Writing Melbourne

Melbourne Writers Festival is unveiling 11 original works of fiction and non-fiction that in some way reflect life in Melbourne, specially commissioned as part of the Metro Tunnel Creative Program. Excerpts from each work will be displayed alongside illustrations by local artists at City Square throughout September and October.

Featured writers include Timmah Ball, Mandy Beaumont, Melanie Cheng, Maddee Clark, Stephanie Convery, Elena Gomez, Luke Horton, Laura McPhee-Browne, Thuy On, Ronnie Scott and Nova Weetman.

Brought to you by the Metro Tunnel Creative Program

‘Unfinished Chronology’, Timmah Ball

‘1874: William Barak leads a protest march to Parliament House demanding that Coranderrk is not relocated. Justice ran through Barak’s blood.’

‘An Assemblage of Wonder’, Mandy Beaumont

‘In the pleasured ache of autumn moving to winter, she knows she is a small movement in a symphony of far grander proportions, a long breath in a tender collective sigh, a treasured detail of another’s recollection.’

‘The Visitor’, Melanie Cheng

‘It had been three years since they inhabited the same space, breathed the same air. In that time, two babies had been born—first cousins who looked nothing alike, on account of fathers who hailed from opposite sides of the globe.’

‘Contact’, Maddee Clark

‘When I first arrived in Narrm, I was briefly employed to distribute leaflets on the corner of Swanston Street and Collins Street. I did this for four hours each afternoon, five days a week. Having been temporarily homeless, I was relieved to have a job.’

‘Topography of Memory’, Stephanie Convery

‘I used to think that every adult understood that desire to be somewhere else, but then I learned that we are truly a divided people: there are those who believe they will always be near where they grew up, and those who cannot even countenance the idea. How jarring it was to realise you’d circled and circled only to land closer to home than you ever thought possible.’

‘Deep Rock’, Elena Gomez

‘Deep Rock is vast but precise, particular and peculiar, the way the sky and rocky outposts hit off the water: the contrast of the low flat platform, the gentle stone steps into the river, against the jagged face, branches, roots, leaves jutting, tiny platforms for fingertips or toes. It is quiet in a new way.’

‘To the Flowers’, Luke Horton

‘Only recently had it gone from mama and dada to mummy and daddy. Sometimes, now, even just mum and dad. It was funny how these familiar terms had come alive to him again.’

‘The Creek’, Laura McPhee-Browne

‘She takes heartbreak walks, daily, along the edge of the Merri Creek and up the steep green hill. They are heartbreak walks because she is heartbroken. The body moves differently, when there is nowhere left to go.’

‘Melbourne Symphony’, Thuy On

‘Let’s meet at the cafe around the corner you know the one where the actor-barista has a python wrapped ‘round his bicep and always tries to flirt with me and sniggers at you behind his lumberjack beard about your weak decaf order why even bother mate fine you stick with your lukewarm brown bath-water …’

‘Cats of My Neighbours’, Ronnie Scott

‘Throughout those years, while I was seeing so many cats of my neighbours, I often wondered what it would be like to live with a cat of my own, and the effect it would have on the balance between loneliness and independence that was apparently so challenging to get right.’

‘Food-Shaped Memories’, Nova Weetman

‘I was caring for my terminally ill partner during lockdown. Our house wasn’t so much filled with sourdough rising, as with other people’s kindnesses. Meals left on our doorstep. A carton of freshly laid eggs from someone’s chickens. A thermos of Negroni to get me through the night.’

The Metro Tunnel Creative Program runs free activities, events and public art exhibitions to enhance Melbourne city life during construction of the Metro Tunnel.

Illustration: Marc Martin for ‘Melbourne Symphony’ by Thuy On