Graduation – the latest milestone

Picture by Kirstyn McDermottHere I am in my bonnet and gown, marking graduation from The University of Queensland with a doctorate in creative writing.

Thirty years ago, I was lining up about this time of year in Rockhampton to mark graduation from what is now the University of Central Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts. And in 2008 came a Masters in creative writing from QUT – no ceremony for that one.

My mum died in 1992 and we farewelled Dad at a service on July 18, but their spirits were very much with me at UQ on July 19. Farming folk with limited educations, they were determined I would have the opportunities they had not.

My doctoral thesis was entitled “Watermarks: Science Fiction, Mitigation and the Mosaic Novel Structure in Australian Climate Fiction” and this is the dedication from it:

In a letter published in 1981, my mother, Loma Nahrung, wrote, “I love the wet season—which should be around January through to March, but of late they have not been so predictable … the climate seems to be changing” (White and Nahrung 139). I often wonder what this farmer would have thought of our current state of affairs. This thesis is dedicated to my mother and father, Frank, neither of whom were able to celebrate this achievement, but without whose support, encouragement and sacrifice I would not have made it this far.

So here I am, without them, but they are very much with me.

The gathering of the clans for Dad’s service, and having three friends graduate alongside me with family members in the audience, and then the coming together of family and friends to celebrate afterwards — I am further reminded I am not alone in this journey. (I love you all.)

Where to from here, I wonder. Wherever, we go together, and that’s what matters.

Mum, Dad and me at graduation in 1989.

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Vale Frank Nahrung – Dad

Frank Nahrung
My dad, Frank Nahrung, died on Thursday morning, July 11, peacefully and pain free in a Caboolture nursing home with his partner, Eve, by his side. He had turned 82 in May.

For the past couple of days, the family and I have been contacting those who knew my dad well. And now I feel I can spread the word more widely, with sincere apologies to anyone who might feel overlooked.

On Thursday July 18 in Brisbane our clans come together in a family service to farewell Dad and celebrate his life. Down the track, friends and family will be invited to a commemoration back on his home country. We will raise our glasses and share our fondest memories.

But today, it is enough to say, he lives on in our hearts and memories. He was a good man, he made us feel safe and loved, and he always had our backs. He is cherished and he will not be forgotten.

Loma Kunst, Jason Nahrung, Frank Nahrung

Mum, Dad and son at our home, ‘Conamore’

A new story at AntipodeanSF

Created with GIMP

*** UPDATE: Ion is selling copies of issue 250 via Lulu ($20 + P&H) ***

Congratulations of Ion ‘Nuke’ Newcombe, who has just released issue 250 of AntipodeanSF.

Back in 2002, Ion published my story ‘Prime Cuts‘ in his online anthology — my first fiction publication outside the Vision writers’ newsletter. I was stoked!

Ion has been consistently giving new chums and old hands a chance to be chuffed for 21 years, and added a few more bells and whistles along the way, including oodles of audio.

It’s a fabulous achievement, and one I was happy to salute by contributing ‘Dissonance‘, an experimental climate fiction story, to the 250th issue. It’s a bumper celebration, with more than 50 pieces of short fiction and many illustrations, including established names like Cat Sparks, Simon Brown and Lee Battersby.

Well done, Nuke. Bless AntipodeanSF and all who sail with it.

Slither makes the Australian Shadows shortlist

Australian Shadows shortlist for horror short stories

Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2Very pleased indeed to learn last night that ‘Slither’, my short story in Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2, has been named a finalist in the Australian Shadows awards for best horror short story, alongside some very fine talent.

This follows on from an Aurealis nomination in the same category — go you little story! I found one of the early drafts of it just this week when I was looking for something nice and family-friendly to read at Clunes Booktown on Sunday (nup, have to wing it) — 2003. That’s how long it took me to get it right.

Kind of a horror story, kind of an alternative history, definitely an ode to my father. I’m very pleased this story has been noticed in this way, because it means a lot.

