"For five of us over the last week, life’s been defined by the chug-and-whir of digital copiers sucking in page after page of reject literature. With the support of the State Library of Victoria’s Storage and Digital Collection Services, a small group of volunteers has been digitising a portion of the archive relating to Australian literary magazines. Edmund La Touche Armstrong, Chief Librarian from 1896-1925 after working his way up from junior assistant, championed a policy of archiving unofficial as well as official culture. His vision meant that from the 1940s until the late 1990s, the SLV stored not just the printed magazines like Meanjin, Southerly and Quadrant, but all the submissions as well. As I suggested in earlier posts, finding this rejected material is akin to tapping the unconscious of the country’s literary culture."
"The Kanganoulipo, an experimental writing collective that has been described as “the most exciting, audacious and talented group of authors to emerge in this country in the last hundred years”, owes its existence to the life and works of Arthur ruhtrA (1940-1982). ruhtrA (born Arthur Robinson) came to be known as “Australia’s one man literary avant garde”, and was the author of several books across a range of forms and genres, including Grosswords (1964), Waterworks (1965), The Possessive S (1974) and most famously, the novel-length lipogram Long Time No See (1973)." Read more in About Us.
'What I'm reading' – Julie Koh in Meanjin: "I always struggle to enjoy New Year’s Eve. The prospect of welcoming 2017 was especially unappealing—I was still trying to get over some rather cruel feedback that my favourite writing teacher had sent me about my entire body of fiction. Nevertheless, I dragged myself out to a literary party at a bar in Northcote that used to be an abandoned warehouse. The group bonding activity at the party entailed assembling in a circle and patting each other on the back." Read on...
Bush Tart and Mallarmé's Pupil at Perth Writers' Festival: Julie Koh spoke about these new releases at the PWF edition of Literary Death Match.
Fans of Bush Tart and Mallarmé's Pupil:
'Everything's ... fine' – Julie Koh at the Emerging Writers’ Festival program launch, Melbourne
Julie was asked to speak about what fuels her writing, no matter the obstacles.
'Lunch with Julie Koh' – Jane Rawson in Overland: "‘Of course it’s notable that I was probably the first Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist to have never written a novel,’ Koh notes wryly as the waiter delivers our Swiss Malts and Koh asks for the fifth or sixth time whether I’m definitely paying for lunch." Read on...
Robert Skinner, Eric Yoshiaki Dando, Julie Koh and Patrick Lenton at Noted Festival lecturing punters on the role of the LOL. Photo by Jeffrey D. Phillips, the illustrator we generally keep in the basement.
Read more here.
"I migrated to Australia in 2005 with my knowledge of the country’s literature shamefully limited to one novel, Marcus Clarke’s For the Term of his Natural Life, which I finished, with unconscious, heavy-handed symbolism, as the plane touched down in Sydney. In the ensuing years I’ve tried to read as many Australian books as I could, though in practice I read more short-story collections than anything else.
However, the three books that have come to represent Australia to me are not short-story collections, although they are so little read and so critically ignored they may as well be. I stumbled on them in my first 18 months in the country, not yet aware of what constituted the ‘Australian canon’, or even if there was one. For better or worse, when I think of Australia, I think of these books." Read on...
In June 2017, Meanjin reprinted Maud Hepplestone’s Songs Of The Kookaburra, a vanished treasure brought back to public attention by O'Neill.
"Reading a review of Ryan O’Neill’s Their Brilliant Careers published in The Saturday Paper, I felt like a bobble-headed Jesus giving thumbs up from the dash of an old bomb with shot suspension, nodding vigorously in concurrence: here was a great, (un)ashamedly Australian metafictional satire; a page turner in the sense that each of its vignettes rollick along at a compelling speed, but also because its intricate web of self-referentialism will have you thumbing back-and-forth through pages, dog-earing, marking margins, triple-checking half-made connections, hanging red twine from thumb-tacks holding bumf to walls…" Read on...
Issue 1: Amy's Twin by Jane Rawson & The Magicians by Wayne Marshall
Issue 2: Rimbaud: A Shorter Life by John A Scott & Happy Smiling Underwear Girls Party by Elizabeth Tan
Issue 3: Bob Dylan's Last Interview by Patrick Allington & Control Variable by Patrick Lenton
Issue 4: Cheever's Unreliable Narrator by Patrick Cullen & Solidarity Grid by Nic Low
Issue 5: The Author Haunted by his own Creations by Marcus Clarke & Readings from the IMDBible by Dave Drayton
Issue 6: Apocalypse for Harp and Voice by Julie Koh & All the Little Deaths when we Killed our Darlings by Eric Yoshiaki Dando
View all issues here.
In December, Julie Koh announced the winner of Kanganoulipo's inaugural Paradox Prize, recognising the best unrecognised book of the previous year. Read the disastrous transcript in the Autumn issue of Meanjin.