Review: Verandah 24

It’s weird reading the subsequent issue of something you’ve been published in.Your issue was a darling, perfect child: you loved its aesthetic, the words that were yours, the words that weren’t yours…And then, a year later, you are sitting at your desk, looking down at this upstart publication that has nudged your pet issue off Readings’ shelves, and you’re feeling disgruntled. Verandah 24, eh? What’s with the squarish pages? The pixelated cover?

Okay, so I am a little bit biased. Verandah 23 was my first reading. It’s special. But Verandah 24 is still a decent publication. Opening with a story rife with sexual confusion and teen-angst, it showcases poetry, literary and genre fiction, and art. Like most anthologies, some of the work wasn’t to my taste, but I did like Deb Wain’s ‘Morning Stranger’ and Adam Tucker’s ‘The Boy, His Mother, the Father, and a Dog’. Both stories were suggestive, alluding to backstage events: the disappearance of a girl, the death of a dog. I also enjoyed the lean feel of ‘First Date’ by Jacinta Butterworth, the exaggerated ‘bureaucration’  of ‘In Paper Hallways’ by Rhett Davis, and the Rhys Tate’s compact yet fleshed out ‘Something We Have Lost’. Slotted in between the stories are poems and artwork: my favourite was Erica Hurrell’s photo with its cheeky title and vibrant colours.

Apart from an interview with Tom Cho and a microscopic interview with Ross Hunter (why interview only one prize-winning contributor?) Verandah 24 stays clear of non-fiction. Like the artwork and poetry, the interviews helped break up the fiction monopoly but I would have liked to see an opinion piece or maybe a script thrown into the mix. It’s a bit much to ask, since the journal is entirely made up of unsolicited submissions, but something that future contributors might consider taking advantage of.

Verandah 24 is available at Readings and DUSA bookshops or can be purchased from its website.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Verandah 24

  1. Hi Thuy, I just stumbled upon this. A fair review and it’s great to see one; to know that Verandah is out there getting recognised. In defense of the editing team, we had many restrictions placed on us in production of the journal. We would have loved to have included more interviews and non-fiction, but the fact is we had a page limit and we didn’t receive any publishable non-fiction or scripts. I don’t think we even received a script actually, despite practically knocking down doors! And there was maybe only one or two non-fiction pieces.

    Also, re: the pixellated cover. We all loved the image but unfortunately the artist had passed away (it was submitted by her sister) and we could not obtain a higher resolution image but we decided it meant enough to us all to use what we had anyway.

    Obviously I am biased as well but I hope this shows there’s always more going on behind the scenes than is no doubt apparent with a finished product at the end, but still it is fair enough to judge that finished product as it appears. I’m looking forward to seeing Verandah 25 but I’ll no doubt feel a little like you did seeing Verandah 24 ;]

    • Thanks for the reply, Blue Mahy. I always like finding out why editors do certain things with their publication, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

      I was talking to Rhys Tate the other day about Verandah 23’s submissions. They didn’t get much creative non-fiction either. I’m not sure why people aren’t submitting more of the stuff. Maybe they’ve looked at older issues and noticed a lack of representation? Silly really. Verandah’s about embracing all writing genres.

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