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Kill your darlings
KILL YOUR DARLINGS
Editor: Rebecca Starford
Deputy Editor: Hannah Kent
Online Editor: Imogen Kandel
Online Marketing Assistant: Emily Laidlaw
Online Assistant: Stephanie Van Schilt
Editorial Assistants: Brigid Mullane, Christopher Fieldus
PO Box 166, Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia
Published by Kill Your Darlings Pty Ltd
This collection Kill Your Darlings 2013
Kill Your Darlings 13, 2013
ISBN 978-0-9874213-4-0, ISSN 1837-638X
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted
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without the prior permission of Kill Your Darlings.
The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of
Cover illustration: Guy Shield
Design and layout: Kill Your Darlings
Kill Your Darlings accepts unsolicited submissions. Please visit the website for all
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
9 'Keep Calm and Carry On': An Unexpected Path to Publication
Hannah Kent's debut novel, Burial Rites, was recently the subject of an international bidding war. Here Hannah recounts the processes that brought the book to life, and the fear that lies at the heart of her writing.
27 Another World is Possible: Game of Thrones and the
Politics of Imagination
On the eve of Game of Thrones' third season, Brad Nguyen looks at popular culture and notions of the end of history.
36 Notes on Theatre Notes: The Importance of Being Seen
Last year, Alison Croggon GPSWIHLIVMRYIRXMEPERHVIWTIGXIHXLIEXVIblog, Theatre Notes7LIVIIGXWSRXLIVSPIXLITYFPMGEXMSRLEHMRLIVlife and the changing shape of theatre criticism.
49 You Couldn't Have Afforded the Party Anyway: Berlin and
the European Championship
Fiona Wright was living in Berlin last year, where she witnessed antics of German soccer fans, emblematic of the nation's role in post-GFC Europe.
62 Suburban Revolutionaries: Making Frenemies at the G20 protest
Jo Case accompanys a new friend to a Melbourne protest with unexpected results.
74 Clearing My Throat: Illness in Japan
When Alison Strumberger is admitted to hospital in Japan, she encounters bewildering language and cultural barriers.
89 Tipping Point SJ Finn
103 Kill Your Darlings in conversation with Steven Carroll
129 Writing the Capital: The Myth of Community
in NW and Capital
Carody Culver on how two recent novels characterise the modern urban experience.
141 How to Have Memories in an Epidemic: Recent
Documentaries about HIV/AIDS
Dion Kagan on how the HIV/AIDS crisis is being remembered through PQ
153 Through the Mind: Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master
Scott Macleod on Anderson's evolution from rambunctious upstart to one of the greatest directors of modern cinema.
Last July, the publishing industry, struggling under the weight of anxieties about eBooks, Amazon and infectious negativity, was kick-started to life by a debut novelist. Hannah Kent, co-founder and deputy editor of Kill Your Darlings, had written a stunning manuscript detailing the final days in the life of Agnes Magnsdttir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland. The novel sparked an international bidding war, and in May Burial Rites will be published in Australia, with the UK, USA and Europe to follow later in the year.
In this issues lead feature, were thrilled to have an exclusive account of Hannahs writing and publishing experience. From the gruelling first days of writing, to travelling to Iceland for research, to securing publishing contracts, this is a frank and fascinating insight into the world of writing, which also reminds us of the shared joy of storytelling.
Elsewhere in Commentary, Alison Croggons Notes on Theatre Notes is a vale to her influential blog of theatre criticism. After eight years, Theatre Notes closed its curtain in 2012, and Alison recalls the impetus for the blog as well as reflecting on the future of theatre criticism in Australia. We also publish an extract from Jo Cases moving memoir, Boomer & Me, which recounts her experiences raising her son, who has Aspergers, while in Clearing My Throat, Alison Strumberger describes her discombobulating stay in a Japanese hospital after tumours are removed from her throat.
6 | Kill Your Darlings, Issue 13
In Fiction, SJ Finn, author of This Too Shall Pass, writes about an accident on a remote homestead, and KYD has the pleasure of interviewing Steven Carroll. His latest novel, A World of Other People, is published this month, and it is a moving work that continues his interest in the mythological figure of TS Eliot.
In Reviews, Dion Kagan examines recent documentaries exploring the way we remember HIV/AIDS, and Carody Culver reviews new novels from British writers Zadie Smith and John Lanchester, who use London to characterise the modern urban experience.
Happy reading!Rebecca Starford, Editor
KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON
An Unexpected Path to Publication
Just over two years ago, I was to put it plainly shitting myself. It was January 2011, and the novel I needed to write, the historical novel that was to be the creative component of my PhD in Creative Writing at Flinders University, could no longer be avoided. While, in the first few years of my degree, I had managed to stave off my supervisors queries with promises that I was performing very crucial research into nineteenth-century Iceland, the time had come for me to finally produce my first attempt at a novel. My supervisors, their smiles slipping, were asking to see the goods. My scholarship my only income was rapidly drawing to a rude halt. The problem was, I had no idea how to write a book, and that terrified me.
I first heard the story of Agnes Magnsdttir when I was an exchange student living in the north of Iceland. It was 2002, I was 17 years old, and I had left my home town
Illugastadir, the site of the murders
10 | Kill Your Darlings, Issue 13
of Adelaide for Saurkrkur, an isolated fishing village, where I would live for 12 months. This small town lies snug in the side of a fjord: a clutch of little buildings facing an iron-grey sea, the mountains looming behind. When I arrived it was January, and the days were gripped by darkness, 20 hours at a time. There were no trees. The towns houses were hostage to snow, and in the distance the North Atlantic Ocean met the north sky in a suggestion of oblivion. It felt like the edge of the world.
I was intensely lonely. The community was tightly knit, and I was an outsider. Everyone knew me as the exchange student cars would slow to a crawl as passengers gawked out of the window to stare at my foreign face but few people approached me. For the first time in my life I felt socially isolated, and my feelings of alienation were compounded by the claustrophobic winter darkness, and the constant confinement indoors. I turned to writing for company, to fill the black hours. I sought shelter in libraries, consolation in books.
It was during the first difficult months of my exchange that I travelled through a place called Vatnsdalshlar. Its an unusual tract of landscape: a valley mouth pimpled with hillocks of earth. When I asked my host parents if the area was significant, they pointed to three small hills, nestled closely together. Over 100 years ago, they said, a woman called Agnes had been beheaded there. She was the last person to be executed in Iceland.
I was immediately intrigued. What had she done? What had happened? Over time I discovered that Agnes was a 34-year-old servant woman who had been beheaded on