March 2016


Watch out! We’re #storybombing Sydney

Expect the unexpected when trees are no longer sacrificed for fiction but enlivened with it; when transparent decals temporarily transform glass and metal surfaces into pages.

Spineless Wonders’ new platform for bringing short Australian stories out into the open air, #storybombing will offer immersive and playful encounters with bite-sized Australian literature through text, voice, audio and visual elements.

For the first of these exciting initiatives we have teamed up with Bettina Kaiser, Dominic Svejkar, Jack McAuley and Richard Holt, who will showcase new and previously published Spineless Wonders’ microliterature.

Sydney is full of stories. We know, we’ll put them there. Stories from city, regional and rural life; stories of addiction, online dating, dogs and dreams, handbags and holdups, mermen, global warming and Phraseo, the rogue editor.

We’re also keen to collaborate with artists, performers, writers as well as low and high tech innovators — so drop us line if you would like to join the #storybombing team or if you have an idea to pitch to us.

Read more about #storybombing.


Record crowd for feminist stories

To celebrate International Women’s Day, a record crowd flocked to Little Fictions@Knox Street Bar on March 14 to hear stories of women who break away, stand their ground and stand by each other.

The evening featured feminism and fabulous fiction from across the nation and was hosted by special guest MC, Hungry Beast and 7.30 Report’s Walkley Award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker, Monique Schafter.

The theme was ‘Vaginal Spray’ and showcased stories by Melbourne writers AS Patric and Libbie Chellew, Canberra-based Felicity Volk, Queensland’s Ariella Van Luyn and Sydney writers Mark O’Flynn and Emma Rose Smith.

The stories were performed by Sydney actors Ella Watson-Russell, Eleni Schumacher, Lauren Neill and Nick Radinoff.

Spineless Wonders asked the Little Fictions audience to name their favourite feminists (and why) and a host of names and reasons were passionately put forward.

A few we particularly liked were:

• Dorothy Hewitt—a maverick Australian author who wrote ahead of her time in SO many genres and who made us think about who we are.

• Ursula Le Guin—defined the feminist sci-fi genre with her book, The Left Hand of Darkness.

• Emily Temple-Wood, who adds female scientists to Wikipedia every time someone sends her internet hate.

• Justin Trudeau for making sure women are represented in the Canadian parliament (50%).

• Emmeline Pankhurst—feisty, courageous, clever and unrelenting. What can modern feminists learn from her? How to take direct action and really mean it. Go girls.

Head over to Little Fictions@Knox Street Bar’s Facebook page to see more and to add your suggestions into the mix.


Bigger Little Fictions? Send yours now

Little Fictions has increased the word count for submissions for its upcoming live shows—ceiling the count at 2,000 words.

Writers keen to have their work performed by experienced actors and to a lively audience of fiction lovers and others now have more words to play with.

We’re looking for previously unpublished works of fiction up to 2,000 words in length in the form of microfiction, microlit, dramatic monologues—in fact, any written form that will enthrall a listening audience.

We want your submissions for this round by May 1, so you’d better get cracking.

Submit your work here.


Interns put publishing know-how into practice

Hands-on publishing experience and putting what they’d learned in editing and publishing classes into practice are cited by Jennifer Leung and Alyssa Hanley as key benefits gained from their internships with Spineless Wonders in 2015.

Jennifer Leung said working alongside Spineless Wonders publisher Bronwyn Mehan meant she ‘learnt a lot about how a small publishing company operates, as she really takes the time both to teach and to listen to new ideas’. Her internship was part of her Masters of Publishing at the University of Sydney. And her work on Panthers and the Museum of Fire and the Michael McGirr Selects series covered a broad range of editorial, promotional and publishing processes.

‘The internship was not only a springboard to other job opportunities but also one that reinforced my decision to pursue a career in publishing,’ Ms Leung said. ‘I’m now working at Puddingburn Publishing Services , which provides editing, indexing, desktop publishing, proofreading and project management services to the publishing industry.’

