August-September 2016

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We’ve got you covered … so pick your single

Spineless Wonders is proud to be re-releasing—with brand new covers—its series of 12 beautifully written digital long stories selected by award-winning Australian author, Amanda Lohrey.

Alex Catterall explains more about the series and where to buy the stories, which are only $0.99 cents each.

Behind each cover lurks a story

‘Sometimes it seems like women writers are expected to tell women’s stories, and women’s stories only, but the most important question for a woman writer when deciding on subject matter should be what inspires her.’
Erin Gough, Sydney author

The Amanda Lohrey Selects series is dedicated to exceptionally talented women, allowing them to fill the voids and silences encountered throughout their histories. Their stories are not necessarily about women, but they are the imaginations and impressions of women as finalist Erin Gough reminds us.

Behind each cover in this series lurks a story and what inspires these women is remarkable; a nun dying of cancer who struggles between beliefs and her desire to experience life before it’s too late, a man trapped in a woman’s body makes a bold and life altering decision, and the electric anticipation that carries Samuel through to his first canyon jump in the dead of night is pure and unspoilt joy.

This series showcases the fruits of 11 finalists for the Spineless Wonders’ Carmel Bird Award, established in 2011. The award is named after one of Australia’s leading authors of short stories, editor, creative writing teacher and long-time advocate of short fiction in all its forms. ‘Competitions such as this have always been very important to new writers,’ says Carmel Bird. ‘They give a time-frame. They provide a kind of excitement and hope. They give the story a destination and a validation.’

The winners and finalists are offered monetary prizes and the opportunity to be published in print, digital or audio platforms. In 2012, The Carmel Bird Award took the form of a long story competition for works between 4,000 to 10,000 words and was open only to women writers. The judge was Amanda Lohrey, recipient of the Patrick White Literary Award. In 2014, the series, which includes stories by men and women, was selected by award-winning writer, teacher and scholar of Australian literature, Michael McGirr.

Why the need for a women’s only award?

Spineless Wonders acknowledges the inequalities experienced by women writers in the Australian literary scene and supports recent efforts by the many commentators and organisations, particularly The Stella Prize, which is working to raise the profile of women writers and their writing. Our decision to designate the 2012 Carmel Bird Award for women writers only was part of that effort.

The publisher, Bronwyn Mehan, would like to thank the authors, Carmel Bird and Amanda Lohrey. Thanks also go to those who have worked on the production of both the digital singles, including Melissa-Jane Fogarty, Lynne Rogers, Belinda Rule and Jess Magrath.

Alexandra Catterall is a graduate of the MA in Publishing at the University of Sydney and is currently working in a publishing firm in London.

Purchase a story now

At $0.99 cents each, these newly packaged eSingles represent real value. Buy the set of 12 for under $12.

Read Jess Magrath’s review of ‘Beware of the God’ by Sue Booker.

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We’re beaming to be in festival spirit

Spineless Wonders is thrilled to announce that the 2016 Beams Festival has accepted our proposal to include videos based on ‘Flash Fiction Rules #1’ by Julie Chevalier and ‘Broken House’ by Charles D’Anastasi (from Out of Place) and ‘City Circle’ by Mark Roberts and ‘Sans Relache’ by Ali Jane Smith (from Flashing The Square).

The theme of the Beams Festival this year is ‘Spirit’. Emily Twomey (pictured centre) was charged with the task of creating videos based on three works of microlit selected from Spineless Wonders publications that spoke to different aspects of the theme.

The curator of the Beams Festival, Nicky Ginsberg, said of Emily’s videos: ‘The work is amazing. We would be thrilled to include you.’

We totally agree. Four great pieces of writing and four amazing video interpretations.

The Beams festival is held over one night in streets and outdoor areas of  Chippendale precinct near Central Park.
 
If you are in Sydney on September 17, drop by to the Beams Festival and check it out for yourself. We will also be live tweeting and instagramming the event for those of you who won’t be there.

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‘War! What Is It Good For’ goes off with a bang

A powerful night of war stories sent salvos through the hearts and minds of the rapt audience at Little Fictions at Chippendale’s Knox Street Bar on August 9.

The night was also dedicated to raising awareness and funds for Settlement Services International (SSI), which provides support to refugees throughout NSW. 

Unflinching stories traversed battlegrounds as diverse as a bombed-out building in London (or maybe Berlin or Beirut?), the break-up of Yugoslavia, the quandaries of home-life when a father is away at war, and a face-off on the streets of contemporary Greece.

Stories by Louise D’Arcy, Pierz Newton-John, Patrick Lenton, Paul Mitchell, Charles D’Anastasi, AS Patric, Monica Goldberg,  Peter Lach-Newinsky and Harry Kolotas were performed beautifully by Kate Fraser, Johann Silva, Oscar Morphew and Nicholas Starte. 

