The sto­ries so far …

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - EL­IZ­A­BETH LORD Email el­iz­a­beth. lord@ news. com. au

Show­case of Tassie’s finest tales

AF­TER read­ing hun­dreds of Tas­ma­nian short sto­ries for their col­lec­tion Deep South, co- ed­i­tors Danielle Wood and Ralph Crane still find it dif­fi­cult to choose a favourite.

‘‘ Some­times I think it’s The Tas­ma­nian Devil by James Leakey,’’ said Crane, pro­fes­sor of English at the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia.

‘‘ Other times it’s Black Crows: An Episode of ‘ Old Van Diemen’ by A. Werner.’’

For Wood, au­thor of prize- win­ning novel The Al­pha­bet of Light and Dark, Carmel Bird’s whim­si­cal The Wood­pecker Toy Fact is a stand- out, as is James McQueen’s Death of a Ladies Man and Hal Porter’s Great- Aunt Fanny’s Pic­nic.

‘‘ But then I look at the list and see a story like Faith, Hope and Char­ity by Philom­ena van Ri­jswijk and it’s such a beau­ti­ful, re­ally ac­com­plished short story,’’ she said. ‘‘ And I re­ally love The Con­quest of Em­mie.’’ Twenty four sto­ries rang­ing from his­tor­i­cal to con­tem­po­rary fic­tion make up the Deep South col­lec­tion, all of which are ei­ther writ­ten by a Tas­ma­nian or have a Tas­ma­nian fo­cus.

Af­ter search­ing the state’s lit­er­a­ture his­tory, col­leagues Crane and Wood read hun­dreds of sto­ries be­fore de­cid­ing on the fi­nal list.

Aim­ing for a bal­ance across the 19th, 20th and 21st cen­turies, the sto­ries are grouped by themes rather than be­ing in chrono­log­i­cal or­der, a process that re­sulted in some quin­tes­sen­tial Tas­ma­nian con­nec­tions.

‘‘ We knew we wanted The Con­quest of Em­mie to be the fi­nal story and Rachael Trea­sure’s story fit just be­fore it but its au­thor, Joan Wise, ap­peared to be a mys­tery,’’ Crane said.

‘‘ We asked all the usual sus­pects about her but no­body knew,’’ Wood said.

‘‘ Fi­nally our ed­i­tor’s mother said, ‘ Oh, Joan Wise, she had three daugh­ters and one of them mar­ried Val Smith’ and I said, ‘ Val and Jenny Smith are Rachael Trea­sure’s par­ents!’

‘‘ So I rang Rachael and asked, ‘ Is Joan Wise your grand­mother?’ and she said ‘ yes’.

‘‘ Rachael knew her grand­mother was an au­thor but she knew noth­ing about the story – and we’d al­ready linked those sto­ries to­gether.’’

Wood, who teaches cre­ative writ­ing at UTAS, said it had been sat­is­fy­ing to share the sto­ries with her students.

‘‘ It’s nice for them to get a sense of the lit­er­a­ture pro­duced here be­cause there is some­times a sense that things hap­pen else­where, out­side of Tas­ma­nia,’’ she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.