Tasmania's journal of discovery

The Literary Lunch

The Literary Lunch
Selected stories
By Geoffrey Dean
Published by Roaring Forties Press
ISBN 0 9756797 0 8

Geoffrey Dean is a Tasmanian who has been in print for five decades — ever since his first short story ‘The Last Page’ won a short-story competition run by The Mercury and made Dean the richer by a couple of pounds.

He was overseas at the time, doing what was becoming a pilgrimage in post-WWII years for young Australians, working their way around Europe and Canada. His brother Graeme had found the story and entered it without Dean knowing.

Continued …

a little more

a little more: Celebrating a life of letters
By Margaret Scott and individual contributors
Published by Summerhill Publishing
ISBN 0-9757460-0-6

In essence — to commemorate the awarding of an Emeritus Award from the Australia Council’s Literature Board to Tasman Peninsula-based poet and author Margaret Scott, it was decided to publish an anthology of some of her works, encompassing poetry, prose, after-dinner speeches and magazine articles.

Friends and colleagues were invited to write of their association with Margaret and of how her works and life had affected them, and their responses in prose or poetry are scattered throughout the pages. So indirectly we see the thread of Margaret’s life; the book becomes a multi-layered portrait of not only the artist but also the woman herself.

That’s the bare bones. The only trouble with reviewing this spirited, warm and inviting anthology (no trouble in itself, of course, but a very great delight) is the care with which one must choose words.  Or, in other words, what can one say that doesn’t inevitably sound humdrum when faced with Margaret Scott’s lambent prose and famous wit?

Continued …

The Death of a Drag Queen

imageThe Death of a Drag Queen and other stories
By Julian Halls
Published by Ginninderra Press
ISBN 1 74027 219 6

Not everyone within these pages is a drag queen. Not every one is gay, though the main characters in each short story definitely (or defiantly, or hesitatingly) are. Having said that, be prepared for a wide gamut of situations that really have very little to do with gayness (if there is such a distinction), but rather more with love, loving, fear of growing old and other emotions. Julian Halls is a very talented writer and his stories have both pace and pathos. He has mined many autobiographical memories, which gives an intensity to the stories themselves, but does so in ways that are witty, reflective, and above all, entertaining.

Continued …

Soft Edges Unsafe Margins

imageSoft Edges Usafe Margins
Stories by Avril Caney
Published by Ginninderra Press
ISBN 1 74027 227 7

An impressive collection of finely crafted short stories by a Hobart-based writer, nearly every one winner or runner-up in short story competitions, and describing feelings, experiences and memories we can all relate to.

The cast of main characters is varied, as are the situations, but with telling brushstrokes of words Avril Caney evokes immediately recognisable portraits of people presented with those moments of life that take us like “a long, moving pedestrian ramp … from which, once committed to, there seems no escape”.

Their efforts to make an escape, to change the seeming inevitability of their lives, underscore these stories. The twist comes, as it does in all good short stories, at the very end, the words of “continued next week, next day, next moment …” unwritten, but vividly tangible. Most enjoyable.  PH

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