The stories helped audience members to ponder the universal questions that war brings and to connect to their own experiences—including those of present-day national and international conflicts. The night ended with a stirring performance by Nicholas Starte of Harry Kolatas’ story ‘Wrath of Achilles’ that incited a riotous volley of recognition and laughter.  

Early in the program Settlement Services International (SSI) staff spoke about the remarkable work SSI does with refugees.

Partnership and Fundraising Manager Naushin Rahman said SSI believed it was important to explore ways to make refugees and people seeking asylum feel safe, understood and respected, and that included telling their stories. She said sharing life stories should foster empathy and help society better understand the circumstances people have endured.

Ms Rahman said she was very grateful for the support from Little Fictions, which now collects donations for SSI at all its regular events.

Spineless Wonders publisher Bronwyn Mehan said, ‘War! What Is It Good For? was an excellent demonstration of the power of stories to show us what is wrong with the world, what we can learn from the past (and the present) and how there is hope for humanity.’

She also said it was particularly heartening to her, as a publisher, to find so many suitable stories for this theme among the Spineless Wonders publications (as well as one from the call out). ‘It confirms for me the importance of literature in our lives.’ 


She said she was also proud the Little Fictions team of authors, performers and others could provide entertainment and be a vehicle for social change—through its stories and fundraising.

Dates for upcoming Little Fictions events are listed at the end of this newsletter.

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Want your story centre stage? We do too …

Little Fictions is seeking newly minted submissions for its upcoming live shows. Submissions are judged by a team of two editors and two actors and selected pieces will be performed on stage by professional actors at Knox St Bar in Sydney’s Chippendale.

What are we looking for?

We’re looking for stories like Harry Kolotas’ ‘Wrath of Achilles’, which was selected from the Call Out earlier in the year and staged on August 9.

We want fiction with strong dialogue and memorable characters that will delight and amaze us. Stories that take off on flights of fancy as well as stories that take a satirical or offbeat look at life. Give us writing that rings with truth and insight. Writing that will have the audience in stitches or close to tears.

We are looking for previously unpublished works of fiction up to 2000 words in the form of microfiction, microlit, dramatic monologues—in fact, any written form that will enthrall a listening audience.

Find out more here or submit your story here by midnight on October 2.

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Social media magic

Last month Spineless Wonders’ interns and others honed their social media skills at an evening intensive led by social-media pro Emma Walsh.

Emma also helped Spineless Wonders publisher and editor Zane Lovitt to produce its latest anthology Crime Scenes, about which the influential US magazine Kirkus Review recently said, ‘Even fans of longer-form fiction should give this nifty collection a look.’

To win a copy of Crime Scenes, enter our competition (below) or buy it here.

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‘Quote’ unquote

‘Just in time,’ said Mr. Benbow, taking off his stained grey hat. His hair already dark with sweat, stuck to his head in a pudding basin shape above the frill of fair curls hanging dry and free. He wiped the sweat off his face with the sleeve of his shirt. ‘Form a queue.’

Most of the cows were already walking up the hill, full white udders with pink teats like tassels swinging from side to side, banging against their back legs. Those behind Mr. Benbow had stopped when we arrived, watching with wide-eyed curiosity, long tongues licking their moist nostrils, strands of grass hanging from the corners of their mouths like cartoon country yokels. Mr. Benbow grabbed the first child in the queue and hoisted her aboard the nearest cow. Hold on! he cried as the cow jumped sideways, a shiver running down her flank.

‘The End of the Beginning’ by Meredyth Cilento, published in Escape: an anthology of short stories, Spineless Wonders

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Competition

The third Little Fictions @ Sydney Fringe will be at Knox St Bar, Chippendale on Monday September 19.  Tell us what the theme is that night to win a copy of the Spineless Wonders anthology Crime Scenes, email with your answer in the subject line. 

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Dates for your diary

August  31 - Closing date for 2016 joanne burns Microlit Award on theme of ‘Landmarks’.

Little Fictions @ Sydney Fringe
Knox St Bar, Chippendale. Tickets from sydneyfringe.com
September 5 – ‘Vaginal Spray: feminist tales for woman and men’, MC Monique Schafter, Monday 7pm.
September 12 –‘The Great Unknown: uncanny tales from the Twilight Zone’, MC Adam Norris, Monday 7pm.
September 19 – ‘Sydney Stories’, MC Jack (Mr Comedy) Gow, Monday 7pm.
September 26 – ‘Crime Scenes: inside the minds of victims and crims’, MC Adam Norris, Monday 7pm.

September 17 – Spineless Wonders at Beams Arts Festival, Chippendale.
October 2Little Fictions Call Out closes.

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

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