Congratulations to everyone who made the final running – it’s an achievement in itself!

Read the full list of finalists here.

The awards will be presented at the Continuum convention in Melbourne on June 7-10.

You can read more about ‘Slither’ here.
 

A doctor in the house

Four years ago I headed up to Brisbane to start a creative writing doctorate at The University of Queensland, and now the journey is complete.

What a strange and wonderful process it has been. I’ll probably write more on that presently, but for now, it’s time to sit back and reflect on what was a lengthy and challenging endeavour, enriched and enabled by the support of friends, family and colleagues, and of course my supervisors and the staff at UQ. Thank you all!

Those spare beds for the initial three months I was required to be on campus? Invaluable. A wife prepared to hold the fort while I was away? Beloved.

watermarks in cosmos 57: art by joe whyte, story by jason nahrungThe final thesis title was “Watermarks: Science Fiction, Mitigation and the Mosaic Novel Structure in Australian Climate Fiction”. It grew from my short story “Watermarks”, bought by then Cosmos fiction editor Cat Sparks, who has recently been awarded a PhD in climate fiction studies too.

Graduation is in July and I’m looking forward to celebrating with friends from my cohort who have also ticked off their research higher degrees this year.

So what’s with the Canadian chocolate bar? Well, last year, we had our first holiday in a long time, to celebrate significant birthdays with dear Canadian friends. I submitted my thesis on the day before we flew out. It was Halloween while we were away, so I brought back this tasty morsel with the intention of signifying the conclusion of my doctorate by munching it! Coffin Crisp, your time is up!

Aurealis Award nomination for Slither

Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2Dead chuffed to hear last night that ‘Slither’, my short story in Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2, has been named a finalist in the Aurealis Awards for best horror short story.

It sits alongside these finalists, and while a trophy seems unlikely, it’s an absolute thrill to think something I’ve written has garnered this kind of recognition, especially given what is a very talented field of Australian horror writers.

‘The Offering’, Michael Gardner (Aurealis #112)

‘By Kindle Light’, Jessica Nelson-Tyers (Antipodean SF #235)

‘Hit and Rot’, Jessica Nelson-Tyers (Breach #08)

‘Sub-Urban’, Alfie Simpson (Breach #07)

‘The Further Shore’, J Ashley Smith (Bourbon Penn #15)

The nomination is all the more appreciated because it comes amid the tension of the death throes of my PhD! Finally, something to smile about 🙂

I have a bunch of friends also up for awards, and it’s always great to see this kind of recognition for them. I especially note a certain Kirstyn McDermott in the best horror novella category (for her most excellent Triquetra).
Congratulations to everyone who made the final running – it’s an achievement in itself!

Read the full list of finalists here.

The awards will be presented at an event in Melbourne on 4 May, 2019.

You can read more about ‘Slither’ here.
 

Stranded Assets finds a home

Colloquy journal 35/36 December 2018I guess the headline is a little contradictory, but anyway, I’m pleased as punch that ‘Stranded Assets’ has found a berth in Colloquy journal — a nice dip of the hat to 2018.

The short story was written as part of my PhD in creative writing, but is somewhat smaller than the version included in the thesis* due to word count constraints. It is a look into the future after the coal miners intent on tearing up Central Queensland, planet be damned, have come unstuck, and how the mess they make might be salvaged.

Editors Zachary Kendal and Aisling Smith describe it thus:

Nahrung’s futuristic ‘Stranded Assets’ strongly evokes its Queensland setting and subtly engages with issues confronting contemporary Australia. The story also engages with broader issues, such as the role of technology and the pressures of parenthood.

There are some amazing papers in the journal … Lovecraft, Angela Carter, Blake’s 7, and some Gothic horror! Just the stuff for some yuletide reading!

*The thesis was submitted in October, so I’m awaiting examiners’ reports in the new year.