Felicity Castagna’s most recent novel, No More Boats, was a finalist in the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Awards and is published internationally. She is also the author of Small Indiscretions and The Incredible Here and Now, which received The Prime Minister’s Award for Young Adult Literature. Her next book Girls in Boys’ Cars will be released in 2021. She publishes essays on home, suburbia, art-making and literature in many different places and reviews books for ABC radio and television. She is very interested in cross-artform collaboration and has worked with artists in many different fields to produce work for The Sydney Festival, The National Theatre of Parramatta, The Four Winds Festival, Parramatta Lanes and many other places. She also makes all sorts of collaborative, complex and dynamic stories with The Finishing School Collective.
All essays by Felicity Castagna
This part of the Parramatta River where I walk is the western end, the part where it turns shallow and serpentine. This is not the river of historical islands and weekend sailing and houses with water views; that exists where the river breaks into the harbour further east. This is the river of narrow channels and mudflats and mangroves; of sex clubs and factories and unmarked burial grounds; of lunatics and God and disappearing buildings.
Notes on Suburbia
If the photograph, as Susan Sontag claims, is a note-taking form, then these images are notes on suburbia. Suburbia not just as a place but as a way of thinking and living, a lens through which we can see the world and understand our place within it; suburbia as a possibility.
How It Feels To Float
by Helena Fox
Published April, 2019
Too Many Issues
I want to write an essay about Helena Fox’s remarkable Young Adult novel How It Feels To Float but I find myself distracted by the way that both reviewers and Young Adult literature advocates commonly talk about YA. I don’t want to talk about this book like that.
The Place on Dalhousie
by Melina Marchetta
Penguin Random House
Published April, 2019
Hopefully the Future is Dark
What I do know is that, while once simply writing the west was a threat to the status quo now the real political imperative is to stand in the dark with our eyes wide open, welcoming the uncertain. It is an invitation to undo the ways ‘things are done’ and invite alternatives into the equation. Bad writing has always been about having the last word and leaving others in silence. Good writing opens up a conversation about who we are that may never end.
All essays featuring Felicity Castagna
No More Boats
by Felicity Castagna
Published June, 2017
In The Estuary: Felicity Castagna’s No More Boats
In Felicity Castagna’s No More Boats, we are repeatedly reminded that the novel’s locale, Parramatta, marks the shifting aqueous site in Sydney’s Western suburban landscape where ‘saltwater meets fresh’. Historically, this is the place where Australia’s early colonial explorers, travelling up the Parramatta River from Sydney Cove in 1788, could take their boats no further. It is also one of numerous sites of resistance to European invasion by the Aboriginal warrior, Pemulwuy. In Castagna’s hands, this rich and multi-layered history of place is embodied in the topography of the Parramatta River and its intricate estuarine environment, creating a wonderfully nuanced metaphor.