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y separately published work icon Shadow Boxing selected work   short story  
Issue Details: First known date: 2006... 2006 Shadow Boxing
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'A collection of ten linked stories in the life of a boy growing up in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy in the 1960s.' (publisher's blurb)

Notes

  • Dedication: For my children.
  • Epigraph: It's a great life - if you don't weaken. (Alma Maree May Corcoran)
  • Speaking to Romona Koval on the ABC's The Book Show on 7 March 2006, Birch indicated that Shadow Boxing was autobiographical in a 'psychological', but not a 'realist' sense.
  • Other formats: Also e-book.

Contents

* Contents derived from the Carlton North, Parkville - Carlton area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,:Scribe , 2006 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
The Red House, Tony Birch , single work short story (p. 1-19)
The Lesson, Tony Birch , single work short story (p. 21-39)
The Butcher's Wife, Tony Birch , single work short story (p. 41-57)
A Disposable Good, Tony Birch , single work short story (p. 59-73)
The Bulldozer, Tony Birch , single work short story (p. 75-87)
The Return, Tony Birch , single work short story (p. 89-104)
Sea of Tranquillity, Tony Birch , single work short story (p. 105-122)
Ashes, Tony Birch , single work short story (p. 123-141)
Redemption, Tony Birch , single work short story (p. 143-159)
The Haircut, Tony Birch , single work short story (p. 161-178)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Carlton North, Parkville - Carlton area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,: Scribe , 2006 .
      image of person or book cover 9213258639313510688.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 178p.
      ISBN: 1920769706, 9781920769703
    • Carlton North, Parkville - Carlton area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,: Scribe , 2009 .
      image of person or book cover 1439844381117063014.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 192p.
      Edition info: New ed.
      ISBN: 9781921640155 (pbk)

Works about this Work

Crafting “Literary Sense of Place” : the Generative Work of Literary Place-making Meg Mundell , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 1 no. 18 2018;

'This paper examines the how of literary wheres. As makers of literary works, creative writers are tasked with evoking place on the page. While the nexus of place and literature is increasingly recognised as fertile scholarly ground, the specifics of how writers actually “make” literary places remain opaque and under-researched. I seek to address this gap by exploring how literary place is constituted through creative practice. Focusing on the work of Australian writer Tony Birch, I document a range of generative tools creative writers may use to produce what I call “literary sense of place”. Drawing on interview-based case studies and key concepts from human geography, I analyse how these practitioners harness various “off-page” modes of enquiry to evoke place compellingly in textual form. While my main focus is creative practice, I also examine the resultant literary texts to help illuminate how process manifests in content. By profiling a range of “place-oriented experiential techniques (POETs)” – including site visits, memory, direct encounters, sensory attentiveness, “vicarious emplacement”, socio-cultural understandings, and happenstance – I present a fine-grained account of literary place-making from a practitioners’ perspective. I conclude that producing literary place is a generative, cumulative and associative process, in which writers mobilise a rich array of lived sensations, emotions, memories, understandings and actions. In foregrounding these “backstage” modes of creative labour, this paper helps clarify how writers deploy both personal and shared experiences to render literary place in resonant ways.' (Publication abstract)

‘You’ll Be Great, but Only If You Work Your Arse off.’ An Interview with Tony Birch Adelle Sefton-Rowston (interviewer), 2017 single work interview
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , March 2017;
'Dr Tony Birch was a guest presenter at the Darwin Writers Festival in 2016 and, along with facilitating a writing workshop for the NT Writers’ Centre, he agreed to this interview before returning to Melbourne, where he is a research fellow at Victoria University. If you’re not familiar with Birch’s work, he has published a number of books, including Shadowboxing (2006), Blood (2011) and a recent book of poetry, Broken Teeth (2016). His novel Ghost River (2015) won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous writing in 2016, and tells of a growing connection between two boys and a river, that does not solely belong to their experiences. Birch’s story takes (back) place in a setting inspired by Dight Falls in Collingwood, Victoria. The river directs themes of belonging to place beyond racial and experiential parameters.' (Introduction)
Place, History and Story: Tony Birch and the Yarra River Carolyn Masel , Matthew Ryan , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , 2016 vol. 31 no. 2 2016;
'This essay examines the three Yarra River stories in Tony Birch’s short fiction collections. ‘The Sea of Tranquillity’ ‘The Chocolate Empire’ and ‘The Toecutters’ all question the historical inscription of the Yarra that favours the culturally dominant account by placing it in relation to alternative stories. The torsion engendered by this questioning is apparent in the stories themselves. They are simultaneously discussions of class-based social exclusion and counter-stories of settlement; settled places are re-inscribed with meanings and histories obscured by the dominant account of ‘settlement’, which it thus critiques. The structure of the contemporary short story, to reveal a truth buried under the mundane details of life, aids Birch’s purpose. The form enacts a propensity to doubling, twinning and contrasting the familiar and the strange, or being at once in the dominant reality of the settler-colonial culture and, by social imposition, in the situation of the other. Hence, Birch’s stories open into narratives drawn from a number of socially marginalised groups, according to class, gender, geography or age. In Birch’s own account of his disillusionment with the institutionally-based academic writing of the post-history wars environment he speaks of embarking on an alternative project to ‘put meat on the bones of history’, a project which involves turning from the Historian’s history to ‘the way that fiction deals with the past and its role in documenting history’: to bring history and story together (‘Trouble’ 235, 241). This essay traces that process in the three Yarra stories.' (Abstract)
Literature Larissa Behrendt , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: National Indigenous Times , 13 July vol. 5 no. 109 2006; (p. 28)

