Writers' Connect

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Summer 2014

We hope you had a relaxing summer holiday, soaking up the city and enjoying the pile of books accumulated through the working year. It's time to get back into writing mode and draw inspiration from the New Year season, a time when personal memory and collective experience merge. Sydney is a vibrant carnivale on the last day of the calendar, a heady mix of booze, memory and forgetting. Family and friends gather to watch fireworks over the harbour and recall the years leading up to another midnight countdown. For writers, it's a chance to imaginatively explore the stories of a city and its people. This summer issue looks at truth in the art of writing, examining how authors find connections between real events, observations and the potency of storytelling.

We're excited to share work that celebrates the living history of this city, as well as its fabric of family, shadows, friends and writers. Gabrielle Carey reflects on her latest novel, Moving Among Strangers, which explores her parents' lives, and their intriguing connection with renowned poet and author, Randolph Stow.

Delia Falconer tells us what it was like to write her portrait of Sydney, a contradictory place of ugly beauty, steeped in a haunting past of destructive forces and fertile beginnings. The city's past re-emerges in Amy Simpson-Deeks' recent work, Nellie, the striking tale of a woman entangled with the razor gangs of the '20s and '30s. Our new Assistant Editor, doctoral candidate Alyssa Critchley, engages Amy in a compelling discussion on creatively unearthing the renowned underbelly. Welcome on board, Alyssa!

We're also excited to share the work of author Bem Le Hunte, who has just joined UTS to head the new Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation. Here she poignantly expresses the delicacy and healing potential of reimagining historical trauma through her novel There, Where the Pepper Grows.

From this issue, we gather a pool of ideas on how to interweave the invented and recollected. How do we draw upon the rich world of stories around us, while remaining respectful of the real lives involved? There are no clear boundaries separating the worlds of truth and fiction, they are deepened and enriched as they breathe life into one another. The way we use these creative forces is left to the writer's discretion, and, as always, is best understood through sharing our stories. We hope you enjoy these writers' tales on the space between truth and narrative.

Tara McLennan
Editor – Writers Connect
© 2014


On Truth and Beauty and Make Believe

On Truth and Beauty and Make Believe. Read more.

Bem Le Hunte's novel There, Where the Pepper Grows, emerges from the trauma of the second world war, following the lives of a family as they escape from Poland to India. While it is a fictional tale, Bem writes that creatively mapping communal grief opened up new understandings of 'truth' and remembrance.

A Portrait of a City

A Portrait of a City. Read more.

Delia Falconer's Sydney (2010) is a memoir of her hometown. It draws upon personal memories and stories, as well as urban myths, and historical records, to reveal the feral materiality and whimsy of the so-called 'Emerald City'. Here is an interview with the Delia by Tara McLennan.

Moving Among Strangers

Moving Among Strangers. Read more.

In her most recent work, Moving Among Strangers (2013) Gabrielle Carey shares a very personal exploration of one of Australia's most lauded writers and poets, Randolph Stow. Australia's most lauded writers and poets, Randolph Stow. Gabrielle shares her thoughts with Tara McLennan on how she grappled with the essential questions: Who owns the story, particularly the family story? And who is the trusted narrator of such closely held secrets?

Kiss of Death Girl

Kiss of Death Girl. Read more.

For her Honours and Masters at UTS, Amy Simpson Deeks delved into the world of underbelly figure Nellie Cameron, the notorious 'Kiss of Death Girl.' Here she talks with Alyssa Critchley on the process of discovering Nellie through fictional biography.