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y separately published work icon Australia Day selected work   short story  
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Australia Day
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Australia Day is a collection of stories by debut author Melanie Cheng. The people she writes abut are young, old, rich, poor, married, widowed, Chinese, Lebanese, Christian, Muslim. What they have in common—no matter where they come from—is the desire we all share to feel that we belong. The stories explore universal themes of love, loss, family and identity, while at the same time asking crucial questions about the possibility of human connection in a globalised world.' (Introduction)

Notes

  • To Mum, for feeding me books,

    and Dad, for setting the bar high

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2017 .
      image of person or book cover 876898693521343483.jpg
      This image has been sourced from publisher's website
      Extent: 272p.
      Reprinted: 2019 (paperback)
      Note/s:
      • Published 3 July 2017
      ISBN: 9781925498592

Works about this Work

All In That Space : On Asian Australian Writers Christine Sun , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , April 2018;

'As the date of the twenty-first anniversary of my arrival in Australia approaches, I acutely sense the space between ‘Asian’ and ‘Australian’ in ‘Asian Australian’, which is how I refer to myself. This space divides not only two words but two worlds, a fact that I, as a bilingual writer and translator of more than two decades, know only too well. Crossing this space is a process of positioning, consciously adopting and abandoning a myriad of reference points between common perceptions of what it means to be ‘Asian’ and ‘Australian’.' (Introduction)

Flag-Bearers for Tomorrow R. D. Wood , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , April 2018;

'Written over a period of nine years, Australia Day is a book of short stories by Melanie Cheng. It was the winner of the Award for an Unpublished Manuscript at the Victorian Premier’s Prize in 2016. Along with Maxine Beneba Clarke, Omar Sakr, Lachlan Brown, Michelle Cahill and Alice Pung, Cheng is part of a rising wave of culturally diverse writers concerned with the idea of Australia itself. Cheng herself has glossed Australia Day as a collection about ‘chance encounter, family, multiculturalism, identity.’' (Introduction)

Melanie Cheng, Australia Day Lachlan Brown , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 77 no. 2 2017; (p. 243-247)

‘Melanie Cheng’s Australia Day (2017) is the latest in the contemporary succession of engaging and innovative collections of short fiction by Australian writers from diverse backgrounds. since the 2008 publication of Nam Le’s The Boat, Australia’s young literary vanguard has announced itself with a series of ambitious volumes. These authors include Ryan O’Neill (The Weight of a Human Heart, 2012), Maxine Beneba Clarke (Foreign Soil, 2014), Ali Alizadeh (Transactions, 2013), Ceridwen Dovey (Only the Animals, 2014), Nic Low (Arms Race, 2014), Michelle Cahill (Letter to Pessoa, 2016), Tara June Winch (After the Carnage, 2016), and Fiona McFarlane (The High Places, 2016). There is something about the short story collection that seems well attuned to contemporary Australian society’s fragmentation and polyphony. Formally, it allows compressed scenes of localised intensity to set themselves within the complex striations of transnational or trans cultural experiences. Such collections have benefitted, perhaps, from readers’ shortened attention spans. But they have also been well positioned to take advantage of the material and cultural gains that are part of the churn and glory of contemporary literary award culture. Cheng and Beneba Clarke both won the Victorian Premier’s unpublished manuscript award with their collections, and Le and McFarlane have each received the prestigious international Dylan Thomas Prize for Young Writers.’ (Introduction)

[Review Essay] ; Australia Day Johanna Leggatt , 2017 single work review essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 394 2017; (p. 40)

'The characters in Melanie Cheng’s collection of short stories are all outsiders or misfits in some way. Some feel conspicuously out of place, such as the Lebanese immigrant Maha, in ‘Toy Town’, who is struggling with suburban Australian life, or the Chinese medical student Stanley, who is visiting the family farm of a friend in the titular story. Stanley freezes when he is asked at dinner to nominate his AFL team: he has never watched a game of football in his life. Other characters feel isolated owing to their beliefs or temperament.' (Introduction)

Diverse Stories Hint at Breadth of Talent Rachel Edwards , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 29 July 2017; (p. 21)

'These two books capture a profound diversity in contemporary Australian short-story writing. Seven Stories is a collection of short stories from Tasmanian writers published by the elusive Dewhurst Jennings Institute. The stories are set around the world, the seven writers connected only by dint of being Tasmanian. In contrast, the slow-burn stories in Melanie Cheng’s Australia Day speak of middle Australia. They are an examination of some quiet lives in contemporary Melbourne.'

