Fiona Wright is a writer, editor and critic from Sydney. Her book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger won the 2016 Nita B. Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for non-fiction, and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the NSW Premier’s Douglas Stewart Award. Her first poetry collection, Knuckled, won the 2012 Dame Mary Gilmore Award, while Domestic Interior was shortlisted for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry. Her most recent book of essays, The World Was Whole, was longlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize.
256 pages Paperback, 23.4 x 15.3 cm Published October 2018 ISBN 9781925336979
In The World Was Whole, Fiona Wright examines how we inhabit and remember the familiar spaces of our homes and suburbs, as we move through and away from them into the wider world, devoting ourselves to the routines and rituals that make up our lives. These intensely personal essays consider how all-consuming the engagement with the ordinary can be, and how it is the small details and encounters that illuminate our lives. The essays are poetic and observant, and often funny, animated by curiosity and candour. Beneath them lies the experience of chronic illness and the consideration of how this reshapes and reorders our assumptions about the world.
96 pages Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm Published November 2017 ISBN 9781925336566
Many of the poems in Domestic Interior were written around the same time as Fiona Wright’s award-winning collection of essays Small Acts of Disappearance, and they share with that work her acute sensitivity to the details that build our everyday world, and hold us in thrall, in highly charged moments of emotional extremity.
194 pages Paperback, 19.7 x 13 cm Published September 2015 ISBN 9781922146939
Small Acts of Disappearance describes the author’s affliction with an eating disorder which begins in university, and escalates into life-threatening anorexia over the next ten years. Fiona Wright is a highly regarded poet and critic, and her account of her illness is informed by a keen sense of its contradictions and deceptions, and by an awareness of the empowering effects of hunger, which is unsparing in its consideration of the author’s motives and actions.
96 pages Paperback, 21 x 15 cm Published August 2011 ISBN 9781920882754
The poems in Knuckled are themselves bony and assertive, stripped down to the detail, which appeals in its physical quality and the manner in which it is offered, as much as in its compression of feeling. There is a strong sense of the social in Wright’s focus and selection: her details embody attitudes, prejudices, anxieties, identifications; they evoke the histories and mythologies embedded in family lore; and they carry an awareness of belonging in place.
The poems range from the flooded towns of the Snowy Mountains to the burnt-out landscape of Victoria to the holiday beaches of coastal NSW. One sequence is set in Sri Lanka, and compares the poet’s and her grandfather’s different experiences of Asia – other poems pursue this experience in Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. But it is the suburbs of Western Sydney, where the poet grew up and now works, that is her particular territory, with its mixture of voices and perspectives rendered all the more intensely for the fact that it is done with such a strict economy of means.