit to the Australian literary landscape.’ MATTHEW CONDON

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IT comes as no surprise to learn that Melbourne writer Pierz Newton-John, author of the appropriately titled Fault Lines, a debut collection of short stories, was once a psychotherapist. As an observer of the human condition he is compassionate, curious and insightful: these beautifully written stories about lives in trauma and transition might well have come straight from the couch. Newton-John seems particularly occupied with the question of what it means to be male. There are stories here about men on the make, men suffering the disappointment of broken dreams, men passionately loving their children, small boys being cruel to other small boys, teenage boys and violence, teenage boys and sex, teenage boys and love. There is tenderness, there is humour and there is barely contained rage. There is a lot of selfmedication. There is also a fantastically memorable scene in which a full-sized crocodile is freed from a glass tank in a suburban back yard in Melbourne, a classic sting-in-the-tail at the end of a remarkable piece of short writing. In this story, Croc, NewtonJohn executes an act of great empathy, writing from the point of view of a runaway girl (it’s not an entirely male-oriented collection) whose rebellion takes her to a frightening place. The quiet terror of a girl-woman being so far in over

her head is perfectly, heartbreakingly captured. Elsewhere is the crushing banality of suburban life, students going off the rails, teenagers alienated from their families, relationships going wrong. Only one story is a surprise in this landscape of Australian suburban stories: Comrade Vasilii Goes to War encapsulates the absurd futility of war on the border between the fictional Ozakhstan and Uzekhstan, and the soldiers who command the outposts there. As with the best short stories, indelible images are left on the brain: a teenage boy, convinced he his dying from melanoma, falls crying to the bathroom floor in the arms of a girl he barely knows; two Jewish boys and a Alsatian defend themselves against a racial attack; a little boy who loves birds is forced to kill a baby magpie; a father takes his young son on a holiday to break the news of divorce. Newton-John treads along these fault lines like a guide, showing us the points where one may fall through the cracks. He does so with a professional listener’s ear for dialogue and with a big heart. If nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors in suburbia, then in this collection of stories Newton-John unflinchingly throws the doors open. The scenes he finds and describes are not always pretty, but they are startlingly illuminated by a promising new talent in Australian literature.

In addition to being a writer, Pierz Newton-John is a former psychotherapist and father. His stories have appeared extensively in Australian literary journals and anthologies including Meanjin, Overland, New Australian Stories, KillYour Darlings andThe Sleepers Almanac. He won the Alan Marshall Award in 2008.

The Rattler & other stories by A.S. Patrić

‘Spare and taut, sometimes shocking, yet always deeply and satisfyingly tender. A great collection.’ P.A. O’REILLY, The Colour of Rust

This entertaining collection includes a romp of a novella called The Rattler, as well as short stories and micro fictions all set in and around contemporary Melbourne. Includes narrative experiments such as BOMBS, an oblique look at terrorism, to more playful pieces such as ‘Ducks’, which imagines Anais Nin and June Miller living in Elwood. Sometimes serious, sometimes seriously playful– always written in breathtakingly beautiful prose– these stories uncover the heartbreaking tragedies, slow-burning emotions and serendipity of ordinary lives.

Released October 2011 PB, 160 pp 203 x 133 $22.99 9780987089724 Illustrated by Miles Allinson

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Alec Patric, co-editor of the increasingly influential online literary journal, Verity La, is a St Kilda writer and bookseller and his home city of Melbourne features strongly in this collection, especially in the title story. The Rattler is a about a rogue tram driver who wants to be a writer. In these stories, Patric specializes in taking the familiar and making it strange, often through the eyes of a character who is somehow alienated. The stories are not exactly metafictions, nor are

they magic realism; but they have qualities of both. The characters are the wives and husbands, the drifters and workers, the lovers and immigrants and children of Melbourne that John Morrison and other social realists wrote about so movingly and Patric retains the tenderness and empathy of that era in stories wit a sharp contemporary edge of uncertainty and strangeness.


‘Enough gems among the 17 stories to impress any short-fiction enthusiast seeking a fresh and vibrant new voice.’ David Cohen, writer and bookseller.

Alec Patric is a St Kilda bookseller and writer whose short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals. He co-edits Verity La, described as ‘the increasingly influential online literary journal’ by SMH critic, Kerryn Goldsworthy . In 2011, he won the Ned Kelly’s SD Harvey Award for his crime story, ‘Las Vegas for Vegans’ and The Booranga Prize for Short Fiction.

PERMISSION TO LIE by Julie Chevalier

A new voice in Australian fiction, wry, gritty, knowing and true.’ FIONA MCGREGOR Indelible Ink A collection of short stories set in places as diverse as a nudist colony, the corporate world and prison. Beneath her quirky humour and snappy style, Chevalier brings insight and empathy to her depiction of contemporary Australian life and to growing up in America. One woman’s holiday flight is intruded upon by an unaccompanied child, another is left with her dead husband’s elderly father to care for. How far will a wealthy, manipulative couple go to compensate for a childless marriage? Who can be trusted in the prison world? Whether in McCarthy’s America or in comtemporary Sydney, Chevalier’s characters are drawn with honesty, humour and compassion.

