Ruth Wyer


The Trouble With Flying

The short story lends itself to a focus on private life, to significant moments in the lives of characters or the trajectories of relationships, and this collection is no exception. People in these stories come to new understanding of themselves and each other through illuminating moments on beaches, in restaurants, on aeroplanes and in gardens. Standout stories include the winner, Ruth Wyer, for her title story The Trouble With Flying, and runner-up Bindy Pritchard, with Dying. – Kerryn Goldsworthy – SMH 20/12/2014

This year’s winning story, ‘The Trouble with Flying’ by Ruth Wyer, is also a tale of adolescence: of growing up, of becoming, of discovering what it might mean to fly. Wyer’s portrait of Rita is a meticulous, compassionate study in introversion. I’ve heard people say, often, that passive characters aren’t interesting characters. ‘The Trouble with Flying’ is proof this isn’t true. Rita’s passivity is mobile, engaging, and realistic. Her understanding of her own limitations is beautifully achieved. Her moments of discovery – through music, in particular – are more precious because until now she’s never imagined anything so substantial. Even the language of the story – breathless, long sentences, a sense of momentum and acceleration – suggests the headfirst nature of growing up…‘The Trouble with Flying’ is a wonderful story, and it’s in excellent company. – Fiona McFarlane

The first prize went, deservedly, to Ruth Wyer, whose entry gives the anthology its title. In her story we follow socially awkward teenager Rita as, with great apprehension, she begins college. Wyer has created a character who is unique and original in her adopted uniform of charity shop State Rail Authority shirts and her ‘pathological fear of putting herself down on paper’. But Rita is also endearingly familiar to anyone who has ever felt at odds with their peers, place in society or ambitions. A flawless balance of character and plot, it is neatly wrought as the end folds perfectly into the beginning without feeling contrived or forced. It is a confident, well measured and, most of all, moving piece of writing. – Sarah Schofield – The Short Review

Like last year’s collection, the title comes from winning story, Ruth Wyer’s “The trouble with flying”. In the bios, we are told that Wyer is “a fledgling writer from south-west Sydney”. Fledgling she may be, but she has a delightful way with words. –

The title story, Ruth Wyer’s ‘The Trouble With Flying’ features odd-girl-out TAFE student Rita trying to fit in with her new classmates and forming an uneasy relationship with punk-music mad Milo. The fine line of Rita’s life—to fit in or to forever be a loner—is somehow linked to the fate of two birds; a panicked pigeon stuck in a TAFE corridor and a seagull on a beach. This is a moving, tone-perfect story. –

My very first choice of a story to review is the winning one by Ruth Wyer: “The Trouble With Flying”, after which the collection is named …The story is hilarious on one level, full of pathos on another … But the story ends on a worrying note. In spite of the hilarity–and the story has some very funny moments from beginning to end–the seagull with the fishing line on its leg becomes a metaphor for Rita’s situation. I found this an interesting story from another perspective. The humour seems to carry it forward, so that there is little need for “showing”. In fact, this story breaks the cardinal rule of creative writing “Show don’t tell”, in that it is mostly “telling”. And yet the story works, because the narrator offers a voice for the misfit anti-heroine Rita, who cannot write or even speak with any fluidity, along with it, from beginning to end. By telling Rita’s story in a flat and straight voice, but with all the humorous characters and incidents intact, the narrator conveys the pathos of Rita’s situation, while at the same time creating an entertaining read. – Anne Skyvington


Unaccompanied Minors

This fourth issue of The Canary Press is built around stories written by eight-year-olds reinterpreted as short stories by a variety of authors. It’s a clever idea, sweet but not saccharine, and gives plenty of scope for invention … The two standouts are Ryan O’Neill’s “Four Kinds of Erasures” – written in the fragmented style he favours, it’s at once sad, funny and intelligent – and Joshua Osto’s wonderful and gripping dystopian story of murder and mayhem, “The Train”.  There’s also the short but arresting “Restaurant” by William Broom, and the fearless “Unaccompanied Minors” by Ruth Wyer, among others. – The Saturday Paper

Unaccompanied Minors is an entertaining deliberation on the divides of race and class. – Publishing Arts Hub

Flashing The Square

This collection of microfiction and prose poems takes its name from an event at the Melbourne Writers Festival, where these miniature vignettes and mini-narratives were flashed on screens in Federation Square. There’s a high standard of writing here across a broad range of subjects.

The best contributions are full of potential and feeling: Susan McCreery’s one-paragraph sketch of a service-station hold-up fills the reader with dread, and Michelle Wright’s Taken, about a shark attack, with a kind of difficult grief. Ally Scale’s I Do is heartbreaking and Shady Cosgrove’s Call an Ambulance quite terrifying; for some reason the stories about unreasoning violence work best. Other contributors include such familiar names as Kirsten Tranter and A.S. Patric, as well as Angela Meyer whose recent collection of micro-stories, Captives, showed her mastery of this demanding little form. – SMH 20/12/2014

The Sleepers Almanac No. 9

The Sleepers Almanac No. 9 is bursting with life, ready to enchant and delight, and keep you turning the pages long after lights-out –

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