Pi.O and Yumna Kassab have been shortlisted for the 2020 Queensland Literary Awards

We are pleased to announce that Yumna Kassab has been shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Award for her short story collection, The House of Youssef, and Pi.O has been shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe award for his epic poetry collection, Heide. Read the judges’ comments below.

The judges on The House of Youssef:

The stories in The House of Youssef portray – with deceptive simplicity – the daily lives of Lebanese migrants in Western Sydney. With a minimalism that is at times brutal and always revealing, Yumna Kassab uncovers a world that is vibrant, difficult, loving – full of cultural negotiations, anxieties of displacement, and hope for the future.

The judges on Heide:

This is an epic work of art history and so much more. Frequently hilarious and always engaging, it tells the story of the development of settler art in Melbourne from its Eurocentric colonial origins through to the birth of something that might be considered Australian. Heide a major work that continually calls into attention the myth-making impulse on which so much history is built.

Three weeks until submissions close for The Novel Prize

The Novel Prize, which offers US$10,000 to the winner and publication of their novel, will close submissions on 1 JulyThe judges will be looking for novels which explore and expand the possibilities of the form, and are innovative and imaginative in style.

The winner’s manuscript will be simultaneously published in Australia and New Zealand by Giramondo Publishing, in the UK and Ireland by the London-based Fitzcarraldo Editions, and in North America by New York’s New Directions. 

For writers from outside Australia and Australasia, please visit www.thenovelprize.com

Writers from Asia and Australasia can enter here.

Read the terms and conditions before submitting your entry. 

Four Giramondo authors shortlisted for the 2020 NSW Literary Awards

We are thrilled that Lisa Gorton, Joanne Burns, Fiona Wright and Yumna Kassab have been shortlisted in the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Gorton’s Empirical and Burns’ Apparently are shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, while Wright’s book of essays, The World Was Whole, has been shortlisted for the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction, and Kassab’s The House of Youssef for the Glenda Adams Award for New Writing. 

Please see below for the judges’ comments. 

Empirical
Lisa Gorton
$24.00
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Empirical’s first section focuses on Melbourne’s Royal Park, which has been ear-marked for a motorway. In mesmerising fashion, Gorton unfolds and re-folds the landscape with the repetition of minutiae. The long central poem combines memory fragments into a bricolage of historical observations, government utterances, and other reportage about the park. The book’s second section is a daring and ornate leap into the European worlds of ancient statuary, the Crystal Palace, and the creative lives of Coleridge and Rimbaud. 

Empirical is an ambitious and accomplished work that gains cohesion through its concerns with perception, fragmentation, memory and place. Light is a central motif, falling on weeds or piles of rubble with the same equanimity as it does the walls of the Crystal Palace or a statue of the Venus de Milo. Gorton challenges us to question our hierarchy of perceptions and acknowledge that place could be ‘forever inventing a centre elsewhere’.

Joanne Burns is one of Australia’s leading poetic innovators. Her energised, animated poems synthesise often humorous, off-centre accounts of domestic and suburban life with an acutely modern sense of poetry, form, and image. In apparently, poem after poem dazzles with its wit—‘the room broods like an eternal hen’. The poet‘s masterly restraint helps build the satire, irony and psychological intensity of the work. Burns is a keen observer of human nature, and her perspicacity is matched by a wonderfully peculiar and uncanny appreciation for the power of poetic language.

In lines such as ‘I am not of the same stock cube as you’, Burns reenergises the sense that poetry can look sideways at reality, producing work that is both lyrically intuitive and liberating. apparently is a reverie that breathes fire into contemporary poetry ‘where [we] stand at the edge of the dream’.

Apparently
Joanne Burns
$24.00
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The World Was Whole
Fiona Wright
$29.95
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In this collection, Fiona Wright explores what it means to feel at home in a series of essays that are both personal and universal in their scope. This is a book about illness and the ways in which being in hospital, in treatment and in therapy can feel like being unhomed. It is a book about travel and the ways a traveller clings to habit to make provisional homes. And finally The World was Whole is a book about the places in which we live and their frequent precarity, the sharehouses and suburbs that house our bodies and lives.

