2014: Sight Lines
Sight Lines is the 28th collection from the prestigious Creative Writing program at the University of Technology Sydney.
Sight Lines showcases fiction, memoir, scriptwriting and poetry from some of Australia’s most striking young voices. Meet the writers here.
The editorial committee is a small group of student volunteers. They began their work in November, faced with the enormous task of selecting thirty-one pieces from over 350 submissions. They have spent the consecutive months working on each stage of the book’s publication, and are very proud of the collection they have produced.
Sight Lines was launched by Christos Tsiolkas at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. For more information see the Sydney Writers’ Festival website.
Every day we encounter the unfamiliar. Yet there’s nothing so strange as to walk in another’s shoes. To gaze upon the world from their line of sight.
By Hannah Kent
Not so long ago, while I was studying at university, I worked casual hours at a bakery. It was a job I enjoyed: letting myself into the warmth of the store in the dark morning hours to sort rolls into baskets, and serve blinking, tousled early-risers. Most of the customers were regulars and many would ask me—as they waited for their loaf to be sliced—what else I did with my life. When I told them I was studying creative writing, some would immediately, derisively, ask me why.
My knee-jerk reaction was to respond, ‘Because I love it,’ but I also knew that this was not the right answer. Their ‘why’ was not really a question at all, but an accusation of frivolity and inconsequentiality. They wanted me to tell them why writing was necessary. They wanted proof of its indispensability—not just to myself, but also to others.
Of course, literature is indispensable, but it can be difficult to articulate why, especially to those predisposed to think otherwise. These days I am glad that I was confronted with these demands to defend creative writing (despite the excruciating awkwardness at the time), because they prompted me to reflect deeply on the worth of literature, and the worth of my calling. If we are to succeed as writers, we must understand what it is we offer.
There are some people who claim that literature makes us better people. I disagree, both as a reader and as a writer. Great literature does not (nor should it) make us righteous, although it may inspire us to change. It does not instruct, although it may prompt us to act. It is complex, and it celebrates complexity. It questions. It doubts. It plumbs the depths of the human heart and surfaces with both beauty and the ugliness that lurks in unacknowledged corners. It is at once strange and familiar, and we are made both strange and familiar through it. It both slakes curiosity, and sets it burning.
Literature can be at once a mirror of distortion, exaggeration and accuracy, where we see some aspect of ourselves reflected back to us. As readers we may recognise our own foibles, passions and attitudes in the lives of characters, and be either reassured or discomforted. As writers we may be forced to attend to our limitations and our prejudices, while simultaneously heeding our curiosity and wonder.
It is in collections such as this, the twenty-eighth UTS Writers’ Anthology, Sight Lines, that we find pressing proof of literature’s capacity to bring us new ways of looking at things. While many of the authors featured here may just be starting out on their careers, it is clear from their strong, original voices that the future of creative writing is bright and its relevance certain. The imagination and intelligence evident here are thrilling in their promise.
In this anthology the reader finds stories of displacement, of the frailty and poignancy of human connection. Can we ever truly understand others? Can we ever truly be understood? What is the cost of perfect recognition? At times the reader is shown what has been hidden, or disregarded, and is asked to judge, bear witness or find meaning. Other stories simply invite us to understand and share in the rich emotional lives of characters experiencing regret, boredom, love, or anger. Beauty is found in language, which has been made strange and renewed again. We are transported through time, ages, landscapes and cultures. There is humour here, too.
Most significantly, the sheer variety of subject matter in Sight Lines assures us that literature is not limited in its usefulness and scope. Emerging writers bring with them unique perspectives and possibilities. Here, then, is an offering of thirty-one new ways of seeing the world.
Hannah Kent was born in Adelaide in 1985. As a teenager she travelled to Iceland on a Rotary Exchange, where she first heard the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, which would become the subject of her debut novel, Burial Rites.
