'Until very recently, I have been guilty of treating Australian writing as second-rate. In high school, the colonial novels were always left decaying at the back of my locker. During the early stages of my arts degree, the one Australian literature subject on offer was the one I ignored, arrogantly assuming it would be inessential to a well-rounded education in English. Even Australian short stories were something I’d read because I felt I should, as if they were some kind of patriotic vitamin supplement to be taken between meatier meals of American classics. Maybe because until then I’d only had the most tired examples of Australian writing stuffed down my throat, or maybe because the books I had been prescribed were leading me to believe that real writing was happening elsewhere.'