Melanie Cheng : Australia Day KN , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 24-30 June 2017;
'Melanie Cheng won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for this collection as an unpublished manuscript – more evidence perhaps of the renaissance of the short story in contemporary publishing. It begins with a distinctly non-literary epigraph: Malcolm Turnbull declaring that “There has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian”. This claim is deconstructed in a series of social portraits that exposes the blindness of Turnbull’s patriotism.' (Introduction)
Diverse Stories Hint at Breadth of Talent Rachel Edwards , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 29 July 2017; (p. 21)

'These two books capture a profound diversity in contemporary Australian short-story writing. Seven Stories is a collection of short stories from Tasmanian writers published by the elusive Dewhurst Jennings Institute. The stories are set around the world, the seven writers connected only by dint of being Tasmanian. In contrast, the slow-burn stories in Melanie Cheng’s Australia Day speak of middle Australia. They are an examination of some quiet lives in contemporary Melbourne.'

[Review Essay] ; Australia Day Johanna Leggatt , 2017 single work review essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 394 2017; (p. 40)

'The characters in Melanie Cheng’s collection of short stories are all outsiders or misfits in some way. Some feel conspicuously out of place, such as the Lebanese immigrant Maha, in ‘Toy Town’, who is struggling with suburban Australian life, or the Chinese medical student Stanley, who is visiting the family farm of a friend in the titular story. Stanley freezes when he is asked at dinner to nominate his AFL team: he has never watched a game of football in his life. Other characters feel isolated owing to their beliefs or temperament.' (Introduction)

Melanie Cheng, Australia Day Lachlan Brown , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 77 no. 2 2017; (p. 243-247)

‘Melanie Cheng’s Australia Day (2017) is the latest in the contemporary succession of engaging and innovative collections of short fiction by Australian writers from diverse backgrounds. since the 2008 publication of Nam Le’s The Boat, Australia’s young literary vanguard has announced itself with a series of ambitious volumes. These authors include Ryan O’Neill (The Weight of a Human Heart, 2012), Maxine Beneba Clarke (Foreign Soil, 2014), Ali Alizadeh (Transactions, 2013), Ceridwen Dovey (Only the Animals, 2014), Nic Low (Arms Race, 2014), Michelle Cahill (Letter to Pessoa, 2016), Tara June Winch (After the Carnage, 2016), and Fiona McFarlane (The High Places, 2016). There is something about the short story collection that seems well attuned to contemporary Australian society’s fragmentation and polyphony. Formally, it allows compressed scenes of localised intensity to set themselves within the complex striations of transnational or trans cultural experiences. Such collections have benefitted, perhaps, from readers’ shortened attention spans. But they have also been well positioned to take advantage of the material and cultural gains that are part of the churn and glory of contemporary literary award culture. Cheng and Beneba Clarke both won the Victorian Premier’s unpublished manuscript award with their collections, and Le and McFarlane have each received the prestigious international Dylan Thomas Prize for Young Writers.’ (Introduction)

Flag-Bearers for Tomorrow R. D. Wood , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , April 2018;

'Written over a period of nine years, Australia Day is a book of short stories by Melanie Cheng. It was the winner of the Award for an Unpublished Manuscript at the Victorian Premier’s Prize in 2016. Along with Maxine Beneba Clarke, Omar Sakr, Lachlan Brown, Michelle Cahill and Alice Pung, Cheng is part of a rising wave of culturally diverse writers concerned with the idea of Australia itself. Cheng herself has glossed Australia Day as a collection about ‘chance encounter, family, multiculturalism, identity.’' (Introduction)

Last amended 11 Jan 2019 12:37:51
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