Welcome to the Kill Your Darlings Advent Calendar! To celebrate the silly season, and our exciting Christmas Subscriber Offer, we’re unlocking some of the most thought-provoking, entertaining and beautifully written content from our first 19 issues throughout December. Check back every other day to find out which new articles are available, and get a taste of the content our Print and Online Subscribers receive access to in every issue of Kill Your Darlings.

On Christmas Day, the Advent Calendar will be locked and all content will revert to subscriber-only access, so get reading!

Advent Calendar Goodies Unlocked So Far:

  1. Feeding the Hand that Bites: The Demise of Australian Literary Reviewing by Gideon Haigh (from Kill Your Darlings No.1)
    ‘The books pages of Australian newspapers and magazines have become such a wasteland that traditional timidities no longer suffice as a satisfactory explanation. Sections that should contain some of a publication’s sharpest, shrewdest, most inci­sive and irreverent writing have become hodgepodges of conventional wisdom and middlebrow advertorial.’
  2. Edges, Centres and Futures: Reflections on being an Indigenous Speculative Fiction Writer by Ambelin Kwaymullina (from Kill Your Darlings No.18)
    ‘Indigenous people lived through the end of the world, but we did not end. We survived by holding on to our cultures, our kin, and our sense of what was right in a world gone terribly wrong. One of the lessons taught to me by the lives of my ancestors is that defiance can be a series of small, secrets acts rather than a single grand gesture.’
  3. Of Monsters and Monogamists: In Search of Love by Lee Kofman (from Kill Your Darlings No.12)
    ‘For most of my adult life I tried to live the romantic narrative of my generation – serial monogamy. Yet I mostly failed, and at times my partners, too, failed on matters of fidelity. Instead of once again compromising or cheating, this time I wanted to tailor the institution of marriage to us rather than to some abstract principles it stood for.’
  4. It’s a Sex Thing, Right?: When Fantasy Becomes Reality by Clementine Ford (from Kill Your Darlings No.8)
    ‘This was no ordinary chat line, set up to service all the lonely folk out there who just wanted a nice lady to workshop Harry Potter theories with, or debate the relative merits of savoury snacks versus sweet. This was a sex thing. They wanted creative, open-minded ladies to chat to men about sex. Harry Potter might come up, but it would likely be in the context of Sirius Black needing to be disciplined by a stern and uncompromising Professor McGonagall.’
  5. Kill Your Darlings in conversation with Junot Diaz by Sam Rutter (from Kill Your Darlings No. 16)
    ‘I had this fucking thunderstroke of a moment when I was miserable and desperate at a party, and someone put into my mind the idea of mispronouncing Oscar Wilde’s name and as soon as I heard this person say ‘Oscar Wao’ suddenly this entire family and this nerd kid and the Trujillato all just came storming into my brain. It’s the only time that I’ve ever had a miracle.’
  6. Untying the Tongue: The Elusive Art of Interpreting by Elizabeth Bryer (from Kill Your Darlings No.6)
    ‘The immediacy of interpreting – the sweaty palms; the requisite flamboyant, rapid inventiveness; the deep concentration that only comes with the simultaneous performing of so many tasks – sets it apart from its written sibling. The threat of failure, of being suddenly overwhelmed, always hovers near.’
  7. Silk Road: The eBay of Illegal Drugs by Eiley Ormsby (from Kill Your Darlings No.11)
    ‘She’s probably not what most people envisage when they think of a habitual drug user – Stacey is healthy, attractive and works hard for a conservative financial institution. But habitual she is: if you put all the cocaine, ecstasy and psychedelics she’s gone through in a pile, it would be taller than Ben Cousins.’
  8. Gerald Murnane’s The Plains: An Alternative Australian Literature by Wayne Macauley (from Kill Your Darlings No.9)
    ‘In the subtle cultural investigations going on deep within the book, Murnane seemed to be forging his own way not just towards an alternative Australian literature but an alternative way of imagining the country.’
  9. Brave New World: The Social Impact of Hooking Up in the Internet Age by Michael Lindsey Davison (from Kill Your Darlings No.17)
