Thursday Choice Cuts

“Australians have a unique capacity to celebrate failure,” writes crime novelist Angela Savage in a piece on travelling, writing, Australia and the grandeur of failure published today on her blog. “I stumbled across a wonderful example of this during a recent visit to Red Cliffs in Victoria’s Mallee region. Red Cliffs’ main tourist attraction is Big Lizzie, the largest tractor ever built in Australia … The 45 ton wonder was built by engineer Frank Bottrill in Melbourne over a 12-month period, with the idea of replacing the camel trains that carried loads of wool and other goods over sandy terrain … With a top speed of 2 miles an hour, Big Lizzie left Melbourne in early 1916, expecting to be in Broken Hill by early 1917. She never made it that far, breaking down, forcing bridges to collapse under her weight, turning back from flooded rivers.”

The Orange Prize for fiction by a woman has been awarded to Téa Obreht, who at 26 years young is the youngest writer to have taken out the prize in its 16 year history. Serbian-born, New York-based writer Obreht won for her debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife, which a Guardian report describes as being “set amid the horrors and aftermath of Balkan civil war, mixing magic, myth and folklore with intense, tough realism.”

We recently wrote of a push to inaugurate an Australian prize for women’s fiction. That prize has since been dubbed the Stella Prize.

AIDS is 30 - a grim birthday. The New York Review of Books blog has published an account of the ravages of the early years of the epidemic by activist Bill Hayes.

In the 1970s, a young boy called ‘Kraig’ was the posterboy of psychiatry’s ability to ‘treat’ homosexuality. This is his story.

Fancy a three-month writer’s residency in Shanghai or southern India? Applications close July 1.

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