Hannah is the co-founder and publishing director of Australian literary journal Kill Your Darlings, and is completing her PhD at Flinders University. In 2011 she won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award, from which Burial Rites emerged. This, her first novel, has been translated into twenty languages. Hannah has won a number of prestigious literary awards for her work, including the 2014 Indie Awards Debut Fiction of the Year. Her book was shortlisted for the 2014 Stella Prize, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Fiction, among others.
Bron Bates has worked as an editor and writer in online and print media since 2003. She has been studying for her MA in the UTS Creative Writing program while raising her three children, the youngest of which was born one year into her degree. She lives in Sydney with her partner, Mark.
Emily Brugman recently finished a degree in Writing and Cultural Studies at UTS. She edits the Flashers column at Seizure, interns at the NSW Writers’ Centre and sells books at Gertrude and Alice Bookshop Cafe in Bondi. In her spare time she likes to surf and plant succulents in recycled baked-bean cans and crochet pretty covers for them.
Sophie Burkett is a writer of fiction, government briefing notes and shopping lists. Her first short story, Miss Daisy’s Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse, made it in to the online edition of the 2013 Anthology.
Eleanor Chandler is a fledgling writer and editor who has recently completed her undergraduate degree at UTS, which included explorations overseas in Japan and the UK. She was on the editorial committee of the 2012 UTS Writers’ Anthology, Hide Your Fires. This is the first time her work has been in print. You can talk to her via twitter at @eleanorchandler.
Tom Chapman lives and surfs in Manly, Australia. He loves his wife, Rhiannon, and their beautiful daughter, Olive. Occasionally he writes.
Daniel Comensoli is 22 and lives and works on a fruit farm. He’s just finished the first year of a Writing and Cultural studies/International Studies degree. He likes average romances and guitar bands, and isn’t ruthless enough in monopoly. This is his first time published.
Caroline Connaire is a writer of very short fiction. She is half Irish, half Palestinian and prefers Smarties to M&M’s. Her piece ‘Portumna’ was published in the 2013 UTS Anthology The Evening Lands.
Noni Cowan graduated from UNSW in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Performance Studies and Spanish and is now doing her Masters of Media Arts Production. She likes to write about awkward interactions, this is her first screen play.
Brendan Gallagher is currently completing a Master of Arts in Journalism, although he finds writing fiction better suits his tendency to make things up. His first published fiction was featured in The 2013 Big Issue Fiction Edition. This will be his second.
Mark Gertskis was born on the other side of the Iron Curtain and moved to Sydney when he was nine. He cut his writing teeth reporting on local politics and suburban dramas, and now divides his time between working as a newspaper subeditor, travelling the world and inventing dramas of his own.
Alison Gibbs is completing her MA in Creative Writing while raising two boys and running her own writing consultancy from her home in Sydney’s inner west. Her short fiction has been published in Australia and the UK and shortlisted for the occasional prize with limited success. ‘The Ends of the Earth’ was among the final nine stories considered for 2013 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Prize.
HT Hack is a dissatisfied Sydney bookseller and part of the UTS postgraduate writers’ programme. His writing explores things that make people angry. He hopes to not completely waste his twenties.
Sam Hemmings is a weary commuter, barefoot in nature. He is currently finishing up a Grad Dip in Creative Writing at UTS but is based in the Illawarra region, mainly for the pides.
Louise Jaques is a writer of poetry, short stories, and screenplays. Last year, she lived in Spain, and collected fridge magnets from every European country she visited. She is in her final year of Public Communications and International Studies at UTS.
Adam Jeffrey has always been a fan and beneficiary of beginner’s luck, a view reinforced with this story’s acceptance into the Anthology. While intending to keep working on a longer piece of fiction as he completes his Masters, don’t expect to see another of his short stories ever published.
Georgie King is currently doing her Masters in Creative Writing at UTS. She is delighted to have been included in this anthology.
Isabelle Li‘s stories have appeared in various literary anthologies including The Best Australian Stories, Southerly, UTS Writers’ Anthology, and Sleepers Almanac. Having recently completed her manuscript for a short story collection, A Chinese Affair, she is now working on a novel.
