2020: Empty Sky
Empty Sky is the 34th collection from the prestigious Creative Writing program at the University of Technology Sydney.
I talk to God but the sky is empty - Sylvia Plath
With 33 contributions spanning fiction, creative non-fiction, screenplay and poetry, Empty Sky explores what it means to live in past, present and future spaces, as writers contemplate and share works about the self, relationships and place. Empty Sky opens with a story about the troubling, intrusive memory of a recent relationship and ends with a remarkable viewing of the end of the world. Within the anthology, the pieces move from the quotidian to the extraordinary, mirroring the times in which we live.
This year’s foreword is by the award-winning author and freelance writer, Bri Lee, currently the UTS Copyright Agency Writer-in-Residence.
Contributors to Empty Sky include Zoe Downing, John Kilbey, Judi Morison, Tom Disalvo, Clare Doughty, Grace McManus, Keira Baker, Harry Webber, Alexander Jan Barendregt, Sophie Katherine Serafim, Eva Baxter, Georgia Wilde, Lucia Mai, Lily Cameron, Clare Shiu, Alec Le-Grand, Caroline Rannard, Zachary Agius, Verity Borthwick, Arielle Bodenstein, Chris Cameron, Zohra Aly, Amanda Rosso Buckton, Robert Carter, Andrea Kovacic, Lily Velez, Samantha Todd, Jazzlyn Innes and C. Winspear.
Empty Sky is published by XOUM, an imprint of Brio Books. The publishers have worked with a UTS student Editorial Committee who have driven the production, design, editing and promotion of the anthology. Together they proudly continue to showcase the best of emergent writing from the UTS Creative Writing Program.
The smoky sky is empty: a deficit of light and sound, devoid of sentience… or is it?
Our world is tumultuous – from political upheaval to environmental decay, the Earth is in the process of shifting and reforming. Technology surrounds us, encroaching. Society both evolves and regresses. 2020 was dealt a somewhat cruel hand: fires swept through Australia and the COVID-19 pandemic permeated every aspect of our lives.
In one way or another, struggle is a part of us. These pieces depict precisely that. There is fantastic struggle against the self and the world and whoever is listening, and in this way, these works cry out to be read. They show that human lives are full: full of fighting and grief, full of compassion and joy. Full to the brim.
Zoe Downing is an aspiring crime writer based in Sydney. When she’s not writing about herself in the third person she likes to play golf and visit cold places. She’s currently completing an MA in Creative Writing at UTS and working on a novel inspired by her time living in the French Alps.
Judi Morison writes short fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction, and is working on her second novel while waiting for a publisher to snap up her first. She is also editorial assistant for Dreaming Inside: Voices from Junee Correctional Centre, an annual anthology of writing by Aboriginal inmates.
Harry Webber is a Sydney-based, Newcastle-bred writer who works as an editor for an online music and pop culture magazine. In between attending live music events in pubs and clubs around town he is currently completing a Master of Arts in Creative Writing.
Lucia Mai is currently studying Law and Creative Writing at UTS, which is a bit like when Troy Bolton decides to major in dancing and basketball at the end of High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Lucia’s talent is being able to fit her fist in her mouth, although this is inadvisable during public health crises.
Lily Cameron is an emerging writer and editor based in Sydney’s inner west. Her work predominantly focuses on simple representative moments, often exploring queer identities and experiences. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, Filter and elsewhere.
Alec Le-Grand is a non-binary writer, editor and drag artist. Usually found across Oxford Street and Sydney’s inner-west supporting inclusive queer events, they also spend time outside of the nightlife reflecting, writing and rallying about issues at the intersection of queerness, environmentalism and decolonisation. You can follow their escapades on all platforms @_cloverfields_.
Clare Shiu is a Hong Kong-born Sydneysider teaching English literature in high school. Most of her days are spent reading, writing and marking with her dog Frankie curled at her feet. ‘The Tofu Man’ is her first published work.
Praise for the UTS Writers' Anthology
The UTS Anthology, which started in 1982, has been an integral aspect of our literary landscape, providing highly gifted and mostly young writers - Nam Le is one often mentioned - from one of Australia's longest standing writing schools with a place to publish.
Literary journals provide quirky proof of print's durability (subscription)