Wright is an essayist with a distinctive and intelligent voice. She draws surprising and original connections between the social and the self in each of these essays. There is little of the claustrophobia that sometimes dogs the personal essay, that most contemporary of forms, in this beautifully crafted collection. Wright’s sharp observations of her world work to interrogate received notions of the way we speak and think about bodies and place.

The House of Youssef is a collection of stories that take us deep into the intimate lives of characters who are much more complex than their suburban lives might appear. A woman smokes cigarettes and thinks of her missing sons while trawling through the TV guide. A divorcee shrugs off advice from her family, who tell her to find another man or stay out of the sun to protect her once-pale skin. 

Set primarily among the Lebanese communities of western Sydney, these are stories of longing for things that can’t be articulated and of navigating familial and community relationships that can’t be escaped. Told in the stripped-back and intense style of Carver or Kafka, these stories do not waste a word. Every small gesture packs a punch and each detail carries the weight of a much larger life.

The House of Youssef
Yumna Kassab
$24.95
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Towards the End – launch speech by Philip Mead

Towards the End by Ali Alizadeh was launched by Philip Mead, at the Paperback Bookshop in Melbourne on 20 February, 2020. Below is an edited version of Mead’s launch speech. 

Welcome everyone. I’m delighted to be launching this latest collection of Ali Alizadeh’s poems, Towards the End, published by Giramondo. I’ve been following Ali’s writing now for a long time, ever since he sprung onto the scene in the late 90s as a new voice and a new sensibility. Ali Alizadeh: I’ve always thought of him as a double-A poet! Since then he’s become such an important and distinctive writer in Australia’s contemporary literary scene. He’s persisted with poetry, as we know, with two collections of his own work before this volume, and the collection of translations from Attar (2007), the great Sufi poet (of the late twelfth/early thirteenth centuries) – forerunner of Rumi and Hafiz. To give you some idea of the fascinating complexities that Ali traverses in his writing… (read more)

 

Giramondo Publishing, Fitzcarraldo Editions and New Directions launch The Novel Prize

Fitzcarraldo Editions, Giramondo Publishing and New Directions are pleased to announce The Novel Prize, a new biennial award for a book-length work of literary fiction written in English by published and unpublished writers around the world.

The Novel Prize offers US$10,000 to the winner in the form of an advance against royalties, and simultaneous publication of their novel in Australia and New Zealand by Sydney publisher Giramondo, in the UK and Ireland by the London-based Fitzcarraldo Editions, and in North America by New York’s New Directions. The judges will be looking for novels which explore and expand the possibilities of the form, and are innovative and imaginative in style.

The Novel Prize will be managed by the three publishers working in collaboration. Entries will be open from 1 April to 1 July 2020, with Giramondo reading submissions from Asia and Australasia, Fitzcarraldo Editions from Africa and Europe, and New Directions from the Americas. A shortlist will be made public in December 2020, with the winner announced in February 2021. The winning novel will be published in early 2022.

Nick Tapper, commissioning editor at Giramondo, commented: ‘The Novel Prize is an unprecedented opportunity for us to work with two of the world’s most distinctive literary publishers. We look forward to discovering original and challenging fiction from Australia and our region, and to publishing the winning work with Fitzcarraldo and New Directions.’

Fitzcarraldo Editions publisher Jacques Testard said: ‘Everyone at Fitzcarraldo Editions is thrilled to be working on the Novel Prize with Giramondo and New Directions, whose lists we admire enormously. After running our own novel prize for British and Irish writers for two years it’s very exciting to be “going global” with two like-minded publishing houses. Nothing like this prize exists and I can’t wait to see what gems we unearth in this inaugural iteration.’

New Directions publisher Barbara Epler said: ‘This is truly a first for us: though New Directions always aims to find exciting new voices, we are especially thrilled, in this novel adventure, to be casting a net over the entire Anglophone world with such wonderful and like-minded publishers as Fitzcarraldo and Giramondo.’

For PR enquiries, please contact publicity@giramondopublishing.com.

www.thenovelprize.com

 

Yumna Kassab longlisted for the 2020 Stella Prize

We are delighted that The House of Youssef by Yumna Kassab has been longlisted for the 2020 Stella Prize, an award that celebrates women’s writing.

The House of Youssef is a debut collection of short stories remarkable for its minimalism. Set in the western suburbs of Sydney, it portrays the lives of Lebanese immigrants and their families: their hopes and regrets, their feelings of isolation, and their nostalgia for what they might have lost or left behind.

