Brothers & Sisters
Your brother or sister, it might be said, is your other self - your grander, sadder, braver, shrewder, uglier, slenderer self ... Your sibling is your most severe judge and your fiercest defender. You must always rescue them. They always abandon you ... You recognise one another, this is your relief and your ruin. They are your duty. They stun you with the sudden presence and force of their goodness. They give you Christmas presents that show you are strangers. You are strangers. You love them; it cannot be explained why or how.
Introduction to Brothers & Sisters; read the full introduction here.
A girl sneaks into her brothers’ rooms to rummage through their pockets while they’re out. A man boards a plane to go to his brother’s funeral. Another man’s brother comes home from jail. A young woman watches her sister embrace life and London while she is left behind. Two girls compete for the colour pink and their father’s love.
Trespass and abandonment, old secrets and new truths, rivalry and protection, love and fear: twelve of Australia’s best writers tell surprising stories of the abiding bonds—bad, beautiful or broken— between brothers and sisters.
Critics and readers alike have long commented on Charlotte Wood's acute ability to dissect sibling relationships in her novels. Lifelong resentments, tensions, alliances and affections between brothers and sisters play out in her books to brilliant effect. Here, Charlotte brings her skills to an anthology of newly-commissioned stories by well-known and new writers - Nam Le, Christos Tsiolkas, Tony Birch, Tegan Bennett Daylight, Robert Drewe, Ashley Hay, Cate Kennedy, Roger McDonald, Paddy O'Reilly, Virginia Peters, Michael Sala, Charlotte Wood - who have written about the sister/brother relationships, both in fictional and non-fictional forms.
- Read reviews & extracts here.
- Meet the writers and learn about their stories here.
- Charlotte talks about the process of editing the collection here.
Brothers & Sisters - The writers & their work
’s The Yarra
is a sinisterly spectacular story about the dark loyalty in brotherly love, and is Nam’s first work published since his multi-award-winning collection, The Boat
, took the world by storm in 2008.
was published in 2008 and has since been translated into twelve languages. Its honours include the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dylan
Thomas Prize, the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award for Book of the Year, the UTS Glenda Adams Award, the Pushcart Prize, and selections in The Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelists and US National Book Foundation ‘5 Under 35’ awards. It was also selected as a New York Times
Notable Book, New York Magazine
’s best book debut of 2008, and a book of the year by The Age, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, the Herald Sun, The Monthly
, and other sources around the world. Nam is currently the fiction editor of the Harvard Review. www.namleonline.com
image © Matt Valentine 2009
’s The Disco at the End of Communism
, in which a man attends his brother's untimely funeral, where he must face down that brother's family of judgmental friends and lay to rest old ghosts, has all the challenging verve and wild, spiky energy of that award-winning torpedo into the heart of middle Australia, The Slap
Christos is the author of four novels: The Slap,
which won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Overall Best Book, the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal, the Booksellers’ Choice Award and the ABIA Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award; Loaded
, which was made into the feature film Head-On; The Jesus Man
; and Dead Europe
, which won the 2006 Age
Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. Christos also collaborated with Sasha Soldatow on Jump Cuts
and is the author of a monograph on Fred Schepisi’s The Devil’s Playground
. He is also a playwright, essayist and screenwriter. He lives in Melbourne.
follows up her award-winning short fiction and her much-lauded new novel
with Beads and Shells and Teeth,
a deeply moving portrayal of two little girls waiting for their father to come home from the Vietnam war - and with his return, perhaps a way of seeing each other as something other than adversaries.
Cate is the author of the short story collection, Dark Roots;
the memoir Sing, and Don’t Cry: A Mexican Journal;
and two collections of poetry, Signs of Other Fires
. Her novel, The World Beneath
was published in September. Her short stories have been published widely, appearing everywhere from The New Yorker
to The Big Issue
. She lives in Victoria’s north east with her partner and daughter, fitting in as much writing and reading as possible.
’s Paleface and the Panther
, where a swift and sinister tide-turning takes place at a lunch between half-brothers, is a dazzling display of the laconic wit, lyricism and skewering of pretension that has made Drewe one of Australia’s best loved authors.
