Blog

As Flames Were My Only Witness

Russell Erwin

To celebrate our 75th birthday, we’re presenting exceptional works from Meanjin’s past that have defined and challenged Australian literary culture.   After three days of wind pounding the midriff of hills and nights of dry lightning fracturing the sky into the crazing of old porcelain it was no surprise when it came. In five minutes a towering cauliflower was spilling white curds, froth and tumultuous blossom, a fractal coolly replicating from a moment that was now far below, with birds like flakes of soot tossed in its turbulence, their cries plangent and scattering, and consumed. Driving beneath into that apricot-soft […]

What I’m Reading—Graham Priest

Graham Priest

Working in New York, with family in Australia, I spend quite a lot of time on airplanes. If I’m not sleeping, I usually work—at least till my brain turns to mush. After that, I usually read. I don’t read fiction much; I prefer philosophy. I figure that there is so much good philosophy I’ve never read, that I’d rather learn about that. Just before I returned to Australia for Christmas, I was buying books as presents in a New York bookstore, and I came across Basic Writings of Nietzsche, an anthology of some of Nietzsche’s books. Nietzsche is an intriguing […]

Autumn

Nazim Hikmet

To celebrate our 75th birthday, we’re presenting exceptional works from Meanjin’s past that have defined and challenged Australian literary culture. The following poem was written by Nazim Hikmet while we was in a Turkish prison, waiting for his wife to visit.   The days are shortening The rains are going to start. My doors, wide open, waited for you. Why are you so late? Upon my table, green peppers, salt and bread. Half the wine that I kept for you in a jar, I drank alone, Waiting for you. Why are you so late? Here, swelling fruits, under branches ripe […]

The Tribesman Welcomes the Scientists

Ian Mudie

To celebrate our 75th birthday, we’re presenting exceptional works from Meanjin’s past that have defined and challenged Australian literary culture. To provide a meaningful counterpoint we will also be publishing a series of creative, critical and insightful responses to these works from contemporary writers and artists.   Yes, here I am awaiting you beside my campfire, awaiting your coming with tents and with trucks, with cushions and comforts and with white flour, and I with my songs, my dances, my weapons, and the sacred objects you will have me sell you; I am awaiting you beside my camp-fire. Yes , […]

What I’m Reading—Katerina Bryant

Katerina Bryant
The Watch Tower

When domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty first addressed the media after the death of her son Luke she said, ‘I want to tell everybody that family violence happens to everybody. No matter how nice your house is, how intelligent you are. It can happen to anyone, and everyone.’ This idea is brought to life in Elizabeth Harrower’s 1966 novel The Watch Tower, republished recently as part of the Text Classics Series. Protagonist Laura is a young middle-class woman who aspires to be a doctor. She isn’t the stereotyped ‘battered woman’ and her experience represents the pervasive nature of domestic violence; […]

A National Treasure: An Interview with Alice Munro

Alice Munro

To celebrate our 75th birthday, we’re presenting exceptional works from Meanjin’s past that have defined and challenged Australian literary culture. The following excerpts are taken from an interview with acclaimed Canadian author Alice Munro, originally printed in 1995 as part of a special issue of Meanjin that focused on Australian-Canadian relations. Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013. Meanjin: How does a story get started? Munro: Story telling is continuous. Story doesn’t stop, at least not the sort of stories I’m interested in writing. There are certain types of stories which do, in fact, end. Which do […]

Puss in Boots

Mardi O'Connor

To celebrate our 75th birthday, we’re presenting exceptional works from Meanjin’s past that have defined and challenged Australian literary culture.   My friend is the ex of an ex of mine. She was defined in these terms—ex marks the spot—by other friends, and also by me. She stood silently at parties; she didn’t bring her own drinks. She broke his heart, everyone said. This happened in Tasmania, but news of it crossed the strait, like my friend did, although she wasn’t my friend then. She was just someone I used to notice across the room, tall and inscrutable as an […]

Letters from Joseph Furphy (To Miles Franklin)

Joseph Furphy

To celebrate our 75th birthday, we’re presenting exceptional works from Meanjin’s past that have defined and challenged Australian literary culture. Joseph Furphy wrote one of Australia’s first literary works, Such Is Life, under the pseudonym Tom Collins. In the early 1940s, many Meanjin readers submitted literary critique in the guise of letters addressed to Tom Collins. Inspired by this tradition, Miles Franklin submitted these excerpts of letters between her and Joeseph Furphy for the enjoyment of Meanjin readers.   Letters to Tom Collins is a Meanjin idea which has appealed strongly to me, though to date, I have not been […]

And the Darkness Complete

Tim Winton

To celebrate our 75th birthday, we’re presenting exceptional works from Meanjin’s past that have defined and challenged Australian literary culture. This Tim Winton short story appeared in Meanjin shortly before the his first novel, An Open Swimmer, was published.   Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up? And now men cannot look on the light when it is bright in the skies, when the wind has passed and cleared them. —Job If I roll over I can see the shore where the old quarantine station still stands. Once, men dragged whales up that granite shore and […]

My Hair is Growing Out

Emma Marie Jones

My hair is growing out. I cut my fringe myself, into the bathroom sink, asymmetrical slices. The crisp scissors rent the still ajax air with a terrible tearing sound and I imagine that each hair is a tiny bone, that the tearing sound is the simultaneous fracturing of a thousand tiny bones. Clumps of damp hair, spiky runes on the white porcelain, the secret language of the severed. It’s like our skins maybe formed around the hot wet jelly of our insides as a fracture, too, to sever us from everything outside. You stay in your skin and I stay […]