Of the work, the judges said:

Rarely does a debut writer create a work this consistent in quality, technique and narrative form. The House of Youssef is a stunning collection of short stories exploring the intricacies of migrant life in Australia, and the pressures faced by culturally diverse Australians to balance their identity in a landscape that is constantly shifting when it comes to inclusion and equality.

 

 Kassab uses her sparse and thoughtful prose to bring to life generations of families, and constructs each character with compassion, generosity and detail. Whilst the stories all stand on their own individually, each builds on the next to create a strong collection that shines as a whole. Issues such as gender equality, poverty, racism and family dynamics come together to demonstrate the complexity of the Australian identity.

 

This collection suggests we have much more to look forward to from Kassab as an emerging talent.

Read more about the award on the Stella Prize website.

The House of Youssef
Yumna Kassab
$24.95
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Yumna Kassab shortlisted for the 2020 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction

The House of Youssef
Yumna Kassab
$24.95
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The 2020 Victorian Premier‘s Literary Awards shortlists have been announced, and we are delighted that The House of Youssef by Yumna Kassab has been selected for Fiction.

The House of Youssef is a debut collection of short stories remarkable for its minimalism. Set in the western suburbs of Sydney, it portrays the lives of Lebanese immigrants and their families.

’As the reader works through these vignettes, the many lenses through which these characters see the world becomes strikingly apparent, and their effect on the reader stunning. Minimalism is not just the format of this book, but it becomes its metaphor – a writerly tool – to express the ongoing effects of Islamophobia.’ – From the judges‘ report.

Read the full judges‘ report and an excerpt from The House of Youssef on the Wheeler Centre website.

Judith Beveridge wins 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Award

We are thrilled to announce that Judith Beveridge was awarded the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry in Canberra on 23 October, for Sun Music: New and Selected Poems. See below for the full judges’ comments.

Sun Music: New and Selected Poems
Judith Beveridge
$26.95
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With joyous fluency and formal mastery, Beveridge’s Sun Music: New and Selected Poems draws the reader into an electrifying encounter with language, guiding us through its flexure and torsion, its exacting grace. The selection of new poems in Sun Music linger on both the human and animal worlds, from the delicate texture of Banaras silk sari to cane toads to the act of juicing sugar cane, and are marked by their clarity of perception and attentiveness to textural and sonic detail. The titular elegy, ‘Sun Music’, is one of several where the poet turns to more personal territory, mourning the loss of a father who found redemption from drinking through bird-watching, finding himself ‘intoxicated / by the sea, the sky, the spindrift a new / spell he could steer his life by’. Beveridge takes a similarly ecstatic pleasure in the elements in many of these new poems, which balance the clamouring external landscape with a meditative, introspective interior world that increasingly seeks a language for loss and grief.

– Judges' Comments

Judith Beveridge, Keri Glastonbury and Suneeta Peres da Costa have been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

We are thrilled to announce that three Giramondo titles have been shortlisted in the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. They are Saudade by Suneeta Peres da Costa for the Fiction Prize, and Sun Music: New and Selected Poems by Judith Beveridge and Newcastle Sonnets by Keri Glastonbury for the Poetry Prize. 

Please see below for the judges’ comments. 

Saudade
Suneeta Peres da Costa
$19.95
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Suneeta Peres Da Costa’s – Saudade – is a beautifully conceived story told from the perspective of a young Goan migrant who lives with her family in Angola during the last years of Portuguese occupation. The author’s eye for vivid and telling details evokes the African setting in all its colour and richness. A sensitive portrayal of the narrator’s developing consciousness and her sense of uncertainty about her place in the world, the narrative explores the themes of displacement and belonging on an intimate level, through her relationships with her mother, the more distant figure of her father, and the family’s servant, Caetano. Beyond these personal relationships, it develops a nuanced understanding of the workings of race and class within a complex colonial society. Saudadeis notable for the gorgeous fluency of its prose style. Its moving story is told with an elegance and concision that exemplify the virtues of the novella form.

