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New anthology reflects the rich life of Melbourne's streets

A new anthology shines a light on Melbourne and many of its talented writers. It is also an accidental tribute to life in our city before coronavirus. 

On the Street features 20 emerging and established writers on the theme of streets – specifically, Melbourne streets. Through personal essays, short fiction and poetry, the different writers explore geographies of love, loss, betrayal and discovery in a city beloved by many. 

From monkey jockeys on Sunshine Road, to one last, lonely bucks’ night on Brunswick Street, the collection has something for anyone who’s ever lived in or visited Melbourne. 


Publisher and co-editor Sarah Fraser says the anthology was conceived as an unashamedly local project. ‘What I love about Melbourne is it’s the kind of city that people build a history with,’ she says. ‘I wanted to bring together writers with a range of perspectives, hand them a quite local theme and see what they did with it.’  

Co-editor Susanna Nelson says: ‘Melbourne has all these familiar geographical markers that we all know – the Flinders/Swanston street intersection, Brunswick Street, Degraves Street and its cafes – but each of us has a unique history with them. That’s what this book is about – our everyday connection to place.’ 


Life before lockdown 

The stories have taken on added significance since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.  

‘We were half-way through putting the book together for publication when the city went into lockdown,’ says Sarah. ‘About a week later, I was re-reading one of the pieces, and I thought, wow, this seems like another world – it was a piece on Swanston Street, just talking about parades and crowds and shopping. I had a sad moment when I wondered if we’d ever be able to do any of those things again, and questioned what this book was about now, in this new reality. We’d gone from celebrating Melbourne to commemorating it in the space of a week!’


She is optimistic about both the book and Melbourne’s future, however, as are all the contributors. ‘The landscape has changed, and Melbourne’s vibe is a little different to what it was, but we see this book as the bigger reality, compared with the current COVID-tinted picture. I think these stories are reminders of what we'll regain when we get to the other side of this pandemic’.


On the Street will be published by Brunswick publisher Quiet Corner in late May 2020.


Ten percent of all profits from the book will be donated to The Life You Can Save

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