Today we are absolutely stoked to announce that we are plunging headfirst in the book publishing game, and that our first foray will be with one of our longtime and favourite contributors, Briohny Doyle. Her book — a debut novel for both her and us — will be yours to read in August 2016.
We’ve been publishing Briohny’s writing for several years — and we’ve been readers and fans of her work for much longer. That Briohny is trusting us with this phenomenal novel is something akin to a dream. We can’t wait to share the book with you.
Set in a not-too-distant future in which things are not so different. The energy crisis has come and gone, natural disasters are common, and cities have undergone rapid transformation. As Pitcairn Island sinks millimetre by millimetre into the Pacific, people go about their day-to-day lives with one eye on the newsfeed, wondering if today will bring The End.
Max’s relationships are disembodied, conducted on the screen. His marriage is theoretical. In conversation his children are situated, like warm fronts and wind warnings. His own childhood is lost in the static. The last relic of that time is his comatose brother Tom.
When sad-eyed neurologist Dr Gabriel Stern proposes a way to connect Max with his sleeping brother, he begins to explore the mysteries of inner space. In Max, Gabriel sees the possibility of a beautiful future in which painful memories can be easily altered or erased. In Gabriel, Max sees romantic subplot.
Soon all three are led to a suspiciously cinematic barn on the outskirts of civilisation, once home to drug cult ‘The Sleepers’. Max is required to draw a line between what’s real and what isn’t, and try and answer the ultimate question: what is love when all experience is really just electronic?
Panning from Prequel and Establishing Shot to Romantic Subplot and Action Sequence, slipping in and out of film conventions, Doyle’s novel raises questions about how we interpret narrative in our screen-saturated culture. A postmodern science fiction tale in the vein of Phillip K. Dick and Michel Houellebecq, it will find audiences in lovers of serious literature, those keen on experimental writing, fans of a gripping storyline, and people interested in the intersection between literature and film.
“The structure is adventurous, dense and poetic…I thought of Ballard’s imaginatively coherent, hard-edged, full-fledged imaginings.”
—Luke Davies (Author of Candy and God of Speed) regarding Briohny Doyle’s forthcoming novel.
Briohny Doyle is a Melbourne-based writer and academic. She has published in The Lifted Brow, Overland, Going Down Swinging and Meanjin among others, and performed as part of the Sydney Festival and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Her first book of nonfiction, Adult Fantasy (Scribe Publications, forthcoming in 2017), will explore the cultural underpinnings of adulthood. Her debut novel features multiple disaster sequences and will be published by The Lifted Brow in 2016.
“The Lifted Brow has been a supporter and publisher of my work for a long time — and they are also the home of many of my favourite writers. I am thrilled that they will be publishing my debut novel, and even more thrilled that there is now a place in the Australian publishing landscape for stray and undomesticated books.”
Following the lead of terrific magazine and journal publishers who added book publishing into their scope, such as McSweeney’s, Granta, and Tin House, The Lifted Brow has for years been hoping to evolve similarly in Australia. The publication of Briohny Doyle’s debut novel signals this evolution has now begun. The Lifted Brow seeks to publish books that others won’t and don’t — looking to the thematic, stylistic and demographic margins for new works by writers seeking to challenge readers.
Thanks to an Australia Council ‘Early Careers Residencies’ grant, publisher Sam Cooney was able to undertake a residency with McSweeney’s Publishing in late 2014, in which he picked up skills, knowledge and industry contacts from one of the world’s most innovative publishers of magazines and books. This grant also supports the publishing of this first book.
Founded in 2007, The Lifted Brow is a quarterly magazine of writing and ideas. It publishes emerging writers and visual artists alongside some of Australia’s and the world’s most celebrated. Contributors have included names like Christos Tsiolkas, Helen Garner, David Foster Wallace, Neil Gaiman, Rick Moody, Karen Russell, Wayne Koestenbaum, Tom Cho, Douglas Coupland, Heidi Julavits, Tom Bissell, Tao Lin, Rebecca Giggs, Margo Lanagan, Jim Shepard, Frank Moorhouse, Anna Krien, Romy Ash, Margaret Atwood, Sam Lipsyte, Eileen Myles, Sheila Heti, Andrés Neuman, Angie Hart, Blake Butler and Benjamin Kunkel.
In cooperation with a local publisher, The Lifted Brow published an anthology in 2013 — a ‘best of’ the first five years of the magazine. Briohny Doyle’s book will be the first book published solely by The Lifted Brow.
Last week The Lifted Brow was awarded the ‘Best Non-Fiction’ prize at the Stack Awards in London — beating out many other renowned international titles.
For interviews with Briohny Doyle or The Lifted Brow, contact Sam Cooney.