With joyous fluency and formal mastery, Beveridge’s Sun Music: New and Selected Poems draws the reader into an electrifying encounter with language, guiding us through its flexure and torsion, its exacting grace. The selection of new poems in Sun Music linger on both the human and animal worlds, from the delicate texture of Banaras silk sari to cane toads to the act of juicing sugar cane, and are marked by their clarity of perception and attentiveness to textural and sonic detail. The titular elegy, ‘Sun Music’, is one of several where the poet turns to more personal territory, mourning the loss of a father who found redemption from drinking through bird-watching, finding himself ‘intoxicated / by the sea, the sky, the spindrift a new / spell he could steer his life by’. Beveridge takes a similarly ecstatic pleasure in the elements in many of these new poems, which balance the clamouring external landscape with a meditative, introspective interior world that increasingly seeks a language for loss and grief.

Sun Music: New and Selected Poems
Judith Beveridge
$26.95
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Newcastle Sonnets
Keri Glastonbury
$24.00
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Keri Glastonbury’s Newcastle Sonnets is a post-industrial love song to the city of Newcastle: once working-class heartland, now a world-topping hipster cities. To Glastonbury’s eye the city is a ‘chiaroscuro of coal dust and sand’ – ‘plum blossoms line Pinnaroo Drive’ while ‘a shopping trolley rusts at the rocks’. Glastonbury’s sonnets, far from stultifying, are energetic and playful as they enact the associative freedoms of everyday speech. Her tone – wry, not sappy, politically savvy, not didactic – acts as a stabilising force beneath the nervous surfaces of the poems, allowing her to say whatever pops into her head without appearing random. Variously the poems address lovers and friends and frequently incorporate comical cameos from the political class – Tony Abbott, Bob Carr, Penny Wong’s speechwriter, and many more – but at least one politically apathetic Novocastrian remains: having none of it, she folds her ‘voting slip into an origami crane’.

Six authors to feature at the Melbourne Writers Festival

We are pleased to share the news that six Giramondo authors will feature at the Melbourne Writers Festival this year, including Ali Cobby Eckermann, Alexis Wright, Fiona Wright, Eunice Andrada and Fiona McGregor. Also appearing at the festival will be international guest, Norman Erikson Pasaribu, visiting from Indonesia.

Find full sessions details for all attending authors by following the links below.

Alexis Wright

Melbourne Masterclass: Alexis Wright – Sat 31 Aug, 6.30pm

Boisbouvier Oration: Publishing from the Provinces with Ivor Indyk – Wed 4 Sep, 6.30pm

 

 

Eunice Andrada

The Heart Bent – Sun 1 Sep, 4pm

Writing: A Liminal Art – Mon 2 Sep, 6pm

 

Ali Cobby Eckermann

Writers Across Borders – Sat 31 Aug, 9.30am

Samia Khatun: Australianama – Sat 31 Aug, 4pm

Local Libraries: Ali Cobby Eckermann – Thu 5 Sep, 7pm

On Voice and Power – Sun 8 Sep, 2.30pm

Fiona Wright

Fiona McGregor

The Politics of Disgust – Sat 31 Aug, 11.30am

Fiona McGregor: A Novel Idea – Sun 1 Sep, 4pm

 

Norman Erikson Pasaribu

Writers Across BordersSat 31 Aug, 9.30am

The Politics of DisgustSat 31 Aug, 11.30am

The Fifth Estate: The Future of IndonesiaSat 31 Aug, 2.30pm

Storytelling Live: Speaking of Love – Sat 31 Aug, 6.30pm

West Writers x WrICE: CRAFTSun 1 Sep, 11am

 

Judith Beveridge has been shortlisted for the 2019 Colin Roderick Award

Sun Music: New and Selected Poems
Judith Beveridge
$26.95
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The Colin Roderick Award, a prize for the year’s best original book, has announced the 2019 shortlist, and we are delighted that Sun Music: New and Selected Poems by Judith Beveridge has been chosen as one of the five shortlisted titles.

Selected from a longlist of twelve, Sun Music is the only poetry title on the shortlist. Poet Geoff Page described the collection in the Sydney Morning Herald as ‘mandatory for anyone interested in Australian poetry over the last four decades or so’.

The winning title will be announced on 31 October 2019. For more information on the award, please visit the Colin Roderick Award website.

