Michelle Cahill is the author of fiction, essays and two collections of poetry, including, Vishvarupa, which was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, and Letter to Pessoa, a short story collection that won the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards (Glenda Adams Award) and was shortlisted for the 2017 Steele Rudd Queensland Literary Award. Born in Kenya, she attended primary school in London before migrating to Australia. She lives in Sydney, where she graduated in Medicine and the Humanities. She is editor of the online literary magazine Mascara and co-editor of the anthology Contemporary Asian Australian Poets. Her story in this collection, ‘Duende’, won the 2014 Hilary Mantel International Short Story Award.
216 pages Paperback, 19.7 x 13 cm Published September 2016 ISBN 9781925336146
Letter to Pessoa is the first collection of short stories by Indian-Australian poet Michelle Cahill. It is an imaginative tour de force, portraying a range of complex characters in social and political settings across the world, from Seville to Nairobi, Boston to Chiang Mai, Kathmandu to Kraków. Like the poet Fernando Pessoa, who gives the collection its title, and who created as many as seventy versions of himself, Cahill displays a remarkable inventiveness in the creation of perspectives and identities, making distant landscapes and situations come alive, as they express the fear and longing, obsession and outrage, of the people caught up in them. Displaying its awareness of the power of writing to create realities, the collection includes stories in letter form to Jacques Derrida, Virginia Woolf, Jean Genet, and to JM Coetzee, from his character Melanie Isaacs.