From 2012 to 2020, Griffith Review ran an annual novella competition, generously supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, to celebrate the versatility and complexity of this underrated form. Enjoy our selection of winning novellas from some of Australia’s best emerging and established voices.
I SPIED THE bull turning circles an hour out from Yellow Patch. I was alone on the Looma, the cool August air settling on the back of my neck as…
The first time we were here it was just the two of us, Lindsey and me. We stayed at the Chelsea and I got my hair cut there by a hairdresser who had done Dee Dee Ramone’s that morning. Nothing unusual in that. She’d cut his hair for years, she told me. I never discovered if it was true or not. I wanted it to be true. Dee Dee’s hair was no fixed thing though…. Johnny’s was the iconic Ramones hair, so that’s the cut I got. No one at home had that. And Johnny threw his hair forward when he stabbed at his guitar, as if hair could be another weapon.
THE GIRL WAS born to snow. Her mother, hot with the pain of a sideways birth, stumbled into the virgin drift and squatted, barefoot and angry as a nest of wasps. Her screams echoed off the white face of the mountains and back across nearby Trbinc Hill.
As a teenager, during the day, with my mates, we’d talk about their stats – career goals, disposals, who was the most accurate goal kicker, who was the fastest player, who could lay the hardest tackles. And at night, I’d stare up at those posters from my bed, the moonlight making the footy players’ strong arms glisten. Bare, bulging biceps. Broad, powerful pectorals almost bursting through their yellow and blue guernseys. I wanted them, and I wanted to be them, all at the same time.
Pol drags the chair near, steps up onto it to hammer a nail into the wall above the mantelpiece. He squats to lift a painting of a woman seated in a rocking chair. As he attaches it to the wall, Annah steps back, enraptured by the languid lines of the woman, her black hair, her cinnamon skin, which is the same shade as Annah’s own. The woman’s dress is as red as a nutmeg’s lacy mace. Her bare foot reaches from beneath its folds.