Intoxicatingly wild and associative, yet honed and tempered by Beveridge’s singular craftsmanship,
Sun Music offers us the rarest of pleasures: a ‘clear elaborated nectar’ that sings. — Sarah Holland-Batt

Exquisitely wrought, imprinted with earth’s beauty as with the difficulties and injustices of life, the poems gathered in Sun Music confirm that Judith Beveridge is one of Australia’s truly great and enduring poets. — Peter Boyle

Norman Erikson Pasaribu on tour in Australia

Indonesian author Norman Erikson Pasaribu, whose poetry collection Sergius Seeks Bacchus Giramondo published in April, will be a guest of Queensland Poetry Festival and Melbourne Writers Festival in August and September. Norman will also appear in Sydney, joined by the translator of his collection, Tiffany Tsao. More information on these events can be found below.

Sergius Seeks Bacchus is the first poetry collection to be published in Giramondo’s Southern Latitudes series. Drawing on the experiences of fellow members of the queer community and especially on the poet’s life as a writer of Bataknese descent and Christian background, the collection furnishes readers with an alternative gospel, a book of bittersweet good news pieced together from the poet’s encounters with ridicule, persecution, loneliness, and also happiness.

BRISBANE

Queensland Poetry Festival, 23–25 August 2019

SYDNEY

In conversation with Tiffany Tsao, Better Read Than Dead, 29 August 2019

MELBOURNE

Melbourne Writers Festival, 31 August 2019
West Writers Forum, 1 September

Tom Lee named a 2019 SMH Best Young Australian Novelist

Tom Lee has been chosen as one of this years’ Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists for his first novel Coach Fitz. The award, given to writers who are 35 years or younger at the time of their book’s publication, was judged by Felicity Castagna, Delia Falconer and Jason Steger. 

Of his novel, the judges said ‘‘The pace of this novel is the pace of the narrator Tom and coach Fitz’s training sessions as they cover new parts of Sydney and engage in fine-grained analysis of the terrain and the philosophy of running. The obsessive, ritual nature of these discussions creates a strange, almost hypnotic narrative momentum that embraces some of life’s big questions.’’

Read more about this years’ award at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Coach Fitz
Tom Lee
$26.95
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Gerald Murnane, Alexis Wright and Michael Farrell are shortlisted for the 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

We are delighted to announce that three Giramondo titles have been shortlisted in the 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. They are Gerald Murnane’s Border Districts for the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, Alexis Wright’s Tracker for the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction, and Michael Farrell’s I Love Poetry for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. 

Please see below for the judges’ comments. 

Border Districts
Gerald Murnane
$24.95
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Any discussion of Border Districts, like much of Gerald Murnane’s work before it, is inevitably wrapped up in the known interests of the author. The unnamed narrator in the novel tasks himself to report on a liminal space, one that gains significance in a less geographical sense than that land made by thoughts appended to paper. The recurrence of colour, horseracing, religion and education are like so many corks on a tide, retreating and returning by the inescapable gravity of the author’s career-long interest. Such is the beautifully circular logic of Murnane’s rhythmic syntax that the reader is happy to be caught in its current, and measures time according to its slower pulse.

Murnane’s fastidiousness, his determination to integrate both his past and the purpose of writing, make him one of the most significant authors this country has produced. If, as Murnane has said, Border Districts is indeed his last work of fiction it is a fitting full stop to a particular view made large by the scrupulousness of the author’s astonishing talent.

A symphonic chorus of biography, Tracker presents the larger than life figure of Aboriginal leader and thinker Tracker Tilmouth, a charismatic figure who died in Darwin in 2015. Strategist, entrepreneur, political activist, Tilmouth imagined a bright future for Indigenous Australians and dedicated his life to initiatives that would secure their destiny in their culture. In a monumental work of collective storytelling, that builds in power like a musical fugue, Alexis Wright weaves together interviews with the many people who knew Tracker as family, friends and colleagues, to create a thrillingly complex, multi-faceted portrait.

Epic and ambitious, Tracker challenges traditional Western approaches to biography with its non-linear, often digressing multi-voiced collection of anecdotes and yarns, presented as if heard around an endless campfire. What emerges is a deep, richly layered, often surprising sense of a unique individual, passionately engaged in shaping the opportunities for his people to thrive and take pride in their culture.

