November Writer of the Month – Kate Liston

ImageKate Liston

My name is Kate Liston and I have just completed my Creative Writing Degree at the University of Wollongong (UOW). I have been taught by writing geniuses such as, Alan Wearne, Dr Merlinda Bobis, Dr Shady Cosgrove and Dr Joshua Lobb in my three years at UOW. I have had a narrative poem and a micro-fiction published in Tide over the last two years.

Previous to this degree, I obtained my Bachelor of Education (Primary) in Canberra, which enabled me to work as a teacher for a year and a half. I am passionate about Australia, education, health, food, reading and writing, visual arts, having a good cry, social justice, laughter, and my incomparably brilliant hometown of Pambula. In my first degree I sustained a serious brain injury in a car accident that resulted with me having to learn to read, write, talk and walk all over again. When I get tired, I now invent words.

From my reading history I’ve collated a fitting assortment of my most-mulled-over authors, including Joseph Conrad, Gig Ryan, Tim Winton, Henry Lawson, Bonny Cassidy, J.K.Rowling, J.R.R.Tolkien, Kate Middleton, Charlotte Bronte, Graeme Base, William Carlos Williams, Markus Zusak, Benjamin Frater, Pam Brown, Alan Wearne and Bruce Beaver. Every year I buy the full collection of ‘The Best Australian’ stories, poems and essays by Black Inc. and study every single text; the ‘Poems’ edition is my favourite. I am not averse to reading pop fiction (unlike others in my degree) as I think attempts at discerning why and how a book becomes successful can be very entertaining (and occasionally simultaneously soul-smashing…).

A childhood dream of mine has been to write and illustrate children’s books and to publish a book of poetry with illustrations and photos and hypertext. However, a novel that could sit on the same shelf as a Tim Winton novel, in terms of quintessentially Australian-specific imagery and vernacular, would also be tops.

My future is currently punctuated with a hefty question mark. Though punctuation has never scared me. I tend to use it too much.

Endangered species endangering…

by Kate Liston

They released hundreds of civilians

the day I arrived in Colombo.

Many Tigers terrorising their own Tamils

for funding and whatever else

pledging your own will be protected

though abducted too young, rubbing thumbs

down dusty barrels

for an Independent State.

An independent statement read

‘useless talking to them now’

as I watched them calcine, botch and flog


and many quiet groins of the province,

paralysing progress

with my movements negated and minimised

to the stuffy vinyl interior

of a minibus.

Their eyes livid at my attendance

lasered in, piercing the silica between us.

Ear-rims burned scarlet.

(Everyone has a safety place

concealed in a grey pocket of their brain

for panic —

found myself in Saudi Arabia

engulfed in singeing earth with

stressed pupils flicking in the

rays of the red-disc sun:

a throbbing swollen heart.

As they are bang-banging knives on the glass

while raptors trace a sky-ring

ca-a-w-ing above)

Vehicle in movement edging away,

a Tiger-soldier-prominent-partisan

with an unbroken voice

crackles through the driver’s broken window


Not be here Not be here!


Returning on the eighth life of a Thylacine

collecting our invalid past scribblings of thought,

unsafe-ing our Sydney passes

— an endangered species

fleeing home. And crossing

the Middle East and Southern Asia

off the itinerary.

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