MWF 2010 Itineraries

Last month, I put up a MWF personality quiz, which you can do here if you haven’t already. I thought I’d follow up with some MWF 2010 itineraries for each of the personalities:

For more helpful MWF itineraries (and laffs), check out Sam Cooney’s ‘Hay everyone gess what?’.

*Already sold out.

**Magazine is a refurbished shipping container showcasing both new and established literary journals such as Overland, Going Down Swinging, The Lifted Brow, and Kill Your Darlings.


February 1: What’s happening, Melbourne?

Catherine Deveny will be talking about freelancing at the annual National Editors Workshop and Skill-Share Conference this Wednesday (3 February 2010) at the new Wheeler Centre. Deveny starts at 6pm, followed by a performance from my favourite musical philosopher, Justin Heazlewood. 🙂

Read You Bastards No. 4* is the hap afterwards (from 7.45pm) at the Empress with special guests Shane Jesse Christmass and Andrew Croome. For those of you who have not ventured out to a Bastards night and sampled Bastards cake, you can read my posts on previous RYBs (No. 1, No. 3). Get in early before the cool kids from Three Thousand steal all the seats.

Caffe Sospeso’s February event has temporarily relocated to the Town Hall Gallery up the road. Otherwise, it’s the usual deal: starts at sevenish on the first Friday of the month with guest poets (David Gilbey and Randall Stephens) and a prize for the best themed open mic poetry (a copy of The Lifted Brow’s latest issue).

The Etchings Indigenous launch is also scheduled for Friday. Like the title suggests, all of the journal’s content is by indigenous artists, so if you’re in the St Kilda area, head down to Readings from 6.30pm-8.30pm. (Thanks Ilura Press for the thumbs up.)

Now if only I could teleport from one Melbournian suburb to another, life would be pink alligators.

*Bastards, you need a website and not just a Facebook fan page. 😛


First post for 2010. Whee. What shenanigans did you get up to over the break? I played it low key with some dirty Scrabble: we cheated, we collaborated, and we dropped a lot of dirty words:

NYE Dirty Scrabble (31/12/2009)

Scrabble is turning into a NYE tradition for me; I’m thinking of testing out Strip Scrabble for the next one and am in the process of laying down some rules. Rule No. 1: if you spell out an item of clothing, other players must remove said item of clothing. My Scrabble rules are a bit rusty, however, so I’m asking for online contributions. Feeling inventive? Write up a Strip Scrabble rule in the comments section of this post before the end of this month. The person with the best Strip Scrabble rule scores a free copy of Small Room Issue One.

You will submit to Small Room


Image courtesy of

Launching its first issue next week at Avid Reader in Brisbane, Small Room is proof that things do get published outside of Melbourne. (Thank dog!) Content will be from writers I heart like Josephine Rowe, Christopher Currie, and Chris Somerville, and will be presented on a fold-up poster.

Yep, Small Room is resurrecting the poster format that was the trademark of Is Not Magazine, a now defunct Melbourne institution (may it rest in peace). According to Small Room editor Bryan Whalen, the Gold Coast team independently came up with the idea; once they realised it had been done before, they caught up with Is Not’s Penny Modra for an interstate exchange. ‘Turns out the projects are similar, but different,’ Bryan explained. ‘Both poster mags, just different ways of going about distribution, folding, execution.’

Out to prove that big is not always better, Small Room publishes small fiction, poetry, and art: fiction under 1000 words, poetry under 1000 stanzas*, and artwork under 100 dpi. I had submitted one of my shorter pieces, and got promptly rejected, but turned the rejection into an information-gathering exercise. I sent the magazine questions like ‘Hey, why do you not like my work?’ and ‘How can you not see the beautiful genius of my words…?’ No, I didn’t ask anything obnoxious like that, but I did ask what they were looking for and whether there were any other literary journals that they dug. 

Bryan sent me a lengthy reply:

…we’re not really a literary journal. We never want to be a journal. We like being a poster. Art is integral to Small Room, as is literature. Thus, each issue will have a new guest designer who, after receiving the stories, will design the issue with in any medium they choose (as long as it remains poster sized). 

He gave a detailed explanation of the selection process. Three editors go through the submissions pile, then ‘Maybes’ are sent out to a circle of acquaintances for extra feedback. 

I suppose what we’re looking for is what we believe is “quality writing;” however, “quality” is obviously subjective. What makes good writing? I’m not certain. Every argument I could put forth, I could just as easily argue against. Perhaps good writing is rife with paradox. I have no idea…

So, what did SR hope to achieve? 

Small Room would like to expose up-and-coming writers to the masses, while also featuring respected talents. Issue One will be sold in art galleries, bookshops and coffee bistros around Brisbane, Gold Coast and Byron Bay. We’d like to grow into Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth and overseas, but this takes time. Small Room will always be a poster, because the format can vary: eventually we’ll play with themes, folds, designs, etc. Also, we’d like to remain relatively inexpensive, so as to get more posters into more hands.

The next submission deadline will be late March 2010—plenty of time to nab a copy of the first issue, read it, and create an appropriate submission, unless you’re lit-journal rich and reading-time poor like me. Ergh.

