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We’re thrilled that Fiona Wright’s Small Acts of Disappearancehas been shortlisted for the Stella Prize.
The judges say:
Small Acts of Disappearance is a collection of essays on anorexia, a disorder as disturbing as it is mysterious, even to its own sufferers. Documenting Fiona Wright’s experience from the beginning of her affliction, when she was a student, to her hospitalisation with a life-threateningly extreme version of the illness, the essays display a candour and an intelligence that describe the course of her illness with great precision and illuminate the sufferer’s motives and actions over time.
The narrative is crosshatched with other experiences and subjects: travel, autobiography, and literature – in particular writers who have used their art to anatomise the extremity of compulsion. The range of Wright’s research, from contemporary neurobiologists to old school modernists, and the quality of her insights make Small Acts of Disappearance a valuable book. Wright brings a sometimes melancholy, sometimes comic, well-informed honesty to an important subject.
For the full shortlist, click here.
The judges’ citation is as follows:
Just about every poem in this volume is impressive, masterful, suggestive, discomfiting. This is forceful poetry that lives up to its title, showing violence, damage, anxiety: seismic tremors of personal, cultural and global dimensions. From the ‘locals’ of Sydney’s various ‘Wests’ to Sri Lankan and other south-east Asian and Pacific memories, images, Wright interrogates eg. her grandfather’s stories of war, Marjorie Barnard’s persimmons and waterways as different old Adaminaby flooded and the turn-of-the century Crimean coast with its ‘baigneurs’ (men who helped ladies take to the waters). These poems show ‘bruising’ to be a mark of human experience and writing. At once both physically ‘real’ and as well highly metaphorical Wright’s poems confront, tease and detain us with their complex insights and serious intelligence.