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BOOK REVIEW: Wordlines: Contemporary Australian writing (selected by Hilary McPhee, Five Mile Press)

Hilary McPhee, as many will know, is one of Australia’s most respected publishing figures. Thus, my reaction to hearing that she has created a collection of Australian short fiction was one of excitement. And I was not disappointed. McPhee has brought together a collection of work that is, almost universally, excellent. For the hesitant, there are familiar names—Drusilla Modjeska, Alex Miller, Nam Le, whose compelling ‘Cartagena’ from The Boat opens Wordlines. Woven in among the more established names are writers that were completely new to me and were a great joy to discover. As a fairly regular reader of short fiction, opening with ‘Cartagena’ had me worried that I was going to end up rereading many pieces that I’d read before. However, ‘Cartagena’ was the exception. Indeed, many of the pieces in this collection have been written especially for it. Wordlines is intended to be the first in a series, which is another exciting bit of news. I look forward to reading future instalments and reaping the benefit of McPhee’s accomplished eye for enthralling, entertaining and challenging writing.

Eliza Metcalfe is a freelance writer and editor and former assistant editor of Bookseller+Publisher magazine. Wordlines will be published in July.



Category: Fancy Goods Reviews