Australian Labyrinths: Julie Koh’s Portable Curiosities

This review is part of the AWW2017 Challenge Julie Koh’s uproariously funny and deeply unsettling debut full-length short story collection is a biting satire of contemporary Australia. An insightful, witty, and highly original collection, standouts include the deliciously dark Cream Reaper – where ice-cream becomes a game of russian roulette – and the wonderfully absurd and melancholically lonely Slow…

Queer & Black: Alison Whittaker’s Lemons in the Chicken Wire

This review is part of the AWW2017 Challenge In Gomeroi poet Alison Whittaker’s debut collection Lemons in the Chicken Wire, language and innuendo become a means of playful subversion. In ‘O, Eureka!’ a ‘scalp-scab burnt and straw-haired woman’ teaches the narrator that not everyone who can speak the jargon of the Academy need do so: that one can speak…

‘We’re All Mad Here’: Anna Spargo-Ryan’s The Paper House

This review is part of the AWW2017 Challenge Alicious imagery drips from every page of Anna Spargo-Ryan’s debut novel The Paper House. It is a novel of flowers and gardens; of bodies that do not behave in the way their owners expect them to; of confusing non-sequiturs and unavoidable miscommunications; of whispered dangers and the scent…

Sex and Gender in Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things

This review is part of the AWW2017 Challenge Germain Greer cautioned in 1970 that ‘women have very little idea of how much men hate them.’ Greer is a staunch second-wave feminist and an essentialist – an epistemological basis which has seen much of her work come under fire in recent decades. While Greer’s views on trans women…

Searching for Satisfaction: Ellen van Neerven’s Comfort Food

This review is part of the AWW2017 Challenge I spent almost half an hour searching the shelves of Readings Carlton for Ellen van Neerven’s 2016 collection of poems, Comfort Food, before asking why I couldn’t see it on the shelves when the website assured me it was in stock. After confirming that my alphabetical skills were top-notch…

Singing Black Girlhood: Maxine Beneba Clarke’s The Hate Race

This review is part of the AWW2017 Challenge Maxine Beneba Clarke’s 2016 memoir The Hate Race is structured as an Afro-Carribbean ballad: a song of her family and their story. She opens with the admission that ‘there are myriad ways of telling it’, before inviting us to listen to her version: ‘This is how I’d have it…

Technically Human: Briohny Doyle’s The Island Will Sink

This review is part of the AWW2017 Challenge Briohny Doyle’s debut novel The Island Will Sink – published by Melbourne literary journal The Lifted Brow – opens on a pitch-black page emblazoned with the block-white lettering ‘ESTABLISHING SHOT’. Turning to the opening chapter, a television screen splutters to life to inform our waking protagonist – immersive environmental disaster…

Mourning and Melancholy in Melbourne: Myfanwy Jones’ Leap

This review is part of the AWW2017 Challenge In the opening pages of Myfanwy Jones’ Leap, an unnamed young woman with cropped black hair – ‘ruffled and glossy – an animal’s pelt rippling to be touched’ – appears on Joe’s doorstep inquiring about a room to rent. She arrives while Joe’s roommates, Sanjay and Jack, are out,…

Reading in the New Year

Since 2012, Lizzy Chandler has lead the Australian Women Writers Challenge. A response to a Bookseller & Publisher survey re-published in Crikey that suggested that men authors were more likely than women authors to have their books reviewed in influential newspapers, magazines and literary journals, the AWW Challenge is a growing community of readers, writers, and reviewers working to…