— Review of Shadow Boxing Tony Birch , 2006 selected work short story
Ages of Rage Anne Susskind , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 2 May vol. 124 no. 6518 2006; (p. 68)

— Review of Beyond the Break Sandra Hall , 2006 single work novel ; Pictures of Us Todd Alexander , 2006 single work novel ; Out of Place Jo Dutton , 2006 single work novel ; Shadow Boxing Tony Birch , 2006 selected work short story
[Review] Shadow Boxing Brooke Davis , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: Bookseller + Publisher Magazine , February vol. 85 no. 7 2006; (p. 49)

— Review of Shadow Boxing Tony Birch , 2006 selected work short story
It's Grim Down South, Amid the Claustrophobia of the Fitzroy Slums Phil Brown , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 11-12 March 2006; (p. 12-13)

— Review of Shadow Boxing Tony Birch , 2006 selected work short story
Streetfighting Man Ceridwen Spark , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 11-12 March 2006; (p. 20-21)

— Review of Shadow Boxing Tony Birch , 2006 selected work short story
Fighting off Stereotypes and Quelling Old Pains Peter Pierce , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 1 April 2006; (p. 17)

— Review of Shadow Boxing Tony Birch , 2006 selected work short story
In Brief : Fiction Steven Gome , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 280 2006; (p. 61)

— Review of Shadow Boxing Tony Birch , 2006 selected work short story
Place, History and Story: Tony Birch and the Yarra River Carolyn Masel , Matthew Ryan , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , 2016 vol. 31 no. 2 2016;
'This essay examines the three Yarra River stories in Tony Birch’s short fiction collections. ‘The Sea of Tranquillity’ ‘The Chocolate Empire’ and ‘The Toecutters’ all question the historical inscription of the Yarra that favours the culturally dominant account by placing it in relation to alternative stories. The torsion engendered by this questioning is apparent in the stories themselves. They are simultaneously discussions of class-based social exclusion and counter-stories of settlement; settled places are re-inscribed with meanings and histories obscured by the dominant account of ‘settlement’, which it thus critiques. The structure of the contemporary short story, to reveal a truth buried under the mundane details of life, aids Birch’s purpose. The form enacts a propensity to doubling, twinning and contrasting the familiar and the strange, or being at once in the dominant reality of the settler-colonial culture and, by social imposition, in the situation of the other. Hence, Birch’s stories open into narratives drawn from a number of socially marginalised groups, according to class, gender, geography or age. In Birch’s own account of his disillusionment with the institutionally-based academic writing of the post-history wars environment he speaks of embarking on an alternative project to ‘put meat on the bones of history’, a project which involves turning from the Historian’s history to ‘the way that fiction deals with the past and its role in documenting history’: to bring history and story together (‘Trouble’ 235, 241). This essay traces that process in the three Yarra stories.' (Abstract)
‘You’ll Be Great, but Only If You Work Your Arse off.’ An Interview with Tony Birch Adelle Sefton-Rowston (interviewer), 2017 single work interview
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , March 2017;
'Dr Tony Birch was a guest presenter at the Darwin Writers Festival in 2016 and, along with facilitating a writing workshop for the NT Writers’ Centre, he agreed to this interview before returning to Melbourne, where he is a research fellow at Victoria University. If you’re not familiar with Birch’s work, he has published a number of books, including Shadowboxing (2006), Blood (2011) and a recent book of poetry, Broken Teeth (2016). His novel Ghost River (2015) won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous writing in 2016, and tells of a growing connection between two boys and a river, that does not solely belong to their experiences. Birch’s story takes (back) place in a setting inspired by Dight Falls in Collingwood, Victoria. The river directs themes of belonging to place beyond racial and experiential parameters.' (Introduction)
Crafting “Literary Sense of Place” : the Generative Work of Literary Place-making Meg Mundell , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 1 no. 18 2018;

'This paper examines the how of literary wheres. As makers of literary works, creative writers are tasked with evoking place on the page. While the nexus of place and literature is increasingly recognised as fertile scholarly ground, the specifics of how writers actually “make” literary places remain opaque and under-researched. I seek to address this gap by exploring how literary place is constituted through creative practice. Focusing on the work of Australian writer Tony Birch, I document a range of generative tools creative writers may use to produce what I call “literary sense of place”. Drawing on interview-based case studies and key concepts from human geography, I analyse how these practitioners harness various “off-page” modes of enquiry to evoke place compellingly in textual form. While my main focus is creative practice, I also examine the resultant literary texts to help illuminate how process manifests in content. By profiling a range of “place-oriented experiential techniques (POETs)” – including site visits, memory, direct encounters, sensory attentiveness, “vicarious emplacement”, socio-cultural understandings, and happenstance – I present a fine-grained account of literary place-making from a practitioners’ perspective. I conclude that producing literary place is a generative, cumulative and associative process, in which writers mobilise a rich array of lived sensations, emotions, memories, understandings and actions. In foregrounding these “backstage” modes of creative labour, this paper helps clarify how writers deploy both personal and shared experiences to render literary place in resonant ways.' (Publication abstract)

Awards

2011 Commended The Kate Challis RAKA Award
2006 shortlisted Queensland Premier's Literary Awards Arts Queensland Steele Rudd Australian Short Story Award This award was known as the Steele Rudd Australian Short Story Award from 1988-2007.
Last amended 5 May 2017 12:50:43
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  • Fitzroy, Fitzroy - Collingwood area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,
  • 1960s
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