Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Keep Killing Those Darlings

Kill Your Darlings, Melbourne based literary magazine enters its third year of publication this month, leaving devotees such as myself sniffling slightly and saying "Awww, they grow up so fast!"

Issue Eight delivers KYD's usual high quality of commentaries, reviews and stories.  Sexy but not slutty, the magazine strives for an honest, intelligent and relevant viewpoint in every issue and never fails to deliver.  It is smart without being arrogant and inaccessible (there is nothing I hate more than a literary review that screams 'look at me, I can use a thesaurus') and well written, but humble.  I would call this magazine a must-read for the lit-savvy of Gen Y and beyond.

This issue opens with Maria Tumarkin's account of the role food has come to play in our culture.  Gentle in her criticism, Tumarkin explores the topic from multiple angles, from wondering why Masterchef Julie Goodwin's cookbook can outsell prize winning novels, to contemplating the ways that we use food to relate to each other.  A poignant article, it will leave you both enlightened, and hungry.

Regular contributor Clementine Ford (yes, I hope that is her real name too!) gives an account of her experience as a phone sex worker.  Her confident, sassy prose will have you laughing rather than cringing.  My favourite commentary for this issue.

The fiction segment of the magazine, as has been the case for the last few issues is woefully short.  Three pieces per issue seems to have become the norm, where earlier in KYD's life, there were five or more. Jessie Cole's The Wake which is second of the three stands out as both an emotional and a realistic piece that, like life, has no absolute closure.

The January Issue also features an interview with Summerland author Malcolm Knox.  Any would-be interviewer should look to KYD's interviews for inspiration; the editorial team know how to ask a question that will elicit an interesting, thought-provoking answer.  Knox talks about his books, about his balancing act between Fatherhood and Novelist-dom, and about his process of writing and researching.  Far more than the usual spiel of "Writer's are meant to be alone, you should write every day, if you don't constantly think about writing you're a hack, blah blah blah", Knox truly lets us take a glimpse of his life, and gives a dose of world wisdom when he says "I would rather be a good father than a good novelist."

Reviewed this month are Breaking Bad and Justified- morally ambiguous but Westerns at their core, concludes Anthony Morris, regular reviewer for the magazine- and Siri Hustvedt.  Natalie Kon-Yu (to name drop, she was a tutor for Introduction to Literature in my first year of University.) takes up the line of thought that KYD has been very passionate about for its last few issues, that is the plight of women writers in a male-centric publishing world.  However, the review is actually about a discussion of Hustvedt's work by Lionel Shriver, another female writer.  This is a refreshing idea with which to approach an issue which, while never becoming less important, has waned in my interests since it was first raised.  (After all, where words fail actions should speak, not more words.)

I give this Issue of Kill Your Darlings four out of five, and I'll give you a smack if you don't read it.

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