What a year 2022 has been for short stories. I began my reading year with Rashida Murphy’s powerful collection The Bonesetter’s Fee (Spineless Wonders), and since then I’ve had the pleasure of reading another two outstanding collections: Mirandi Riwoe’s The Burnished Sun (UQP) and Fiona Robertson’s If You’re Happy (UQP). I’m now reading (I like to have more than one on the desk!) Andrew Roff’s The Teeth of a Slow Machine (Wakefield Press) and Ben Walter’s What Fear Was (Puncher & Wattmann)—brilliant, both of them.
I’ve also just finished Susan Midalia’s collection of very short stories, appropriately entitled Miniatures (Night Parrot Press). Having experienced a personally challenging few months, I found this volume of more than 100 stories a joy to read: many of them had me laughing out loud—usually having been taken by surprise. One consists of nothing but a title! I’ve often said that Susan is one of the wittiest people I know.
Miniatures also reflects other qualities I associate with the author: empathy, a preoccupation with language and what it can do, and a strong interest in compassionate politics and the environment.
Susan Midalia happens to be the director of the 2022 Australian Short Story Festival, which is being held this year in Western Australia, at the Fremantle Arts Centre, 28–30 October. Among the participants are visitors Fiona Robertson, Andrew Roff and Ben Walter, as well and Rashida Murphy and Susan Midalia, mentioned above, but do take a look at the full list of writers. I’m delighted to be taking part in a session on ‘Writing Fremantle’ with fellow writers Rita Tognini and Josephine Clarke.
The festival is extremely reasonably priced, at $20 per day for Saturday and Sunday. The full program is here.