AustLit logo
Unspooling single work   short story  
Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 Unspooling
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'This is the letter the government department has sent Joe, advising him that he could be deported. Here is the number of days until he might go: 28. A number as small and square and bureaucratic as the postage stamp on the envelope. Here is the lawyer’s website. This is the figure the lawyer quoted to help save him and it’s astronomical, eye-watering, but also doable. Essential.'  (Introduction)


  • Judges note : A clear and unanimous winner, ‘Unspooling’ is an emotionally powerful and intimate portrait of a relationship affected by migration law. It’s rare to see the second person imperative used in a short story, and rarer still to see it done so well. In a strong shortlist, ‘Unspooling’ stood out immediately for this confidence of voice, for the beauty and poise of its writing, and for the unique angle it takes on what it means to travel.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Overland no. 230 Autumn 2018 13809287 2018 periodical issue

    'This edition is off to print at the same time as Indigenous activists are establishing Camp Freedom on the Gold Coast, a protest against the stolen wealth that props up yet another Australian Commonwealth Games spectacle. Camp Freedom has echoes of Melbourne’s 2006 Camp Sovereignty, a powerful demonstration against colonial authority, which Tony Birch documents within these pages. Such occupations, Birch writes, present ‘a spectre of repressed Indigenous histories’ that ‘stake a claim’ on past and present.' (Jacinda Woodhead : Editorial introduction)

    pg. 34-37
Last amended 30 May 2018 11:02:45