'It comes up, from time to time. Ethics and writing. Two concepts that are chained together in a dysfunctional marriage. How to write, ethically? How to write ethically while remaining true to the aesthetic imperative, the narrative trajectory, a reader’s requirements? And, by the way, what is ethical writing?'
'And we have a winner. Black Rock White City, AS Patric’s dark, sorrowful story has impressed the judges sufficiently for them to award it first prize. I too was captured by the world of the novel, and by the central characters: Jovan, who “had been a poet in Yugoslavia when that was still a country”, and who is now a cleaner at a Melbourne hospital; and Suzana, his wife, who works as a cleaner in Melbourne’s Black Rock, and who comes from White City (“the literal translation of Belgrade”).' (Introduction)
'Charlotte Wood has won the fourth annual Stella Prize for The Natural Way of Things, a dark and dangerous book shot through with a kind of feminist rage that – after decades of anti-feminist backlash – is long overdue.
In breaking with a nascent tradition of Stella award-winners donating their prize money to charity, Wood also raises the question of whether benevolence of this sort might be an unconscious by-product of the kind of guilt-ridden sense of inferiority suffered by many women writers.' (Introduction)
'In Albert Camus’ The Plague (1947), an epidemic spreads across Oran, a town on Africa’s north coast, as Joseph Grand attempts to write a novel. Grand dreams of writing a book that will cause his publisher to leap up from his desk (the publishers in this world are men), and gasp in wonder.
'But he can’t get the first sentence right. He worries at every detail, frets over meaning and rhythm. He arranges and rearranges it. There is no possibility of a second sentence. Without the first line, the novel is obstructed'
'Where Robert Frost might write a few lines soundly cut from the solid old tree of language and delivered in his mellifluous White Mountain voice...' (Introduction)
'Even the imagery is operating (failing?) this way, as each image is broken off at a line ending and the next one starts in hope of making sense. Just as desire can be heightened by jealousy, just as a dying poet suddenly produces three or four new books, just as a wish granted leads us to making even more outlandish wishes (or regretting all wishes), this poetry’s energy and verve might be symptomatic of the climate crisis that will be too catastrophic even for the poets to want to spend their time making from it one thing that bursts out of another.' (Introduction)
'Clementine Ford is no stranger to speaking out. This makes her a near-perfect poster person for the Stella’s schools program and their latest project Girls Write Up – a day-long wordfest and workshop for high school students – held for the first time this week to sell-out crowds in Sydney and Melbourne. ...' (Introduction)