Memoir/personal essay: “All times are the same time: A response to Shannon Burns on childhood sexual assault”, Meanjin, Spring 2018

In an event reminiscent of the time I once confidently asserted I was not attracted to Tom Hiddleston, in March 2017 I wrote a blog post about how I had decided never to write explicitly about my experience of childhood sexual assault.

That was clearly an extinction burst.

My objections were to do with being uncomfortable with misery memoir i.e. the aesthetisisation or commodification of women’s suffering – I needed to have a point other than ‘look at my pain’. I found it here by responding to another piece by Shannon Burns. While it’s Burns’ right to define his own experience, I found a lot of his conclusions deeply misguided.

I’m grateful to Meanjin for their graciousness in giving me an equal platform to comment critically on something they’d published. My piece (content warnings as per the subtitle):


Poem: “The Stone” in Oxford Poetry

Delight to have a poem, “The Stone”, in the Winter 2017-18 issue of Oxford Poetry.

Poems in Meanjin – plus a podcast reading

Delighted to be reading ‘Industry, Melbourne‘, a landscape poem about heavy industry in Melbourne’s west, on the relaunched Meanjin Podcast Episode #1.

Meanjin Podcast Episode One featuring Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Belinda Rule, and Clementine Ford, Celeste Liddle and Lauren Rosewarne in conversation. Listen via iTunes or Soundcloud.

Text of the poem also appears on the website:

I also have a second poem, ‘Exile’, in the print edition:

Audio zine reading: ‘Highway, Shepparton’ and ‘Rooms’ appear in Queer Out Here

Delighted to have two readings of poems related to family estrangement appear in this audio zine. Apologies for my current asthma-medication Lady-Batman voice!

Artist statement:

Like many queer people, I am estranged from a large part of my family. We were a camping and travelling family, and I have quite a passionate relationship with the places we used to go. But the memory of family is intertwined with the memory of place, so that even when I am literally standing in the beloved place, I still feel that I am in exile. And that’s what these poems are about.

Poem: The End of Men

Cordite Poetry ReviewI have an angry poem about Melbourne public transport masturbators up today in Cordite Poetry Review‘s awesome Suburbia issue.

Readers of my twitter may recall this as the poem during whose composition my honour was deeply offended by MS Word suggesting I was trying to write ‘jazzed’ not ‘jizzed’.

Fiction: ‘Hector Fucking Katros’ now available free from Tincture Journal website

If you were ever enticed by the idea of the mischievous long story of mine ‘Hector Fucking Katros’, Tincture Journal (which is sadly closing down) has now made all its archives free – you want issue 16 of summer 2016 for meeeeee:

Teasers and and quotes from this story are in my previous post, New fiction: ‘Hector Fucking Katros’ in Tincture Journal 16 (Summer 2016).

Saying goodbye to the mother poems (Regarding two poems in foam:e)

I have two poems in the wonderfully long-running Australian web journal foam:e this month:

This is nearly the end of my oeuvre of poems about my estranged mother. I’ve never spoken publicly about them aside from the bare announcement of publication. Realising I’d almost published them all now – and I don’t think I’ll write any more – I thought I’d write this post.

This post discusses childhood sexual assault non-explicitly.

Read More »

New fiction: ‘Damboon’ in Verity La, 7 March 2017

Image courtesy Verity La

Hey-hey, a story about some sad/mad lesbians on a roadtrip in country Victoria, by me – available for free online in Verity La:

This is the first of many sad/mad lesbian stories. I am really over coming out stories. I am all about the ‘all girlfriends break up with me and lesbian housemates TOO INTENSE ABOUT RECYCLING’ stories.

Verity La is an awesome long-running Australian web journal that is generally way cooler and edgier than I am. They’re running Australian women’s writing all this week in honour of International Women’s Day, huzzah.

New fiction: ‘Hector Fucking Katros’ in Tincture Journal 16 (Summer 2016)

Tincture Journal Issue 16, Summer 2016 cover imageSleeping with your students was outrageous. Luckily this did not at all reduce Melanie’s enjoyment of his doing it with her.

– ‘Hector Fucking Katros’, Tincture Journal 16 (Summer 2016)

I haven’t published any fiction in a couple of years and am really excited to announce a long short story (11,000 words!), ‘Hector Fucking Katros’, is out in Tincture Journal 16 (Summer 2016) . Tincture is a fantastic independent Australian literary journal that publishes in ebook (epub or Kindle) formats.

This story is something I began writing as rather an angry young woman – I was at that time a feminist critically minded to the point of self-destruction, and a creative writing program burnout. As so often seems to be the case for me, I had to grow up into a different person – I’m now only mildly irritable, and nearly middle-aged – before I had enough distance to develop the raw material into a satisfying work of fiction.

The story treats, among other things: artistic ego, women’s rivalry and self-loathing, Australian ethnic politics*, and the foibles of the creative writing industry. It features questionably ethical sex between questionably attractive people – who are nonetheless passionately attracted.

I’m so fond of this cast of prickly, rather fabulously badly behaved characters, and hope readers feel the same.

I’m indulging myself by quoting some of my favourite lines, in the hope of enticement:

  1. Wiry little stooped troll of a man, pin-headed, rat-faced. He had that pan-directional anger of men who know they’re hopelessly physically unattractive, ill-favoured by powers of irresistible magnitude.
  2. Neither of them had anything to show for workshop that night, which made them visibly cheerier than anyone else there.
  3. Melanie could observe her own absence of caring as if looking down from a high place as the wind whipped. Was this what it was like being Hector? It was wonderful.
  4. You think you can embarrass me, she thought, and checked out his dick in his shorts while he wasn’t looking.
  5. She had joined the club of completely sordid bastards. When she compared it to the usual clubs she got herself in—such as people who somehow end up clearing up other people’s coffee cups after a meeting, or people who discover an excessive amount of other people’s rubbish in their bin—it appeared unbelievably superior.
  6. The sheets stank of man and cigarette tar, half disgusting, half enjoyable—it was the smell of their sex.
  7. She had once claimed that whatever was Skip for I love you, too.
  8. Sleeping with your students was outrageous. Luckily this did not at all reduce Melanie’s enjoyment of his doing it with her.

‘Hector Fucking Katros’ appears in Tincture Journal 16 (Summer 2016), which is on sale in epub/Kindle on Tincture’s website, and is also on Amazon, Tomely, Kobo and Google Play. You can also add it on Goodreads. Support Australian independent literary publishing and give it a go.

ALSO PS I have been writing this thing so long I may literally die if no one reads it and talks to me about it. You don’t want me to die, do you?


*A note on vocabulary, for international readers: in Australia, ‘wog’ is a reclaimed ethnic slur that (for idiosyncratic reasons related to patterns of migration) refers to people of southern European, Balkan and sometimes Middle Eastern ancestry. This word is largely now used affectionately by its in-group to refer to itself. ‘Skip’ is the counter-slur, meaning Anglo-Australian – based on an old TV show, ‘Skippy the Bush Kangaroo’.


Poems: Age of Reason; Highway, Shepparton; Found Photo

Screenshot of Eureka Street websiteHooray, three poems appear in the ever-lovely Eureka Street:

  • ‘Age of reason’
  • ‘Highway, Shepparton’
  • ‘Found photo’

Find them at ‘War-room of a child’s mind’, Eureka Street, 20 June 2016.