OH LORDY LOOK AT THE TIME!
December draws to a close, and with it, a turbulent year for writers and readers.
A team of literary fans/tomb raiders unearthed and published Go Set a Watchman, a sequel to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The book was greeted with mixed reactions, chiefly for maybe, perhaps, being a terrible act of cultural vandalism and theft from a vulnerable aging author, and also for revealing Atticus Finch to be racist after all, ruining a million childhoods.
To segue: Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels came to an end with The Story of the Lost Child, but no end to the speculation around her true identity, with many pundits postulating the Ferrante must actually be a man, as no woman could possibly write so well about women. The world has a long way to go.
Speaking of which, we heartily endorse Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new work Between The World and Me. Written as a letter to his son, the slim book is a visceral and gut-wrenching examination of the physical legacy of slavery and racism. Everybody in the world should read it.
Speaking of which, Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life will make you cry forever. Read cautiously.
In wasn’t all gloom, of course. The arrival of a new Franzen novel, the Great American Novelist widely derided for understanding neither women nor the Internet released a novel about a woman on the Internet, and Purity was greeted by the online reading community with the grace and restraint of a cow being loaded into a cage of velociraptors.
Locally Steve Toltz’s Quicksand was as dark, but as broodingly hilarious as his debut capping off a strong year for local fiction, which kept its collective heads-up at a turbulent time for publishing everywhere.
Meanwhile, the arts community of Australia, and the literary sector in particular, watched with bated breath as vital funds were stripped from vital cultural institutions, then kind-of-sort-of reinstated, and then taken away again. It’s all been rather exhausting.
In any case, the time has come for anyone with an interest in writing and reading in Australia to close our laptops, turn off our phones, time-sucking little Tamagotchis from hell that they are.
That means that the team here at Writers Bloc will be taking a couple of weeks off attend to
stress eat, attend to our poor neglected piles of holiday reading.
We’re going to be with regular programming in early January, along with a couple of exciting new initiatives, including a revamped interactive Bloc Club, more video content, a monthly paid publishing opportunity for emerging writers of fiction, and an INCREDIBLY EXCITING SECRET NEW THING that we cannot talk about yet no even though keeping it hush pains us no end.
Oh, and we’ve got something special as a treat for the festive season to hold you — our dear, valued reader — over until we meet again, which we'll run on Wednesday.
So have a wonderful holiday, and read a book for us. Better yet, give someone a book. It's good for you.
The Writers Bloc Team.
Liam Pieper is the former Editor of Writers Bloc. His 2014 memoir, The Feel-Good Hit of The Year, was shortlisted for the National Biography Award and a Ned Kelly award. His most recent book is The Toymaker, which was long-listed for best debut fiction by the Indie Book Awards and won the Fellowship of Australian Writers Christina Stead Fiction Award. @liampieper