    In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley depicts an engineered human race that is devoid of feeling and emotion, where sexual partners are interchangeable, where hedonism reins supreme, and a world where people are categorised by ‘type’. Tinder, and other dating apps, may not produce a world as envisioned by Huxley, but it may contribute to the type of thinking – the pattern of perception – that could make that world a possibility, and perhaps, more disturbingly, feel completely natural.
  10. Boys in Skirts: Andrej Pejic and Androgyny by Rebecca Howden (from Kill Your Darlings No.7)
    At first glance of his milky-white figure, he has the same lithe, ethereal beauty we’re used to seeing in magazines. Then you notice there’s something different about his bone structure, something that isn’t quite the same as all the girls. In some pictures, the incongruity of his look – the flatness of his bare chest, the delicacy of his facial features – is emphasised to striking effect. It challenges the viewer to wonder: how is it that someone can look so excruciatingly pretty and still be a man?
  11. Into the Crater: Public Nudity on a Japanese Volcano by Robbie Arnott (from Kill Your Darlings No.12)
    The summit was the most stunning place I’d ever seen. A muted kaleidoscope of texture and colour stretched out in front of me, volcanic rock pushed apart by bubbling geysers, snowdrifts dotted with lichen-covered boulders, a river of ash and sulphur running through a small green valley. Ruben and I didn’t say anything for a while, eating our lunch and staring at the view in front of us.’
  12. New Wave Rising: The Stunning Success of Indigenous Australian Film and Television by Rochelle Siemienowicz (from Kill Your Darlings No.16)
    ‘Many suggest that the wave of Indigenous screen talent is just starting to build. Between December 2009 and September 2013, the Australian Film Television and Radio School’s newly established Indigenous Unit trained over 700 Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.’
  13. Not B-List Exactly, But A–: Reading Siri Hustvedt and Lionel Shriver by Natalie Kon-Yu (from Kill Your Darlings No.8)
    ‘Forty years have passed since Margaret Atwood’s observation [that ‘most books in this society are written by men, and so are most reviews’] – years which have apparently opened the world up to women in new ways – and while more women might be writing now, the discrepancies between how male and female authors are regarded continues to blight our literary landscape.’
  14. Randolph Stow: An Ambivalent Australian by Gabrielle Carey (from Kill Your Darlings No.12)
    ‘Stow had a deeply personal relationship with Australia. By that I mean that the nation and the idea of Australianness wasn’t an abstract notion. I believe that, for Stow, it was almost personified. And it was a person with whom he had a tumultuous, love–hate affair. Like a lover he had tried to please, or a parent from whom he sought approval, Australia couldn’t return his affections, couldn’t match his emotional pitch, couldn’t embrace his artistic intensity.’
  15. Moving Forward? Australia’s Relationship with Israel by Antony Loewenstein (from Kill Your Darlings No.3)
    ‘I first discovered the importance of the Israel/Palestine conflict in my early teens, in Melbourne. I remember sitting around the Sabbath table with my parents and cousins, discussing the events of the week as we consumed schnitzels, soggy vegetables and chicken soup. In an age before the internet, we relied on print and radio for information about the Middle East, and it all seemed terribly far away.’
  16. The Invisible Women: Carers in Australian Families by Emily Maguire (from Kill Your Darlings No.4)
    ‘Care, the nursing historian Marie-Françoise Collière wrote, ‘is at the very root of women’s history, as it is around care that the main part of women’s destiny is woven’. This is true for Wendy, who has cared her entire life and swears she will do so until the day she dies. ‘When Mum’s gone,’ she tells me, ‘I’ll find someone else who needs me. I wouldn’t know what else to do with myself.’’
  17. ‘To The Well-Organised Mind, Death is but the Next Great Adventure’: Vale Harry Potter by Hannah Kent (from Kill Your Darlings No.7)
    ‘With the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two, I – like a great proportion of the reading world – was preparing myself for post-Potter-partum. As a fan who once painstakingly whittled her own wand, I’ve been struggling to accept that Harry Potter is finite. Even Rowling acknowledged she was in mourning like the rest of us: ‘It’s exactly like an ex-boyfriend […] I’ve never cried for a man as I cried for Harry Potter.’ It has all ended, and I am at a loss as to how to move on.’