Tracker
Alexis Wright
$39.95
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I Love Poetry
Michael Farrell
$24.00
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Michael Farrell’s latest book is a list and commentary on iconic Australian characters aligned with a number of famous international artists, poets, actors and a ubiquitous Pope. Unpredictable scenes unfold under Farrell’s laconic gaze and voice, sharks, Uluru, the Magic Pudding and an emu in police uniform facing hippogriffs, impalas, androids and Rome. The constant juxtapositions are both disconcerting and highly amusing.

The effect of this poet’s seemingly random associations goes beyond the intentional meaninglessness of surrealism, as an individual point of view emerges despite the deliberate avoidance of traditional grammatical connections. With characteristic flair and impressive risks with language, these poems are startling in their evocations of history and place, and the results are often equally dark and hilarious. I Love Poetry is a celebration of the senses and imagination.

Gerald Murnane and Brian Castro win 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

We are thrilled to announce that two Giramondo authors were awarded 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards in Canberra on 5 December. Gerald Murnane won the Fiction category with his ‘perfectly formed short work’, Border Districts, and Castro won the Poetry category with his verse novel, Blindness and Rage: a Phantasmagoriadescribed by the judges as ‘notable for its mordant wit, its rich allusiveness and the invigorating fluency of its verse’. See below for the full judges’ comments.

Border Districts
Gerald Murnane
$24.95
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In Border Districts, Gerald Murnane has distilled the various elements of his inimitable literary sensibility into a perfectly formed short work. The logic of this unique book is associative rather than narrative. Styled as a ‘report’ on the images that strike the mind of its narrator, it has him relating scenes from his childhood and adolescence, reflecting on the books he has read, remembering old acquaintances, and taking in the landscape of the small borderland town where he has come to live. The narrative is an exquisite prism of introspection, in which a life’s experiences are carefully ordered and transformed into art by virtue of the patterns they come to form in the mind and the profoundly evocative qualities they have acquired. Rendered in crystalline prose and touched with an elegiac pathos, Border Districts is the crowning achievement of a singular literary career.

– Judges' Comments

Blindness and Rage is a verse novel – composed of thirty-four cantos – notable for its mordant wit, its rich allusiveness and the invigorating fluency of its verse. Characterised by its author as a ‘phantasmagoria’, it describes the adventures of a terminally ill poet from Adelaide named Lucien Gracq, as he undertakes a final journey through the seamy underbelly of the literary world in the hope of realising his desire to complete his own epic poem. Blindness and Rage displays the formal inventiveness that has long been a feature of Brian Castro’s work, but it is also an extremely funny book, packed with jokes and wordplay that wrings considerable delight from Gracq’s gloomy outlook. Blindness and Rage is a wicked satire on pretension and futility, a poem about ambition and literary endeavour as paths to frustration and failure, but it is itself a poem that manages to avoid these pitfalls and achieve a brilliant success.

– Judges' Comments

Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria
Brian Castro
$26.95
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We are especially proud to have four Giramondo authors as finalists this year, with two other titles shortlisted for Poetry: Bonny Cassidy’s Chatelainein which Cassidy creates what the judges called ‘an audacious new architecture of meaning’, and Fiona Wright’s Domestic Interior, ‘intoxicating in its imagery’. The full judges’ comments are available here.

The awards were presented by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield at a ceremony held at Parliament House, Canberra.

Gerald Murnane, Brian Castro, Fiona Wright and Bonny Cassidy are shortlisted for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

We are pleased to announce that four titles published by Giramondo have been shortlisted for this year’s Prime Minister’s Literary Awards: Gerald Murnane’s Border Districts in the Fiction category, and Bonny’s Cassidy’s Chatelaine, Brian Castro’s Blindness and Rage: a Phantasmagoria and Fiona Wright’s Domestic Interior in the Poetry category. See the judges’ comments below for each of the shortlisted titles.

To view the full shortlist, please visit the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards website.

Border Districts
Gerald Murnane
$24.95
Buy here

In Border Districts, Gerald Murnane has distilled the various elements of his inimitable literary sensibility into a perfectly formed short work. The logic of this unique book is associative rather than narrative. Styled as a ‘report’ on the images that strike the mind of its narrator, it has him relating scenes from his childhood and adolescence, reflecting on the books he has read, remembering old acquaintances, and taking in the landscape of the small borderland town where he has come to live. The narrative is an exquisite prism of introspection, in which a life’s experiences are carefully ordered and transformed into art by virtue of the patterns they come to form in the mind and the profoundly evocative qualities they have acquired. Rendered in crystalline prose and touched with an elegiac pathos, Border Districts is the crowning achievement of a singular literary career.

