“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” – George Orwell (Animal Farm, 1945)
Welcome readers to the 2019 undergraduate issue of The Quarry, ‘Zoographia’! Inspired by a recent exhibition at the Macquarie University Art Gallery, ‘Zoographia’ is a theme that is as playful and light-hearted, as it is serious. From Arachne to Spiderman, from Animal Farm to Zootopia, imagining the animal has been a rich source for storytellers and writers across the millennia. Yet so many of the stories humans tell themselves about animals are complicit with the era of mass extinction that we find ourselves in now. ‘Zoographia’ was an invitation for writers to see the world through a different lens.
The cohort wrote across three genres: fiction, poetry and nonfiction. Our fiction writers travelled to worlds sometimes grounded in reality, sometimes in the fantastical and speculative. Jodie Ramodien’s ‘Nude Lipstick by Q.A.C’ is a speculative piece set in a world where every human possesses a different animal feature, with some of those features being prized over others. ‘I’ll Eat the Soil and Everything’ by Desmond Bravo transports readers to the American West Coast where an increasingly saline Salton Sea is the least of people’s troubles.
Meanwhile, Freshta Nawabi’s ‘Night Cry’ examines bonds that exist between humans and animals with the final days of a baby Myna as the focus of the piece. Timothy Sharp experiments with poetic forms in ‘Inveterate Tongue,’ a poem that evokes beautiful, yet chaotic images of a dog and owner bound… ‘aware of implications but unable to act upon set thought.’
Our nonfiction writers examined ‘Zoographia’ from a personal or analytical angle. With a pair of binoculars and an observant eye, Melissa Bartel takes readers on a tour of Australia’s most common birds in ‘Parkland.’ Keira Chrystal traces the origins of the African wild dog in her piece, ‘The Search for Lycaon pictus, the African Wild Dog.’
This collection of work from students is a testament to the skills and achievements they’ve gained throughout their studies, but they couldn’t do it alone. The creative writing capstone students of 2019 would like to thank the English department, particularly Doctor Michelle Hamadache and Associate Professor Jane Messer, for allowing them the opportunity to hone their craft and begin their writing careers with a published work. We would also like to acknowledge the Macquarie University Art Gallery for allowing us to interpret their exhibition in our own way.
So grab your nearest furry friend (or scaly friend, perhaps a bird, or even the arachnid that keeps showing up in your garage) and enjoy the writing of the creative writing capstone students of 2019.
By Matthew Leong and Emily Redknap.