*Hang on, that’s not small at all. Crazy kids.

I can see how tagging might be fun…


'CONTRIBUTORS WANTED.' The Lifted Brow's fake rental ad @ Deakin Uni. (22/10/09)

'CONTRIBUTORS WANTED.' The Lifted Brow's fake rental ad @ Deakin Uni Burwod. (22/10/09)

Hi, my name is The Lifted Brow and I live in the DUSA Bookshop. I’m looking for some contributors to partake in my awesomeness. I like new art, music, and writing, and am friends with cool cats like Michaela McGuire, Kes, Ben Law, Mel Stringer, Spiral Stairs, Heidi Julavits, The Lucksmiths, and Neil Gaiman. If you do fiction, non-fiction, poems, incidental art, comics; if you’re Australian and rad, check out my pad at

You will submit to Peril’s ‘Why are people so unkind?’

Online Asian Australian culture magazine Peril is open for submissions again. Issue Eight’s theme is ‘Why are people so unkind?’

“Why Are People So Unkind?” has become a famous, perhaps notorious, Australian catchphrase. It’s attributed to our kaftan king and iconic Australian performer, Kamahl. Among other things, this issue of Peril challenges you to think about the ways in which cultural icons are created and maintained – what and who ARE our Australian icons these days? (Asian Australian Studies Research Network, 10 June 2009)

Issue Eight will be funded by the Australia Council, so Peril will be able to pay contributors. It publishes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, academic work, art, as well as blog-like articles containing links and embedded media (i.e. YouTube clips); it’s pretty flexible really, as long as submissions fits in with the style of the magazine.

Here’s a sample plate of what others have prepared earlier:

Photo courtesy of Kimi

Photo courtesy of Kimi

Submissions for Issue Eight close 30 September 2009.

One last note: Peril does not exclusively publish Asian Australian authors and artists, so don’t let its Asianness stop you. Sitting on something appropriately themed? Submit it stat!

You will submit to TLB7

Yep, it’s another Brow callout. You’d think that people would get sick of my Brow posts, but judging from the stats, maybe not. Nice to know that The Lifted Brow is getting lots of love on Google, or maybe people just want to check out that hot chick with the bia om T-shirt. Herm, back to Browing, submissions for Issue Seven are open until December 2009. For grant money purposes*, it’s going to be an all-Australian issue, and it’s going to be flogged like a <insert random word here>, so SUBMIT. Submission details are below:

The Lifted Brow is seeking submissions for an all-Australian issue until 1 December.

This issue, released in May 2010, will be subtitled The Lifted Brow Poor People Magazine. It will be printed as cheaply as possible, and hopefully sell for about $5. Disposable, rollable, this one will do well on bookshop counters; subscribers at the time will receive two copies, one already gift-wrapped. We want to get this into many grubby hands.

Why? Think about a publication like Kramers Ergot or Eyeshot – genuinely crazily cutting and fun; rough, great work from a bunch of people you don’t often hear from. Then try to remember the last time you picked up an Australian magazine that did that. You often can’t use the word “edgy” without wrecking it, but we’re putting together a collection of the that-word sort.

Hopefully half this issue will come from previously unpublished people. They exist: students are lazy about sending their stuff places, and Brow gigs are often full of good people who do art and writing in their spare time but don’t ever even consider publishing. All that said, we’re looking for previous Brow contributors too, and for good work from people who’ve had books out. And we never get enough artwork from anyone. Fiction, nonfiction, poems, incidental art, comics: the only dictum is “Australian and rad”. Or if you will, “Austradia”. The issue will not actually be called “Austradia”.

But hence the widest callout possible. Please do forward it, print it, or otherwise push it. We pay!

What is The Lifted Brow?

The Lifted Brow is a biannual attack journal from Brisbane and Melbourne. We debuted or have published early work by Australians like Michaela McGuire, Kes, Ben Law and Mel Stringer, alongside work by artists like Spiral Stairs, Heidi Julavits, The Lucksmiths, and Neil Gaiman. We publish many types of writing, art, and music, but have probably shown a preference for underground or experimental work.

Literary Minded says we publish “the cream of fresh Australian voices”. Rose Quartz says we’re “the best place to go if you want to get a head start on, oh, the next five years in indie rock”. HTMLGiant feels we’re “badass”. We try twice a year to print a big, chunky magazine with readers in mind and it works well; without making heaps of money, we remain an independent publication.

Our year-end issue is an atlas of the world, covering 246 countries and other places. It is guaranteed for a time to be the only world atlas that has David Heatley, Rick Moody, and Chip Kidd singing songs on it.

How to Submit

Email everything to with AUSTRADIA in the subject. We are always taking open submissions, but your work will be read with priority when it includes that header. We need to have received your work by 1 December 2009, and will respond by early January, probably earlier.

No more than three pieces per person. No word limits or minimums. Art and comics should look good in B+W and reduce to 210mm h x 142mm w – 300dpi, any format OK. Same with writing, but if you want to impress us, make it a Word doc, 12-point courier, double-spaced, numbered pages. Musicians: there won’t be a CD with this issue. We are not that bothered by the Australian idea: we don’t, say, have special all-Australian funding; if you are pretty much Australian, or even very like Australian, that is fine.

