Short Stories

Book cover
The Night We Ate the Sparrow

by Morris Lurie
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction · Short Stories

Acclaimed short story writer Morris Lurie lures the reader into a world where a world famous engineer is mourned by his four ex-wives who meet once a month (along the one who would have been number five) while his son, the narrator, travels the globe trying to work out how not to run from love; an art critic’s (good) advice takes years to digest; a middle-aged man recalls being a young Adonis and how it worked for him as a door-to-door salesman; a father is always given the same present; while in the title story, a twenty-six-year-old in swinging London with an acrylic fake fur overcoat finds himself in hospital and very hungry…

‘Lurie is sentimental and cynical at once. He knows it, he exploits the paradox, and finally it’s his personality, charming, sensitive, a bit of a bastard, that makes them [the stories] work, through the medium of his prose with its warm poetic vernacular rhythms, persuading us just to listen …’ — Marion Halligan, The Canberra Times

First published in 1985, The Night We Ate the Sparrow was joint runner-up, National Book Council Awards for Australian Literature in the same year.

Morris Lurie (1938–2014) was a novelist, memoirist, award-winning short story writer and children’s author. His short stories have been published in widely in magazines, newspapers and literary journals such as The New YorkerThe TimesThe TelegraphMeanjin and Overland. His books include The Twenty-Seventh Annual African Hippopotamus Race (1969), Flying Home (1978), The Night We Ate the Sparrow (1985), Whole Life (1987) and Madness (1991). In 2006, he was the recipient of the Patrick White Award.


Book cover
The Moving Shadow Problem

by Peter Murphy
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction · Short Stories

Appropriately for Covid times, these are stories about characters faced by a confusing world and often living largely in isolation – yet with rich and intense interior lives, particularly when confronted by unusual circumstances…

 

First published in 1986. The story ‘Cane Toads’ shared the short story prize in Western Australia’s 150th Anniversary Competition with Peter Goldsworthy and two other writers. 

Peter Murphy works across a range of writing and art forms – poetry, plays, fiction and photography – often with a taste for the absurd as he contemplates the riddles of existence. His most recent work is a book of poetry, Finishing Stroke (2021).


Book cover
The House of Breathing

by Gail Jones
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction · Short Stories

This original, dazzling and wide-ranging collection of short stories from acclaimed author Gail Jones takes the reader around the world and covers topics ranging from poetry, to Freud, to the Titanic.

‘Jones’s (Fetish Lives) tales could be read for the sheer enjoyment of her unusual, eclectic subject matter and her poetic technique. Yet the very precision of her language and her brilliantly expressive imagery encourage the reader to consider the deeper meanings of the text.’ — Publishers Weekly, US

In 1991, The House of Breathing won the T.A.G. Hungerford Award, and it was published in 1992 to immediate acclaim, winning the Western Australian Premier’s Fiction Award, the Steele Rudd Award, and the Barbara Ramsden Award. 

Described in the Daily Telegraph as ‘a novelist who deserves to be celebrated’, Gail Jones’s work has been critically acclaimed and widely translated, and has won multiple awards including The Age Book of the Year, the ALS Gold Medal, and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. In 2011, she was awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal and the Sydney Pen Award.


Book cover
Stories from the Warm Zone and Sydney Stories

by Jessica Anderson
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction · Short Stories

Jessica Anderson’s multi-award-winning two-part short story collection contrasts the warmth and innocence of a child’s world in Brisbane between the wars with the harsh realities of adult life in 1980s Sydney.

First published in 1987, Stories from the Warm Zone and Sydney Stories won The Age Book of the Year Award and The Barbara Ramsden Award. It was shortlisted for the NBC Banjo Award, and commended in the FAW ANA Literature Award.

Jessica Anderson (1916–2010) was a novelist and short story writer. Her books include The Commandant (1975), Tirra Lirra By the River (1978) which won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 1978, and The Impersonators (1980), which won the same award just two years later, along with the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction (1981). Her 1989 novel Taking Shelter is also in the Untapped Collection.


Book cover
Sapphires

by Sara Dowse
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction · Short Stories

Drawing on the Yiddish tradition of story-telling, the award-winning Sapphires is constructed of thirteen interlinked stories that tell of journeys in the lives of the descendants of Ruchel Kozminsky who left Russia in the 1890s—Miriam, Bernice, Janet, Alice and most centrally Evelyn, a Sydney-based television comedy writer. A haunting, evocative and often funny account of love, family and belonging.

Sapphires was first published in 1994 and won the ACT Book of the Year Award in 1995.

Sara Dowse is a critic, artist and award-winning author. Her novels include West Block (1993; 2020), Digging (1996) and, more recently, As the Lonely Fly (2017).


