2017 was a ripper of a year for Brow Books. We published Shaun Prescott's critically acclaimed novel, The Town – which has since been acquired by Faber and sold into several territories. Then we published Law School: Sex and Relationship Advice from Benjamin Law and His Mum Jenny Phang, the irreverant advice book that might just fix your sex life, your personal life, maybe your life generally. And in November we released The Best of The Lifted Brow: Volume Two, a collection of the best pieces to come out of our print magazine over the last five years.
We're thrilled to announce our plans to publish a bunch more new titles over the course of 2018. Our list will continue to grow, featuring a diverse range of fiction and non-fiction – everything from translated short fictions from Indonesia to a genre-blurring masterwork from a writer at her peak to a collection of unique drawings from one of this country's most revered political and social visual artists. We are committed to publishing books that transgress, question, intrigue and entertain.
Take a gander below at some of our 2018 titles in a bit more detail.
Apple and Knife
by Intan Paramaditha, translated by Stephen J Epstein
A spellbinding collection of short fictions that have all been translated from Indonesian into English for the very first time. Inspired by myths, horror fiction and fairy tales, Apple and Knife is an unsettling ride that swerves to the supernatural, exploring the danger and power of occupying a female body.
Paramaditha's stories explore taboos and inversions, and sex, death, and forbidden relationships. Thematically linked by their references to traditional storytelling, and the role of women, these short fictions, set in the Indonesian everyday—in corporate boardrooms, in shanty towns, on dangdut stages—reveal a soupy otherworld stewing just beneath the surface.
These stories are full of pointed critiques, bloody mutilations, and an overwhelming atmosphere of abject horror. Australian readers will be given new insight into what life is like as a woman in Indonesian society, which might at first seem quite different from an Australian experience, and yet is maybe not so different after all.
This is subversive feminist horror at its best, where men and women alike are arbiters of fear, and where revenge is sometimes sweetest when delivered from the grave.
“Intan Paramaditha, who mixes fairy tales and gothic ghost stories with feminist and political issues, shakes up her readers, showing that her fiction is not beholden to a single interpretation. Her short stories reveal that the most terrifying thing in life is not one of the supernatural ghosts that populate her work, but human prejudice. As far as I’m concerned, only writers of genius are able to convey a layered and nuanced world, and Intan is one of them.”
Eka Kurniawan, internationally acclaimed author of Beauty is a Wound and Man Tiger, and Man Booker International Prize 2016 finalist
Intan Paramaditha is an academic and a fiction writer. Born and raised in Indonesia, she lived in the United States for 11 years before moving to Australia, where she now lives in Sydney and teaches at Macquarie University.
Associate Professor Stephen Epstein is the Director of the Asian Languages and Cultures Programme at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, and served as the 2013-14 President of the New Zealand Asian Studies Society. He has published widely on contemporary Korean society, literature and popular culture and translated numerous pieces of Korean and Indonesian fiction.
Pink Mountain on Locust Island
by Jamie Marina Lau
Introducing Jamia Marina Lau: a new literary prodigy with a voice and style that is super-contemporary and both distinctly local and totally global. Pink Mountain on Locust Island twists English in ways you’ve never seen to tell the story of Monk, a teenager living in Chinatown who finds herself dragged into the worlds of crime, drugs and art.
Pink Mountain on Locust Island is:
- a subterranean noir of the most electric generation – the pink white bursts of a fifteen-year-old nomad;
- a fizzing of the New Wave underground art province, with its melting pot of noise bands and Phife, amnesiac and digitalised bossa novas, and art installations about art installations;
- a 24-hour Westernised yank between pulverised English, elastic Cantonese and the newest, digitalised dialect of transcultural landscapes;
- a short novel narrated via the lumps of Monk’s daydreams, her violent, claustrophobic encounters, and her staccato movements through a hyperreal pop culture world that could only belong to our 21st century;
- all of the above.
Jamie Marina Lau (劉劍冰) is a 21-year-old writer and musician from Melbourne. Her work can be found in Cordite, ROOKIE magazine, Voiceworks, The Art Hoe Collective and in Monash University’s 2016 anthology Futures. She is currently studying film and literature, making Garageband songs and working on her book with Brow Books.
by Maria Tumarkin
Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin: her fourth book of non-fiction, and her most pioneering. Tumarkin's previous three books, Otherland (2010), Courage (2007), and Traumascapes (2005), have each and all been critically acclaimed and shortlisted for major prizes.
Axiomatic is extraordinary. More than seven full and long years in the making, and utilising her time as a Sidney Myer Creative Fellow, this new work actively seeks to reset the non-fiction form in Australia.
The past shapes the present – they teach us that in schools and universities. (Shapes? Infiltrates, more like; imbues, infuses.) This past cannot be visited like an ageing aunt. It doesn’t live in little zoo enclosures. Half the time, this past is nothing less than the beating heart of the present. So, how to speak of the searing, unpindownable power that the past – ours, our family’s, our culture’s – wields in the present?
