Contents indexed selectively.
'She’s a writer whose plays have been widely lauded by critics but largely neglected by the mainstream. Now Patricia Cornelius’s work will take its place on the main stage. “It sounds so hifalutin, but my ambition was really just to be able to create great work … that I felt soared. It never entered my mind that it would happen in the mainstream.' (Introduction)
'Rural misery is a mainstay of Australian fiction, and a genre beloved of (usually city-based) prize committees. It’s unsurprising, then, to find this year’s Vogel winner landing squarely in the category. But when a promising 26-year-old writer chooses to present the country in such a nihilistic fashion, the result is dispiriting. Why are urbane Australian writers so focused on unhappiness? Is it born of guilt at growing up in a kind of paradise?' (Introduction)
'Flames, a first novel by the Tasmanian Robbie Arnott, begins with a protagonist, Levi McAllister, observing his mother returning from death, her waist trailing a “peacock tail of vegetation” and her head adorned with “cascading fronds of lawn-coloured maidenhair”. Such reincarnations are common among McAllister women who have been cremated and who, as the narrative comically describes, “all had their own reasons for returning – unfinished business, old grudges, forgotten chores”. Determined to prevent his sister Charlotte from returning when she dies, Levi undertakes the construction of a casket for her, even though she is still young and healthy. Charlotte flees, triggering a surprising story with a definite feminist edge.' (Introduction)
'Axiomatic is the fourth work of nonfiction by Maria Tumarkin, one of Australia’s most urgent and necessary writers, but it is the first to keep her accent – the first to fully register the impolitic intensity of her prose and breadth of her world view. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is also her best.' (Introduction)