Book cover
Jumping at the Moon

by Venero Armanno
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction · Short Stories

In his assured debut collection of short stories, award-winning author Venero Armanno takes the reader around the world: in Melbourne, a man in a love triangle is excited about his ‘personal computer system’; an ex-husband returns reluctantly to Sicily after ten years when his ex-wife falls off a ladder; a couple have an affair in snowy Holland; and a painter recounts a story about East Berlin, before the wall came down, because everyone has a story… 

First published in 1992, Jumping at the Moon was joint runner-up in the Steele Rudd Award. The collection launched Venero Armanno’s literary career, leading to an agent, two novels released in quick succession and, subsequently, international publication. 

Of his later, critically acclaimed novel The Volcano, in the context of placing him within what might be called the ‘post-migrant’ generation of writers, Kerryn Goldsworthy wrote in Australian Book Review: ‘Like [Fotini] Epanomitis and [Christos] Tsiolkas, Venero Armanno was born in Australia of immigrant parents; like theirs, his work shows the complexity, the exuberance and the linguistic confidence and playfulness of his origins.’ 

Now an Associate Professor in the School of Communication and Art at The University of Queensland, Venero Armanno has written young adult fiction, drama, film scripts and eleven novels. His books include My Beautiful Friend (1995), Strange Rain (1996), The Volcano (2001) which won a Queensland Premier’s Award for Best Australian Novel, The Dirty Beat (2007), and, most recently, The Crying Forest (2021). His short stories have been included in anthologies in Barcelona, Hungary, Canada and Serbia. For more information visit veneroarmanno.com


Book cover
Home Time

by Beverley Farmer
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction · Short Stories

Set across Australia, Greece and the USA in the mid-twentieth century, this collection of fourteen stories follows a disparate series of people at critical junctures, grappling with loneliness, fear, belonging, mental illness, disability, aging and longing. An emotionally challenging and deeply rewarding read.

First published in 1985, Home Time was shortlisted for both the National Book Council Award for Australian Literature in 1985, and The Age Book of the Year for Imaginative Writing.

Beverley Farmer (1941–2018) was a novelist and short story writer. Her works have won and been shortlisted for multiple awards and include Alone (1980), Milk: Stories (1983), A Body of Water (1990) and The Seal Woman (1992). In 2009, Farmer won the Patrick White Award.


Book cover
For the Patriarch

by Angelo Loukakis
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction · Short Stories

Described by Patrick White as ‘splendid stories’, Angelo Loukakis’s provocative and beautifully written collection For the Patriarch depicts moments in the lives of a diverse group of characters in inner-city Sydney.

First published in 1981, For the Patriarch won the New South Wales Premier’s Ethnic Affairs Commission Award in that same year and was on the Higher School Certificate syllabus for fifteen years. It was first reissued in 2012. Writing of the second edition in the Australian Book Review, Elizabeth Holdsworth described it as ‘an important landmark in migrant writing’.

Angelo Loukakis has long been involved in the publishing industry as an author, publisher, editor and, from 2010–2015, he was Executive Director of the Australian Society of Authors. His books include Vernacular Dreams (1986), Messenger (1992), The Memory of Tides (2006) and Houdini’s Flight (2010).


Book cover
Canberra Tales

by Seven Writers
Ligature untapped
genre Anthology · Short Stories

‘This book is a collective effort. In 1980 some of the writers met for the first time to form a writers’ group. The group, “Seven Writers”, now flourishes and gives each member the necessary support and critical encouragement to develop her own and the others’ work. When the group formed no one had published more than a few short stories or poems.’ — From the Introduction to Canberra Tales, first published in 1988 and reissued in 1995 as The Division of Love.

Canberra Tales offers an authentic taste of life in the nation’s capital during the 1980s, as well as the work of each of its members: Marion Halligan, Dorothy Johnston, Margaret Barbalet, Sara Dowse, Suzanne Edgar, Marian Eldridge and Dorothy Horsfield. Between them they went on to produce works that have received critical acclaim and won or were shortlisted for multiple prestigious awards. Marion Halligan, Sara Dowse and Margaret Barbalet all have other books in the Untapped Collection. 


Book cover
A Little More

by Margaret Scott
Ligature untapped
genre Anthology · Essays · Poetry · Short Stories

In 1999, Margaret Scott contributed an essay to 40 Degrees South magazine. It began, ‘If The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald are to be believed, I have, late in life, changed from being “a little known poet” to a “cultural icon”.’ This collection of her essays, poetry, extracts from her books and tributes from her friends celebrates a woman comedian Mikey Robins describes as ‘a bloody legend’.

A Little More was first published in 2005, shortly after Margaret Scott passed away. She was involved in the selection of the pieces.

Margaret Scott (1934–2005) was an award-winning poet, academic, novelist and non-fiction writer. She was awarded the Centenary Medal for outstanding contribution to Tasmanian literature.