New Bookshelf Additions

I’ve been buying quite a few books lately, but I haven’t had the chance to do a lot of reading outside of my prescribed novels for University. I thought I’d write a post about the books on my shelf that I finally have time to read, and the books that I’ll hopefully be reviewing as soon as I go on winter break in June!

*In the Quiet, by Eliza Henry. I met this author at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival last year, and still haven’t gotten around to reading her debut novel. Main themes are love, loss, and grieving.

*House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski. This book is a cult classic, confusing, multi P.O.V., over 700 page, insane, experimentally structured romance about an evil house. That’s what I’ve gathered so far, but it’s all very confusing.

*The Rehearsal, by Eleanor Catton. I’ve recently started working on a book with similar themes within a theatre setting, so I wanted to pick this up and read it to make sure I don’t steer my story too closely towards this one. It’s by the author of The Luminaries.

*The Dust that Falls from Dreams, by Louis de Bernieres. I bought this over a year ago and haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. All I know is that it’s about children in the Edwardian age as it disintegrates into the great war.

*Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. The 1000 page classic novel that my favourite musical is based off of. I really need to get around to reading this.

So they’re all of the novels that I’ve bought fairly recently and haven’t yet gotten around to reading. Have you read any of them? Which one should I read first?

Yours Sincerely,

Tamara Drazic

 

It’s Launched

Hi everyone,

After spending all day yesterday planning, budgeting and designing, I have launched the website for my new literary magazine, SpinebindI am so overwhelmed by the positive responses that it has gotten so far. I have had many messages from people excited to submit, and also many from people who are willing to help me make this dream a reality. I can already see the community-building effects of starting this magazine, and it’s amazing. I started receiving submissions just hours after launching the magazine, and I’ve been in contact with people from the other side of the world who are interested in getting involved, whether it be submitting or even helping financially.

I spent today designing the front cover of the first issue, and learning how to use the publishing software that will allow people to read it in a flip book format once the first issue is released. There are so many things to learn but I’m enjoying every little bit of it.

It’s crazy for me to think that an idea that has been sitting in my head for years is finally out in the world. I was a little nervous to share it with my writing group at first, because I was afraid that they might think that I think I’m better than them in some way. Of course this magazine has nothing to do with status or ego, but I was so worried that people wouldn’t get it. On sharing it with my writing group however, I was blown away by the positive responses. They were so excited and supportive, and have been helping me immensely with getting the word out. I’m extremely lucky to be surrounded by so many incredible people.

I am so thankful to absolutely everyone who is helping me with this project, even if it is just a word of encouragement. I will be taking submissions for the first issue from now up until the 20th of February. If you are interested, head on over to the Submissions tab.

I feel like shouting “Thank you” from the rooftops.

Yours Sincerely,

Tamara Drazic

Starting my own Literary Magazine?

Good morning/afternoon/evening!

Every year, the Christmas holidays are a time for me to read, write and submit like crazy before the new year starts up. It’s like my years start in March and end in November, and the months of December through to February are for me to catch up on all the things that I meant to do, and didn’t. These Christmas holidays I have been frantically submitting to literary magazines while searching for other writerly/editorial jobs that I could be qualified for. As you can imagine, the job hunt hasn’t been very fruitful.

Instead, somehow the internet world took me from my original search,
“junior editorial jobs Brisbane”, all the way to “starting your own literary magazine”. Ever since I was about thirteen, it has been a dream of mine to be the editor of my own magazine, but I researched myself out of trying it because of the saturated, dying market. Today I decided to stop letting money and possibility of failure stop me from trying something that could be fun and exciting. A kind of new years resolution.

So today is the first day of planning. I am going to work really hard at this and try to produce a high quality online magazine full of the things I love most – short stories, poetry, extracts of long form prose, personal essays, and one or two opinion pieces per issue.

This magazine will be aimed at new, not necessarily young, writers, and I’m going to try my hardest to pay my writers at least a very small amount to start off with. I want to show them that their work is valuable and valued, even though I won’t be able to pay market rates. I know that this will most definitely cost me money rather than make me money, but it’s a passion project and at this point I really don’t care. I’ll make money elsewhere.

This is my project for twenty sixteen, and I am so excited about it. Hopefully by next year, I’ll have a couple of issues out and can give you all an update on what I’ve learned, the mistakes I’ve made, and the fun and stressful times I’ve had. I’m diving in.

I hope that this post has motivated someone to just go ahead and try something a little crazy. It’s the new year, after all.

Thanks for reading, as always!

Tamara Drazic

 

Christian Bök at the QUT Literary Salon

“Many artists seek to attain immortality through their art, but few would expect their work to outlast the human race and live on for billions of years. As Canadian poet Christian Bök has realized, it all comes down to the durability of your materials.”—The Guardian

This evening I attended the last QUT Literary Salon of the year, where Christian Bök was set to read from his book, “The Xenotext”. Bök is a Canadian poet who does a lot of experimental work. I’m a big fan of his book, “Eunoia”, where he dedicated each chapter to using only one specific vowel. His latest project is something I had never heard of before – he has encoded a poem into a strand of DNA and then put that DNA into the genome of a living, and unkillable, organism. This organism’s proteins then respond to the poem, and spell out the subsequent lines, creating a never-ending, living, and unkillable poem. This idea absolutely fascinates me, although I’m still a little confused about how it all works while I’m writing this. I feel so privileged to have heard Bök read out the first words that the organism responded with. The “Xenotext Experiment” means so much more to me than a fusion of science and language; it shows that language can live forever.

I’ve always looked at books as time capsules. I have a book in my bookshelf about Leninism, and I love it not because I’m really interested in its content, but because it was published in Russia during the second World War. It has seen so much, and has been passed through the hands of so many. Bök’s “Xenotext” is an extension of the notion of language as a time capsule, as this poem will continue on long after humans have gone, or until, in Bök’s words this evening, “the sun itself explodes”.

Christian Bök was the final reader of the evening, and there were three student readers before him. Each of them had their own specific style, ranging from prose poetry to more traditional, rhythmic verse. I always love to hear the work of other young writers, and be inspired by the uninhibited risks they take. Hopefully next year I’ll be reading some of my own work at the literary salon.

The salons are held every month at the Menagerie, an intimate café/bar in the QUT Creative Industries Precinct. For more information on the salons, and videos of the readings, check out their official blog at: https://qutliterarysalon.wordpress.com/

Thanks so much for reading,

Tamara Drazic