Johanne Lihou has been an author since she was five, making up bedtime stories for her little brother. The world of make-believe has only become clearer since then.
Tom Lodewyke lives in the Blue Mountains. He is in the second year of his Writing and Cultural Studies degree, and hopes to become a writer in the absence of any other employable skills.
Christopher Marcatili is mostly a fiction writer with an interest in all things weird and wonderful. Now he’s finished his Masters of Creative Writing he’s working on some long-form fiction. This is his second publication and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Paul used to work in theatre until she had a mid-life crisis and gave it all up to go back to school. She completed her first Masters in Non-Fiction Writing mid-2012 and her second in Creative Writing at the end of 2013. She teaches Theatre Production to aspiring performing arts students, and writes and self-publishes popular romantic fiction at Gretel Park Publishing (gretelpark.com).
Joel Perlgut has been published in Time Out Sydney, Texas Travesty and the Voices Project, an anthology of short plays by Currency Press and ATYP. He just started working as a volunteer on 2SER radio, which he’s pretty excited about.
Grant Poulton is in his final year of the MA in Creative Writing and spends his time reading and writing, making bad pottery and keeping house for his family.
Gail Priest is a sound artist whose practice spans performance, recording and installation. While she has written quite a lot of commentary about the arts, she is only just beginning to venture into narrative-based creative writing. She is interested in developing a ficto-critical style that melds her interests in media art and future fiction.
Hannah Story is a budding writer set to become the real-life Hannah Horvath, only with short stories instead of personal essays. Her fiction has appeared on Seizure Online, in the UTS Writers’ Anthology 2013: The Evening Lands, and in Visible Ink 2013: On The Ledge Of The World.
Ian Streeter lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. He’s often found in, on or near the water. A lawyer by day, ‘Homecoming’ is his first published fiction. He has serious doubts about writing his own bio in the third person.
Ashleigh Synnott is completing a Masters in Non-Fiction Writing at UTS. She lives and works in Sydney.
Penelope Watson Janu is a solicitor and legal academic who lives in the suburbs with her partner, six great kids, and one hairy dog. She is enrolled in the MA in Creative Writing and working on her first novel.
James Worner is completing a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at UTS. A former high school English teacher, he has previously earned a Master of Adult Education, also from UTS. He is currently at work on his first novel, a work of historical fiction set on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.
Kate Adams is a writer, editor and bookseller based in Sydney. She has a BA (Honours) in Writing & Cultural Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Editing & Publishing from UTS, and her short story ‘Crystallised’ was published in the 2013 UTS Writers’ Anthology. She is a book hoarder, and currently has no plans to cure this compulsion.
Angus Benson was published in the 25th UTS Anthology of 2011 with his short story, ‘Down South’. He finished his graduate certificate in editing last year at UTS. He’s passionate about writing, family and an appropriately placed comma.
Emily Brugman recently finished a degree in Writing and Cultural Studies at UTS. She edits the Flashers column at Seizure, interns at the NSW Writers’ Centre and sells books at Gertrude and Alice Bookshop Cafe in Bondi. In her spare time she likes to surf and plant succulents in recycled baked bean cans and crochet pretty covers for them.
Caroline Connaire has just completed her degree in Writing and Cultural Studies. She likes to edit her friends’ online dating profiles and believes the antidote to any bad day is a stroll to the bookstore to purchase books she can’t afford. She wants to be an editor one day so that she can actually afford them.
Amelia Cox is a writer and editor who has completed a Master of Writing at UTS. She enjoys finding the heart of each story she edits and has an obsession with clarity. She writes with a glass of wine in hand and edits strictly sober. You can reach her at email@example.com
Christopher Marcatili has completed an MA in Creative Writing and has edited academic and creative texts. Though he enjoys his freelance editing and the opportunity to work with authors, the writing is really where it’s at. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Story is Assistant Editor at street press mag The Music, and has previously worked with a literary agent and a digital publisher. In 2013, she was Editor of UTS’s Vertigo magazine, where she first started to mark up docs with her fountain pen (and track changes).
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