Judges' comments

Blindness and Rage is a verse novel – composed of thirty-four cantos – notable for its mordant wit, its rich allusiveness and the invigorating fluency of its verse. Characterised by its author as a ‘phantasmagoria’, it describes the adventures of a terminally ill poet from Adelaide named Lucien Gracq, as he undertakes a final journey through the seamy underbelly of the literary world in the hope of realising his desire to complete his own epic poem. Blindness and Rage displays the formal inventiveness that has long been a feature of Brian Castro’s work, but it is also an extremely funny book, packed with jokes and wordplay that wrings considerable delight from Gracq’s gloomy outlook. Blindness and Rage is a wicked satire on pretension and futility, a poem about ambition and literary endeavour as paths to frustration and failure, but it is itself a poem that manages to avoid these pitfalls and achieve a brilliant success.

Judges' comments

Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria
Brian Castro
$26.95
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Domestic Interior
Fiona Wright
$24.00
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Domestic Interior by Fiona Wright invites us to observe Australian life through the lens of the suburban domestic. Wright’s aim is not to replicate notions of domestic space as one that inhibits its female occupants, but rather one that, if properly calibrated to the moment, is copious in its catalogue of energies. Wright’s meditation on domestic interiors extends to the interiority of the self as she turns her gaze outdoors. ‘Sometimes a reorientation’, she says, ‘presents another face to the sea’. In ‘Winter Pastoral’ she juxtaposes the concrete imagery of road kill – ‘dead wombats bouldered / and wild-eyed wallabies / vaulted the boundary fence’ – against the unexpected marvel of the sky: ‘I’d forgotten how stars giddy / out here,’ she says. Finding herself in Berlin, the poet is disoriented but enthralled inside a foreign language: a woman on a train hands her ‘the word Pfingsrosen, / a peony plucked from her own front yard’. The poet later recalls ‘a white lace dress. We’re drinking gin,’ she says, ‘muddled with cherries’. Intoxicating in its imagery, Domestic Interior affirms language, even its smallest components, as the prime constituents of our inner world.

Judges' comments

Chatelaine by Bonny Cassidy puts the word centre stage. Cassidy’s poetry is rooted in her investigations of language, an interest in a feminist consciousness, and her capacity for renewing meaning as a virtual space of desire. The reader enters a poetic world of ‘noisy secrets’ in which ‘riddles multiply’ to generate a reading experience in which it is more rewarding to ask than to answer: ‘Question nearly everything, read it again,’ the poems command. ‘Why do you do this?’ and ‘who else owns your body?’ From pilgrims to daleks, a shimmering heath to a basement carpark, Cassidy tunnels in opposite directions – accelerating through time, dreams, myth and person – to stake a territory beyond the language of the familiar. The poems in Chatelaine coalesce in a dream in which Cassidy renovates the ancestral household into an audacious new architecture of meaning.

Judges' comments

Chatelaine
Bonny Cassidy
$24.00
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Alexis Wright and Michael Farrell have won 2018 Queensland Literary Awards

Giramondo is thrilled to announced that Alexis Wright and Michael Farrell have been awarded 2018 Queensland Literary Awards. Wright was awarded the University of Queensland Non-fiction Book Award for her “stunningly innovative” book Tracker, while Michael Farrell was awarded the Judith Wright Calanthe Award, a prize for an outstanding collection of poetry by an Australian writer, for his collection, I Love Poetry. See what the judges had to say about each title below.

To view the full list of winners, please visit the Queensland Literary Awards website.

Tracker
Alexis Wright
$39.95
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This book is stunningly innovative in the way it brings the life and story of Tracker Tilmouth to the printed page. Tracker was a visionary Aboriginal leader who used his knowledge of economics to further opportunities for his people. This book is operatic in form, soaring to great heights and depths, always fascinating and ultimately illuminating about this Indigenous leader who remains unknown to many non-Indigenous Australians.

