That’s right, people! My novella Shanghai Wedding was a winner in the 2018 The Novella Project VI from Griffith Review and has been published in Griffith Review 62: All Being Equal.
Shanghai Wedding is the story of Billy, a Brisbane-born twenty-something who falls for Qiang, an international student who eventually returns to Shanghai to marry a woman. The idea started with a short story I wrote for hello mr. magazine, ‘Purple Galaxy‘, which focused on a scene of domestic violence in a gay relationship and its aftermath. Not longer after this, I read the ’China’ chapter of Benjamin Law’s book Gaysia, and while walking around on my lunch break one day, the characters of Billy and Qiang came to me. Shanghai Wedding is a story spanning two very different river cities—Brisbane and Shanghai—and the complications that can arise in cross-cultural relationships. The story opens in medias res with Billy arriving in Shanghai, but shifts back to tell their back story before finally ending, of course, in Shanghai.
I’m so pleased it has found a home in Griffith Review 62:
Late last year, after a decade of what was at times a bitter and divisive debate, Australians made it clear that their understanding of equality included formal recognition of the most intimate relationships. The parliament responded to the voice of the people and passed legislation to allow same-sex marriage. A year on, Griffith Review 62: All Being Equal – The Novella Project VI investigates what this means: is it a sign of a new-found appetite for equality? The primacy of love and family? A measure of a flawed political process? Or the mark of a new approach to political decision-making?
Judged by Benjamin Law, Melissa Lucashenko, Dennis Altman and Aviva Tuffield, this edition features works of both fiction and creative non-fiction. All Being Equal explores the texture of equality in all its forms, bringing to life the big issues in the national narrative and the stories around them.
This edition of Griffith Review is supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.
You can read the opening paragraph of Shanghai Wedding online and find the issue in bookshops, as an e-book, or purchase directly from Griffith Review.
Shanghai Wedding doesn’t directly address the same-sex marriage survey in Australia. Instead, it explores the pressures and expectations placed upon Qiang, for heterosexual marriage, and the consequences for a character like Billy who seems unable to accept reality. The manuscript reached 50,000 words at its peak, with a number of minor characters and even some elements of historical fiction, but with work, life, and everything getting in the way, I was struggling to take it further and make it all cohere. When I found out the theme for the 2018 Novella Project—on the day submissions were due!—I couldn’t resist the opportunity to pare things back and quickly bring together a shorter version for the competition. I’m glad I did!