Tony Birch has published the short story collections Shadowboxing (Scribe, 2006), Father’s Day (Hunter, 2009), The Promise (UQP, 2011), Common People (UQP, 2017) and Dark As Last Night (UQP, 2021).
His first novel, Blood, was published by UQP in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. His other novels are Ghost River (UQP, 2015) and The White Girl (UQP, 2019).
He was awarded the Patrick White Literary Prize in 2017.
Finding you above Kyoto
PoetryFinding you above Kyoto stone cats in red knits lined a narrow canal sweetened water swirled in bowls of fallen leaves staining my hands with tannins of a winter soon born in hills above mist and mystery I climbed with you weightless resting in the small of my...
Things of stone and wood and wool
EssayFOLLOWING THE DEATH of her elderly father, a close friend of mine recently asked if I would read a poem by Goethe at his funeral. I didn’t know the man well. In fact, I had met him only once, seated in...
FictionHUNTER DAY PARKED the police car on the side of the road under a 200-year-old ironbark. He left the engine humming with the aircon cranked to protect him from the blistering heat melting the bitumen outside. If his boss...
Recovering a narrative of place
MemoirAt the conclusion of the project, a group of young global citizens, many of them labelled ‘disadvantaged’, many of them previously silent or ignored, shared a common belief, one as simple and yet complex as the difficulties we face in dealing with one of the great challenges of our time. The students agreed that we must listen to those who have lived with Country for thousands of years without killing it, and in order to live with a healthy planet we need to tell stories of our experience with it, and our love for it.
The great unmapping project of 2016
FictionIn the time before the map – IBunjil & Birrung meet the seaIN THE TIME before the bay, before the ice began to slip away, the men and women and the children mapped the land with the soles of their...
The ghost river
FictionWhen he was about to begin the river story Moses would stamp at the ground with the heel of his boot and call out to the birds in the trees, 'listen hard now'. He'd clap his hands together a couple of times, make a clicking noise with his tongue and the birds would lift off from the trees in the distance and move a little closer, to the wattles lining the riverbank. 'Back in the old time, before the humans,' he would begin, 'this girl, the river, she didn't stop her life where she does now, at the mouth at bay there. There is no bay in the time I'm talking with.'
FictionFRIDAY WAS THEIR day. They always arrived just after twelve, before the lunch hour got into full swing. They took their table, under the side window, looking over the flowerbox of deep-red geraniums. And they always ordered the same...
MemoirI COLLECT MY father on a hot Friday morning from a funeral home in Preston. He’s waiting for me in a shopping bag, housed in a polystyrene crematorium urn – a temporary arrangement until a meeting can be held with...