Vanessa Berry is a Sydney writer and artist who works with history, memory and archives. She is the author of the memoir Ninety9 (Giramondo 2013), the ‘autobiographical almanac’ Strawberry Hills Forever (Local Consumption 2007) and Mirror Sydney (Giramondo 2017), an essayistic atlas exploring the city’s marginal places and undercurrents, and which won the 2018 Mascara Review’s Avant-garde Award for nonfiction, and was longlisted for the 2018 ABIAs and Waverly NIB Award. Her zines and hand-drawn maps have been exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Gallery of Australia and the Museum of Sydney. Her longest-running zine, I Am a Camera, was first issued in 1999. Mirror Sydney, which grew out of a blog of the same name she began in 2012, was launched as a podcast in 2020 hosted by Berry.
Vanessa Berry is an ideal observer because she accords everything she sees the respect of acknowledging the premises it was founded on. Her writing is thoroughly informed as well as affectionate and funny, and often deeply moving
320 pages Paperback with flaps, 24.5 x 17 cm Published October 2017 ISBN 9781925336252
In her delicately wrought essays and hand-drawn maps, Vanessa Berry describes her encounters with unusual, forgotten or abandoned places in the city in which she was born and raised, using their details to open up repositories of significance, and to create an alternative city, a Mirror Sydney, illuminated by memory and imagination. She writes at a time when Sydney is being disassembled and rebuilt at an alarming rate. Her determined observation of the over-looked and the odd, the hidden and the enigmatic – precisely those details whose existence is most threatened by development – is an act of preservation in its own right, a testament to what she calls ‘the radical potential of taking notice’.
160 pages Paperback, 17 x 15 cm Published August 2013 ISBN 9781922146328
In the last decade of the twentieth century, when music was recorded on cassettes and movies on VHS, Vanessa Berry was responding to the loneliness of life in the suburbs of Sydney by constructing imaginary worlds and identities from late-night music video programs, band T-shirts, mix-tapes and and the ‘dark energy’ of goth. Written and illustrated by one of Australia’s foremost zine-makers, Ninety 9 is a memoir about adolescence, its cherished objects, its magical places and, above all, its friendships –a personal guide to the end of the millennium for those who were too young to be there, and an intimate history, full of moments of recognition, for those who were.