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UQP to publish renowned visual artist SJ Norman’s debut collection
Posted 13.11.2020

UQP to publish renowned visual artist SJ Norman’s debut collection

UQP is delighted to announce that we’ve acquired visual artist, performer and writer SJ Norman’s incredible debut story collection, Permafrost. These stories can loosely be described as contemporary ghost stories, each representing a take on the concept of a haunting or the haunted. Ranging across genre, theme and location, the narratorial voice is a constant that brings the collection together, always first person and often with autofictional resonances. Whether recounting the tribulations of a young girl enduring the inscrutable dynamics of her father and stepmother’s relationship on a trip to Canberra, an uncanny after-hours tour of Auschwitz, or reconnecting with a former lover in snowy Japan, Permafrost unsettles, transports and impresses in equal measure.

Publisher Aviva Tuffield says: ‘SJ Norman is an exceptional literary talent. Better known for his visual and performance work, I am convinced that is all about to change. In tone, Norman’s stories swing between a determined realism that is grounded in the gritty and sometimes abject physical and emotional intimacies of his narrators, and a more gothic inflection, bordering on the surreal or supernatural. There is an assuredness, a lucidity and a swagger to his writing that leaves an indelible mark in the reader’s mind.’

SJ Norman says: ‘I set out to write a book of queer/ed ghost stories – it was really a genre project to begin with. I was interested in the ontological and formal tension between a white/European ghost story, and the containment this form gives to the things that haunt us, and the very different way that I have understood and experienced hauntings and numinous phenomena through my own cultural lense. Nothing I will ever write will not be haunted, because I live as a haunted body in a haunted world.’

SJ Norman is a cross-disciplinary artist and writer. During the course of an 18 year career, he has worked extensively in Australia and internationally, with recent major commissions including the Biennale of Sydney, Performance Space New York, Dark Mofo, Venice International Performance Week, Tarnanthi Festival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, SPILL Festival, Unsound Festival, Melbourne Festival and the forthcoming National Indigenous Art Triennial, to name a few. In addition to his practice as an independent artist, he is the founder and co-curator (with his collaborator, Joseph M. Pierce) of the Indigenous-led experimental art festival, Knowledge of Wounds, inaugurated in New York City/Lenapehoking in 2020. He has received numerous awards for his art, including a Sidney Myer Fellowship and an Australia Council Fellowship.

His writing has been published in literary journals, such as Meanjin, Overland, Kill Your Darlings and Cultural Studies Review. He has won or placed in numerous literary awards, including being the winner of the inaugural Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award, as well as listings in The Lifted Brow Prize for Experimental Non-Fiction, the ABR/Elizabeth Jolley Award for Short Story and the Peter Blazey Fellowship. SJ was born on Gadigal land and since 2006 has been based between Australia, Europe and the continent referred to by many First Nations peoples as Turtle Island (USA).

For more information please contact Louise Cornegé on louisec@uqp.uq.edu.au or 07 3346 7932