Alyssa Hanley said she’d bedded down the book publishing business methods she’d learned at university by working with the tight-knit Spineless Wonders team.

Towards the end of her internship, she’d worked on the launch of Jon Steiner’s book The Last Wilkie’s and Other Stories, published last December. As well as assisting with promotion and publicity for the book, she helped produce a video interview panel with the author, editor and a host (in the role of director).

‘Working directly with the publisher and the author enabled a true sense of pride and camaraderie which you simply do not get with a large company,’ she said. ‘I’m still doing my Master’s of Publishing at the University of Sydney and will be finished by the end of this year.’

Ms Hanley is now writing a foreword and introduction to a history of Australian tattooing. She will also headline the Australian Burlesque Festival in mid-2016 and travel to New Zealand to perform.

If you’d like to be a Spineless Wonders intern, please email.

You can also read more about our former interns and their great experiences with us here.


Under review

Jon Steiner’ The Last Wilkie’s and Other Stories reviewed in UTS U:Mag: ‘a collection of stories that subvert expectations’.

Crime Scenes reviewed in Aust Crime: ‘honestly worth queuing for’.

The World To Come in Prachy Review: ‘an anthology that provides the reader with much pleasure and thought’.

Patrick Lenton’s collection A Man Made Entirely of Bats in Newtown Review of Books: ‘the work of an original mind unleashed’.


‘Quote’ unquote

Corby looked over Erin’s shoulder and smiled. ‘Nino! It’s about time.’

Erin turned around. A large man was standing in the doorway. A very large man.

‘Sorry I’m late, boss,’ said Nino. ‘I got these.’ He held up three dead rabbits. Blood dripped softly on the floor. Erin remembered the peculiar taste of the bite of burger she’d taken and her stomach heaved.

‘Very good, Nino. Just leave them on the prep table. Victor will take care of them. I have something I need you to do.’ He levelled his gaze at Erin. ‘Would you excuse me for a moment?’

Corby sidled past Erin out of the office and pulled Nino into a storage room where they began a hushed conversation.

Erin tried to calculate her chances of making it to the front of the restaurant and out the door before they could catch her. But even if she got out the door, she wouldn’t necessarily be home free.

‘The Last Wilkie’s’ by John Steiner, published in The Last Wilkie’s and Other Stories, Spineless Wonders, 2015.



The winner of February’s competition, telling us which Spineless Wonders publication was longlisted for this year’s Stella Prize (A: Jen Craig’s Panthers and the Museum of Fire), was Kate Lilley.

Crime Scenes, recently launched by Spineless Wonders, has been described by Australian author Marele Day as ‘A gripping ensemble of dark delights.’ To win a copy of Crime Scenes, tell us in 20 words or less what crime show you love most and why? (Don’t be shy. Author/singer Patti Smith loves Cracker, The Killing, Whitechapel and A Touch of Frost …)


Dates for your diary

Spineless Wonders’ Bronwyn Mehan hopes to see you at the Newcastle Writers’ Festival, April 1-3, for the launch of Crime Scenes, a collection of short crime fiction, with special guest Barry Maitland. She’ll also participate in ‘Short and Sweet: The art of microlit’, a panel discussion and presentation of short-listed microlit competition entries and the announcement of the winner. She’ll also catch up with Carmel Bird. You can purchase Bird’s My Hearts are Your Hearts and Dear Writer … Revisited from Spineless Wonders to augment your participation in her Masterclass or even if you missed out on a space.

March 20 - Noted Independent Publishing Fair 2016, Canberra 10am-4pm.
April 1 - Carmel Bird Masterclass, Newcastle Writers Festival (sold out).
April 2 - Short crime panel and launch of Crime Scenes, Newcastle Writers Festival (free event).
April 2 - Microlit Panel and ‘Liminal’ writing comp winner announcedNewcastle Writers Festival (free event).
April 11 - Little Fictions @ Knox St Bar, ‘Life Lessons’, 7pm.


Sluglines is prepared by Marjorie and Stephen from You Need a Writer.