Stories are not enough, even though they are essential. And books about history, books of psychology – the best of them take us closer, but still not close enough.
This book is a boundary-shifting fusion of thinking, storytelling, reportage and meditation. It takes as its starting point five axioms:
- ‘Give Me a Child Before the Age of Seven and I’ll Give You the (Wo)Man’
- ‘History Repeats Itself…’
- ‘Those Who Forget the Past are Condemned to Repeat It’
- ‘You Can’t Enter The Same River Twice’
- ‘Time Heals All Wounds’
These beliefs—or intuitions—about the role the past plays in our present are often evoked as if they are timeless and self-evident truths. It is precisely because they are neither, yet still we are persuaded by them, that they tell us a great deal about the forces that shape our culture and the way we live.
Maria Tumarkin is a writer and cultural historian. She is the author of three acclaimed books of ideas: Traumascapes, Courage, and Otherland. All three books were shortlisted for literary prizes; Otherland, most recently, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Award, NSW Premier’s Award and The Age Book of the Year. Maria’s essays have appeared in The Best Australian Essays (2011, 2012 & 2015), Griffith Review, Meanjin, The Monthly, Sydney Review of Books, The Age, The Australian, and Inside Story. Maria is involved in wide-ranging artistic collaborations with visual artists, theatre makers and audio designers. She was a 2013–14 Sidney Myer Creative Fellow in humanities and is a member of the Melbourne Writers Festival’s programming committee.
Balancing Acts: Women in Sport
edited by Justin Wolfers and Erin Riley
A collection of non-fiction pieces from more than 20 contributors that explores women’s range of experiences with sport and sporting culture in Australia.
Focusing on a critically under-represented part of Australian culture—specifically the myriad ways women negotiate the traditionally male spectacle of athleticism—this collection interrogates the way sporting bodies and achievements are portrayed in Australian media and culture; the way women athletes’ experience are marginalised and under-reported; and attempt to de-centre the status quo of sports writing and commentary as dominated by male perspectives and expertise. We’re using ‘sport’ in the broadest possible sense, and use ‘women’ in the same way, to include trans, gender diverse, non-binary, intersex and otherwise non-cis women, as well as from and/or about queer, lesbian, and bisexual women.
The pieces in the book take literary, historical, narrative, critical, experimental and personal approaches to their subject matter, as well as several that make use of reportage and interviews. Topics include:
- the sexualisation of women in surfing culture;
- the marginalisation of women in boxing;
- feminine performativity in ballet;
- life as an AFL spectator;
- structural disadvantage as experienced by a cyclist;
- social soccer's ins and outs;
- the power relations between female athletes and coaches;
- female-identifying athletes’ experience of homophobia;
- the aesthetics of televised sports.
The contributors to the book include established sports writers and advocates such as Brunette Lenkic, Imogen Smith, Jodi McAlister, Nicole Hayes, and Danielle Warby; academics and cultural critics such as Kasey Symons, Emma Jenkins and Erin Stewart; as well as emerging writers published widely across literary journals and newspapers such as Ellen Van Neerven, Holly Isemonger, Gina Rushton, Charlotte Guest, Katerina Bryant, Nadia Bailey and Rebecca Slater.
by jia qing wilson-yang
First published by Metonymy Press in Canada. Winner of the 2016 Lambda Literary Awards prize for Best Transgender Fiction.
Small Beauty tells the story of Mei, who in coping with the death of her cousin abandons her life in the city to live in his now empty house in a small town. There she connects with his history as well as her own, learns about her aunt’s long-term secret relationship, and reflects on the trans women she left behind. She also brushes up against some local mysteries and receives advice from departed loved ones with a lot to say.
jia qing wilson-yang is a mixed race trans woman living in Toronto. She likes to write poems and stories and music. Her writing has appeared in Bound to Struggle: Where Kink and Radical Politics Meet (ed. Simon Strikeback), Letters Lived: Radical Reflections, Revolutionary Paths (ed. Sheila Sampath), and the women of colour issue of Room magazine. She has recorded several acoustic albums and this one time was a drummer in a pop punk band. Small Beauty is her first novel.
by Mary Leunig
It’s been 23 years since Mary Leunig last had a book of her drawings published. Prints of Mary's exceptional artworks are difficult to come by; Brow Books is delighted to share a whole bunch of Mary's unpublished work with a wider audience. Her drawings are controversial, rebellious, beauitful and smart; they comment on class, gender, politics, history and her personal relationships, all with a startling honesty. This collection is not to be missed.
Mary Leunig is an Australian visual artist who has had work featured in such publications as The Age, Meanjin, Nation Review, Heat Magazine, AWU Magazine, Time, Penthouse, Der Rabe, and The Meatworkers Journal. She has published four anthologies of work: No Place Like Home (1982); A Piece of Cake (1986); One Big Happy Family (1992); and Black and White and Grey (1993).
We hope you're as excited about these titles as we are. Stay tuned for more details and check out the titles already on our list.