The Lifted Brow

*Disclaimer: grant money purposes might be a lie on my part. But who knows, maybe we’ll get very good at writing grant applications over the next six months. Maybe Tom Cho will write one for us. 🙂

Gourmet soup kitchen @ Fed Square

For those of you who are looking for a cheap, tasty treat before the Harvest launch, chefs from the Sofitel, Vue de Monde, and the European will be serving up gourmet soups at Federation Square to raise money for soup kitchens around Melbourne.

Just $2 will buy you a cup of soup straight from the city’s five-star restaurants at a soup kitchen with a difference…The soup sale will raise cash for Leader Community Newspapers’ Feed Melbourne campaign, which aims to raise $1 million to equip charities with vans, fridges and freezers to increase their capacity to store and deliver donated food to those in need. (Progress Leader, 18 August 2009, p. 8.)


Feed Melbourne At Federation Square

Date: Wednesday 19 August 2009

Time: 5pm to 7.30pm

Cost: $2 for soup.

Online Donations: or transfer funds electronically to: FareShare Feed Melbourne (BSB: 083-347; Account No: 892782342)

Four More Sleeps

The Melbourne Writers Festival starts this Friday, and I’m getting excited. Despite having lived in Melbourne all of my life, I have never been to the Melbourne Writers Festival, which is really poor form, considering that people like Angela Meyer move to Melbourne to get closer to the literary scene. Yes, I walk around with a paper bag over my head. And no, please don’t steal my paper bag to vomit your disgust into it. 

I wanted to go last year, but had unwittingly double-booked myself. While everyone else was listening to Nam Le, I was falling off ski-lifts in New Zealand. This year, however, I have cleared August of snowboarding, errant pharmacy shifts, weddings, and engagements. Only an invasion of three-legged aliens is going to stop me from making it to MWF 2009.

Workshops are getting booked out, but I’ve managed to score a spot on Wells Tower’s Small Lever, Big Rock: Short Fiction & The Simple Machines of Emotion.

There’s also a couple of Big Ideas talks at the RMIT Capitol Theatre that look interesting: Life, the Universe, and Nothing; The Future of the Book; and Does the End Justify the Means?

At Melbourne Town Hall, on Friday 21 August, Freedom of Speech: Should There Be Limits? With Ian Buruma will debate Geert Wilders and the Danish cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Toff in the Town is hosting some fun stuff. Spoken word artists such as Alicia Sometimes, and Emilie Zoey Baker will be performing a poetic tribute to Michael Jackson’s Thriller on Thursday night. while McSweeney’s (Futuristic) Antipodean Adventure will be happening Saturday night, 29 August. 

More performances are planned for the Festival Club. Wordplay’s scheduled for Sunday 23, with Geoff Lemon, and Nathan Curnow. Angela Meyer will be also doing her thing with SPUNC on Saturday 29.

Will I make it to any of the day events? Not likely, since I have to work (writers’ festivals = $$$$$). But Tom Cho will be discussing his book in Fable, Fantasy and the New Short Story. Brain Castro will be In Conversation on Sunday 23 August. McSweeney’sIsnotmagazine, and Torpedo will be fratenising with each other in Fly Like a Butterfly on Friday 28 August, while Krissy Kneen will talk on erotic writing with Linda Jaivin, and Nikki Gemmell in Put Your Hands All Over My Body. There is too much shit happening; I can’t deal with such excess (and neither can my credit card). Oh <insert alternative to God here>!

Thuy Linh Nguyen’s Ambitious MWF Itinery:
I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours…
Friday 21 August

Saturday 22 August

Sunday 23 August

Thursday 27 August

Saturday 29 August

  • McSweeney’s (Futuristic) Antipodean Adventure @ The Toff

Sunday 30 August

You will submit to Visible Ink

I can’t believe it. The boyfriend had netball. Sarah had a night shift. Everyone else…what was everyone else’s excuse? I’ve just been sitting in the Empress Hotel for the last three hours, randomly chatting to strangers and listening to more strangers read their stuff. Grr. NOT HAPPY. But I had promised to read tonight, so I did, performing my one and only good poem, ‘Red Den Beauty’, which will be appearing in the upcoming issue of Harvest.

Apart from the lack of friends, it was a good night. I got to chat to Tom Conyers about his book Morse Code for Cats, a contemporary novel about sex and drugs and a guy who tries to live his life like a book, and the friendly crew from Visible Ink 2009 happily answered all of my questions. I also scored a weird Greek pastry thingamybob and a copy of the Sleepers Almanac 2007. There were a lot of readings (some too soft for my underachieving ears), as well as some ’em & em dash’ beatboxing. 

Visible Ink is publishing its 21st bumper issue this year. There will be text, there will be artwork, and there will be funcakes at the November launch. The submission date is drawing near so do submit soon. I’m not sure what the editors are looking for, but have a read of the magazine’s older issues. If you’re still in doubt and are feeling charitable (there’s a $5 submission fee), send in your stuff anyway before 15 August 2009.