A Northern Rivers Romance
I began to imagine the landscape of Byron Bay, so as to rehearse in advance the pitfalls awaiting. For a setting: the vague image of a beach somewhere: a bright sun and a long curving beach populated by tourists in shorts and thongs, the air stinking of seaweed and sunscreen, a hot burning sensation spread across my cheeks and sand between my toes. High to the right, I saw a limestone lighthouse on a hill, and seagulls rising to a background of clouds. This seemed a suitable conception of a beachside paradiso, one likely to fit some part of the bay’s picture. A memory intervened in this idyll: I remembered what it should not be possible to forget: for a while, at least, I was a married man, and had honeymooned deep in the forests of the riverlands of northern New South Wales, stopping and staying in Byron on the way there.
Stranger In The House
The Slasher case begun in early 1956, when a cluster of disparate reports of prowler activity, break and enters and assaults on sleeping women were registered in the Kingsgrove and Beverly Hills area. The attacks increased in number, then dropped off, then spiked again in late 1958, and continued until an arrest was made in April 1959. The Sydney papers, particularly the afternoon tabloids Sun and Daily Mirror went large on the ‘Kingsgrove Slasher’ case right from the beginning, and much to the annoyance of police, that term stuck. The perpetrator, one David Joseph Scanlon, was ultimately charged with eighteen counts of break and enter and assault. The trial was a media sensation, and Brian Doyle, arresting officer and leading prosecution witness, went from being an obscure suburban detective to a national media figure.
‘For bad writers the idea of learning creative writing through education and training is unheard of. Learn? What do you mean learn? Good writing comes from the heart. This would be a completely unacceptable attitude in any other discipline. Would you try to perform brain surgery or replace a car engine or get into a professional boxing ring because you have heart? Nobody is denying that to be good at one of these professions you need to have a passion for them – but this is not supposed to be a substitute for education and training. Boxing is a particular area where I can draw some useful analogies because I was a fighter before I was a writer .’
Everyday Intimacies: An interview with Fiona Wright
‘It’s that wonderful mediating effect of writing, its ability to hold things clear that I’ve always been drawn to, and which is very similar to the way in which hunger works.’ Rachel Morley interviews poet, critic, editor and essayist Fiona Wright for the SRB.
Diabolus In Festum
‘It is the subtle duty of literary festivals and their variations to assure writers, with a vague but potent authority, that they are – despite their knowing self-doubts and anxieties – “writers”.’ Novelist Luke Carman on the festival circuit.’
by Michael Mohammed Ahmad
Published May, 2014
Language and Love: The Tribe by Michael Mohammed Ahmad
The Tribe tells stories of people of largely Lebanese Muslim origin, stories of the young narrator’s immediate and wider circle of family, friends, associates. In relating the lines of agreement as well as the points of dissension and tension among his people, Ahmad shows that there are various streams of belonging, some that flow fiercely, some that are shallow to the point of being non-existent.
Under New Management
The voices and stories of Ahmad, Polites and Carman work incredibly well together to create an interwoven picture of the lives of these young men in the suburbs of their youth. In this respect, Three Jerks cuts through the homogeneity of media images by introducing us to characters from distinctly different backgrounds, occupying the same streets and engaging in different ways.
An Elegant Young Man
by Luke Carman
Published November, 2013
Beat Poet Kool-Aid: An Elegant Young Man by Luke Carman
The decision to write in a semi-autobiographical style raises inevitable questions. Is this fiction or autobiography? To what degree can we speak of the narrator ‘Luke Carman’ as a ‘character’ in the author Luke Carman’s collection of vignettes?