Judges' comments

One of the country’s foremost poets, Michael Farrell opens a door and invites the reader to step beyond the threshold of disbelief into a new and dazzling world. In I Love Poetry, his commitment to Australia as subject, and to poetry as a mode of thought, gains power with each fearless interrogation. Farrell remixes the Australian experience though a multiplicity of word play, bush poetic, irony, fragmented joy, and surprise cameos from Australian icons such as INXS and Waleed Aly. A truly inventive book, I Love Poetry brings a whole new dimension to Australian camp: extravagant, subversive, and hilarious, but also profound in its capacity to reimagine the terms with which we inhabit this complex continent. In the great tradition of queer Australian landscape poetics, like Patrick White, David Malouf, and Martin Harrison, Farrell recombines Australian ecology, history, and mythology into glorious, and very funky, new forms. But despite the book’s grand canvas, many of the poems feature a startling intimacy: the poet has become as open to the details of his self as he has always been to the currents and conjectures of pop culture, literature and philosophy; all is vibrant, viable material for this lyrebird of Australian poetry.

Judges' comments

I Love Poetry
Michael Farrell
$24.00
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Giramondo to publish A Novel Idea by Fiona McGregor

Giramondo has acquired A Novel Idea, a new book by author and performance artist Fiona McGregor. The book, a photoessay memoir that depicts McGregor’s writing of her Age Book of the Year award-winning novel Indelible Ink, will be published in March 2019. World rights were sold to Giramondo by Jane Novak.

Giramondo Commissioning Editor Nick Tapper said of the acquisition: ‘We’re delighted to be publishing A Novel Idea, which brings photography into dialogue with Fiona McGregor’s prose writing and performance work. The photoessay is a much-neglected genre, but Fiona turns and modifies it in unexpected ways, bringing her own sense of rhythm and intensity to the work. She gives an honest and moving, and very funny, self-portrait over years of artistic labour, showing the work of the writer in a way not seen before.’

A Novel Idea is a photoessay about the process of writing a novel. Begun four years into the writing of McGregor’s Age Book of the Year Award-winning novel Indelible Ink, it is a tongue-in-cheek rumination on the humdrum and loneliness of the novelist’s daily life, and the act of endurance which the writer must perform. Using text, and photographs taken on a hand-me-down camera, the book creates an in-depth portrait over several years of labour and procrastination, joy and despair. She works on the novel alone in her flat in Bondi with nothing but a desk, a pin-board, a laptop and a cat. McGregor also travels to Berlin and Estonia, and the book captures details of the world outside as they intrude. McGregor’s voice is wry, vulnerable, at times caustic, capturing the colloquial qualities of her fiction and the durational nature of her performance art via the ephemeral and essential thoughts that make up an author’s days, weeks, years.

Fiona McGregor is a Sydney author and performance artist. Since 1993, she has published five books, including Indelible Ink, which won The Age Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Indie Book awards, the Barbara Jefferis Award, and the Western Australian Premier’s Awards. Her other books include Strange Museums, a travel memoir of a performance art tour through Poland, the short story collection Suck My Toes, which won the Steele Rudd Award, and the underground classic chemical palace.

Mariana Dimópulos, author of All My Goodbyes, on tour in Australia

Argentinian author Mariana Dimópulos, whose novel All My Goodbyes Giramondo published last year, will be holding several public events in Australia in August and September. Dimópulos will appear at events in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, joined in some by her Australian translator Alice Whitmore. More information on these events can be found below.

All My Goodbyes was published in Giramondo’s new Southern Latitudes series in August 2017, and will be published in the United States in January 2019 by Transit Books. Dimópulos’ next book, Pendiente, is forthcoming from Giramondo in April 2019.

Dimópulos is currently undertaking a residency at the JM Coetzee Centre in Adelaide, sponsored by the ARC Discovery Project ‘Other Worlds: Forms of World Literature’.

 

SYDNEY
31 August: Mariana Dimópulos, Literary Reading and Q&A with Ivor Indyk – Western Sydney University, Parramatta Campus, EA.G.03, 1pm
4 September: Mariana Dimópulos in Conversation with Ivor Indyk – Gleebooks, Glebe, 6pm for 6.30pm
CANBERRA
29 August: Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies, Australian National University (details to come)
MELBOURNE
6 September: In Conversation: Mariana Dimópulos and Dr Alice Whitmore – Monash University, Caulfield Campus, Building S, Room S901, 2pm
6 September: Salon Series: Mariana Dimópulos in Conversation with Anna Macdonald – Paperback Bookshop, Melbourne, 6pm