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Research Statement for Hollen Singleton's short story "Earth House"
Background: ‘Earth House’ was written to develop “queer communication”, to quote Karen Barad, a style responsive to opaqueness in the non-human. This short story makes literate Barad’s materiality, reinforcing stylistic devices that correspond to their matter and impact how the fiction is read.
This research is in the related fields of speculative and climate fiction. How do we write to a rapidly evolving context, evading a very human concern with mastery? How do we write outside of controlled conditions?
Contribution: In ‘Earth House’, I sought to devolve the structure as the human narrative is inflected by animal and environment. Property ownership and human storying (“my first wife”; “a house… that was the real thing”) is displaced by the encroaching other – ancient and contemporary animals. Voice shifts and fragmentation wrest the story from singular grip; it becomes “a suturing of disparate parts” (Barad).
Significance: The story was Highly Commended for the 2020 Rachel Funari Fiction Prize, recommended by the judges (Eleni Hale, Jennifer Down and Rae White). The story was offered publication with Lip Magazine. Down noted that it “approaches the surreal yet remains grounded in… worldly fragments.” In 2021, ‘Earth House’ was selected from 336 entries as runner-up for the Peter Carey Short Story Award, receiving a prize of $1000 and publication in Meanjin. It was judged by Laurie Steed, who noted its merging of animal worlds. Meanjin is one of Australia’s best and oldest literary journals. International and national contributors include Jean-Paul Sartre, Kurt Vonnegut, Alexis Wright, David Malouf and Helen Garner.