'On 15 October 1970, in one of the worst industrial accidents in Victoria’s history, a span of the West Gate Bridge collapsed during construction. Thirty-five workers were killed. Very little has been written about the West Gate Bridge collapse, the men who died, the men who survived or the families that were left behind. The Bridge has become a road, too often clogged with traffic, a nuisance, an annoyance. It’s a tragic history, one that the city seems to have forgotten, but more than forty years later, it haunts my imagination and demands to be written.
This is a self-reflexive article that explores the process of writing the West Gate Bridge collapse into a work of fiction. It focuses on the challenges of capturing the voices of the working class who are often marginalised and occasionally mythologised (as working class heroes) but rarely the central focus of literature, and the ethical risks associated with aestheticizing a traumatic historical event. Like Gerry Turcotte, I believe that engaging with our ghosts is the ‘only remedy for the distressing legacies’ (Turcotte 2007: 115) of our history, and argue here that fiction has a role in giving the ghosts of our past a voice in the present.' (Publication abstract)