Released April 2011 PB, 160 pp 203 x 133 $22.99 9780987089700 Illustrated by Paden Hunter

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Australian short stories with global reach “The incidents that serve as catalysts for the stories in Julie Chevalier’s debut collection Permission to Lie are steeped in unflinching realism rather than fable, but are nonetheless compelling and complex in equal measure. A young writer living as a developer’s mistress in the opening story accuses the narrator of the second story, a 40-something executive who uses her vocational counselling diary to chronicle the real and imaginary lives of her fellow bus passengers, of stealing “her” characters. Seven of the stories are loosely gathered around themes of imprisonment and freedom, beginning with a boy’s home on the NSW central coast, and ending with one foot on the road to re-addiction for a newly released inmate of Sydney’s Long Bay jail. In between, through shifting narrators, perspectives and prose styles, we meet Kynon,

a recent graduate from boys’ home to adult prison, Wanda the prison psychologist, Cathie the education officer and Gav the inmate clerk. These stories, and Chevalier’s detailed portraits of her cast of wary yet surprisingly open characters, highlight the ways in which relationships of power and vulnerability operate in a state of flux, and how suddenly we can become needful – of shelter, of privacy, of understanding, of real human connections. When this switch is flicked, Chevalier’s characters, just like the rest of us, occasionally need permission to lie, to themselves and to others. I look forward to meeting whichever characters Chevalier might next introduce me to.” Reviewed by Josh Mei-Ling Dubrau Weekend Australian Review, Aug 13-14, 2011


Chevalier’s stories are terse, angular and intense as they work their way past your defences. Some characters reappear from different points of view. The prison stories are particularly poignant. This collection details the yearning, the loneliness and the small hopes of our modern lives. Mark Rossiter, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


‘… engaging reading. There is also a genuine satisfaction to be derived from the interconnections between stories within each sequence which is reminiscent of Alice Munro’s short story cycles ..’ Selena Samuels, Julie Chevalier has worked as a prison educator, home school liaison officer, librarian and waitress. She grew up in New Jersey and has spent her adult life in England and Australia. She currently lives in Sydney where she is an artist, poet and writer. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in Antipodes, Southerly and has been broadcast on ABC Radio. In 2011, one of the jail stories from Permission To Lie, ‘That Awful Brew’, was included in Best Australian Stories.


an anthology of short Australian stories ed Bronwyn Mehan The thinking person’s escapist reading. ESCAPE has unexpected tales of contemporary life, comedy, tragedy, mystery, romance, sci fi, dystopian fantasy, a homage to David Foster Wallace and lots more. All served with a good dose of quirky and a fine turn of phrase. If you like your genres with a bit of edge, you’ll love this diverse collection of stories from Spineless Wonders. Features award-winning writers such as Ryan O’Neill, Jen Mills, Andy Kissane, Louise Swinn, Julie Chevalier, A.S. Patrić and Kim Westwood as well as stories chosen by Sophie Cunningham in the inaugural Carmel Bird Short Fiction Award.

Released December 2011 PB, 294 pp 203 x 133 $27.99 9780987089748 Illustrated by Paden Hunter

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Small Wonder

an anthology of prose poems & microfiction ed Linda Godfrey, Julie Chevalier ‘A treasure trove.’


Here are short and clever pieces by 30 contemporary Australian writers on topics ranging from the eroticism of mash potato, parenting as magic realism and a tongue-incheek history of the Cyclops bicycle. Each one is a creative blast straight from ‘brain stem to pen’ with ideas and insights that will blow your mind. Includes award-winning writers Michael Farrell, Keri Glastonbury, Judith Beveridge and Peter Boyle. Features prose poems and microfiction selected by competition judge, joanne burns.

Released May 2012 PB, 128 pp 203 x 133 $22.99 9780987089786 Illustrated by Paden Hunter


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White Light

Mark O’Flynn



Lives of the Dead

Jane Skelton



Damaged in Transit

Mary Manning



Fault Lines

Pierz Newton‐John



A.S. Patrić



The Rattler & other Stories Permission to Lie

Julie Chevalier



The Great Unknown

Edited by Angela Meyer




Edited by Bronwyn Mehan




ANTHOLOGIES – short stories

ANTHOLOGIES – prose poems/microfiction


Stoned Crows & other Australian icons

Ed, Julie Chevalier & Linda Godfrey



Small Wonder

Ed, Linda Godfrey & Julie Chevalier


Carmel Bird




Dear Writer Revisited



Showcasing the best in Australian short fiction and prose poems.

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