Robert grew up on the West Australian coast, the setting for his best-selling memoir The Shark Net
. His other work includes many novels and short stories. The Drowner
won the Premiers’ literary awards in every State, as well as the Adelaide Festival Prize and The Australian
Book of the Year Award, and was named one of the ten best international novels of the last decade. His most recent book is the short-story collection The Rip
. After 25 years constantly in print, his story anthology The Bodysurfers
has recently been made a Penguin Classic.
follows up his Miles-Franklin-winning The Ballad of Desmond Kale
with Family Radio
, in which an ageing radio shock jock faces his past, and is revealed to himself and his rough-hewn family of self-made siblings.
Roger is the author of seven novels: 1915, Slipstream, Rough Wallaby, Water Man, The Slap, Mr Darwin’s Shooter, The Ballad of Desmond Kale
, and of two books of non-fiction, Shearers’ Motel
, and The Tree In Changing Light
. His work has been awarded The Age
Book of the Year Award, the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the South Australian Premier’s Literary Award, the Adelaide Festival Book of the Year, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and the O. Henry Prize (USA).
Tegan Bennett Daylight
delves, with Daylight's trademark Alice-Munro-like precision, into a young woman's quiet bewilderment at her sister’s skill at growing up and finding love, while she is left yearning and lonely in London.
Tegan was born in Sydney in 1969. She is the author of the novels Safety
(2006), What Falls Away
(2001), and Bombora
(1996), as well as short fiction and books for children and teenagers.
's essay, The Singular Animal
, examines through her own experience the myths and misconceptions that plague "l‘enfant unique" - the only child - and the judgments that fall upon parents who have one.
Ashley is the author of the non-fiction books The Secret, Gum, Herbarium
(with the visual artist Robyn Stacey).
A former literary editor of The Bulletin
, her words have also appeared in journals and anthologies including The Monthly, Best Australian Essays, Heat
and the Griffith Review
. Her first novel, The Body in the Clouds,
will be published by Allen & Unwin in 2010. Based in Brisbane, she is a happily siblingless and happily resolute mother of one.
Paddy O’Reilly's One Good Thing
chillingly explores a boy's ruthless wielding of power over his sister - and her best friend - to devastating effect.
Paddy is one of Australian fiction's rapidly rising stars. She is the author of a collection of award-winning stories, The End of the World
; a novel, The Factory
, and a novella, ‘Deep Water
’, in the anthology Love and Desire,
edited by Cate Kennedy. She has won many prizes including The Age
short story contest. www.paddyoreilly.com.au
image © Sabina Hopfer
Tony Birch's Blood is the story of Nez and Jesse, two tough little kids with the matter-of-fact resilience of children who have seen and experienced too much, too young. A funny, moving yet unsentimental story about abandonment and protection, about making your own family, and the enduring power of love.
Tony has published widely in short fiction, both in Australia and internationally. His linked collection of short stories Shadowboxing (Scribe Publications) was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award in 2006. Tony teaches in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne and his new collection of stories, Father's Day, was published in October.
's Like My Father, My Brother
is a tender and skilful portrayal of the complicated love and rivalry between two young men when an old, unspoken wound lies at the heart of their brotherhood.
Charlotte first came across this newcomer's work when she was among the judges of his entry in The Australian
Vogel Award in 2007, and could not forget it. Michael was born in The Netherlands, and immigrated to Australia twice with his family, first as a five-year-old and again when he was ten. He has experimented with various careers, including law, medicine and teaching. In 2007, he was shortlisted for The Australian
/Vogel Literary Award. He is working on his first novel while completing a PhD at the University of Newcastle. Since agreeing to contribute to this collection he has had short fiction published in HEAT
and Best Australian Stories 2009.
is one of the most exciting new voices in Australian fiction. About the Others
is a sharp, rudely funny, elegantly gothic exploration of family favourites, sibling rivalry and the inescapable emotional bondage between mother and daughter.
Virginia's short stories have appeared in The Sleepers Almanac, New Australian Stories
and UTS anthologies. She is currently working on her first book, a creative non-fiction project focused on the area of crime. Virginia is enrolled in the research program at Newcastle University. She lives in the Northern Rivers region of NSW with her partner and three children in a little place called Coorabell, not far from Byron Bay.
's The Cricket Palace
sees a widowed elderly woman accompany her sister on a trip to Greece, where she must begin to confront not only her grief, but her own nature.
Charlotte is the author of The Children, The Submerged Cathedral
and Pieces of a Girl,
and the editor of Brothers & Sisters.
Her novels have been shortlisted for various prizes including the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the regional Commonwealth Writer’s Prize.