Kate Orman's Writing CV
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Published Books and Short StoriesCollapse )
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Completed Writing Projects, 2014
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Playing For Time, short story
Why Robbie Can't Dance, short story
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Words in print, 2014
*writing
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Robbie Can't Dance, short story, 4200 words
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Books read, 2014
*books 3
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Non-Fiction
John Blofield. Bodhisattva of Compassion: the Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin.
Michael Coogan. The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction.
Barbara Demick. Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea.
Swami Harshanansa. Devī and her Aspects.
Luke Timothy Johnson. The New Testament: a Very Short Introduction.
J.H. Patterson. The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo.
Salman Rushdie. The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey.
Eric Schlosser. Command and Control. Couldn't put it down.
Ronald Takaki. Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb.

Fiction
Janet Frame. Owls Do Cry.
Nalo Hopkinson. The New Moon's Arms.
John le Carré. The Looking-Glass War.
Mary McCarthy. Memories of a Catholic Girlhood.
Atiq Rahami. A Thousand Rooms of Dreams and Fear.
Steven Sherrill. The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break. Superb.
Bram Stoker. The Jewel of Seven Stars. I read an abridged version of this in primary school and was so bewildered by the conclusion that I thought "abridged" meant they had shortened the book by removing its ending. Now I see why my infant self was puzzled.
Koushun Takami. Battle Royale. (Trans. Yuji Oniki.) You must read this and then watch the movie, or vice versa.
Fay Weldon. Watching Me, Watching You. Breathtaking.

Manga
Hatori Bisco. Ouran High School Host Club vol 1.
Hino Matsuri. Vampire Knight vols 1-9.
Kishimoto Masashi. Naruto, vol 5.
Tite Kubo. Bleach volume 3.
Mayu Shinja. Ai Ore volume 8. Well that was confusing.
Yana Toboso. Black Butler, vol 1. Holy ^&*$^%$. vols 2-11

Books borrowed and boughtCollapse )
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Refugee Update - Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru
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Indonesia's president-elect Joko Widodo has told our PM it's unacceptable for the Australian navy to enter Indonesian waters when turning back asylum seeker boats. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison retorted that Indonesia has benefitted from the turnbacks, as they have stopped people-smuggling, which the haven't. Neither country mentioned the thousands of refugees and asylum seekers trapped in Indonesia.

Seven months after the attacks on asylum seekers at the Manus Island detention centre, 87 detainees still await medical treatment which cannot be provided at the camp, including a man with bullet fragments in his back. The delay in providing medical attention inside and outside the detention centre cost Hamid Khazaei his life. Conditions at the camp are filthy, contributing to detainee's poor health; skin infections are routine.

Gay asylum seekers at Manus who fled persecution in Iran fear resettlement in Papua New Guinea, where homosexuality can be punished with more than ten years in jail. They are also experiencing bullying within the camp.

Manus Island's local government has halted construction of new facilities at the detention centre and is threatening to close the centre unless the billion-dollar assistance package is renegotiated, citing issues such as the large difference in salaries for local and imported staff at the camp.

In September, hard drives were stolen from the Nauru detention centre's offices. Nothing had been done to secure the drives. The private information therein is potentially extremely dangerous to detainees, containing asylum seekers' case information and records of complaints against staff at the camp, including reports of physical and sexual assaults on children and women. The government alleges Save the Children workers fabricated the reports. Detainees were shown a video of Tony Abbott telling them they would not be settled in Australia; the subsequent outbreak of self-harm and suicide attempts were attributed by the government to coaching by STC.

The detention centre on Nauru lacks adequate water for washing and laundry due to a breakdown in equipment. (Thankfully, drinking water is supplied in bottles.) Requests by asylum seekers for basic necessities including clothing, mosquito nets, children's shoes, and sanitary napkins largely go unmet.

Nauru itself may shortly run out of money.

"Robbie Can't Dance" is now online - read it for free!
*writing
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It's right here: https://beta.cosmosmagazine.com/special-edition-robots-and-ai/robbie-cant-dance

I'd love to know what you think. :)
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The Well-Being of Bodies
*goddess bless and protect me, *goddess, *goddess moon, *cosmic code authority, *witch
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The introduction to Melissa Raphael's 2000 book Introducting Thealogy naturally talks a lot about the body and the embodiment of experience, by contrast with the disembodied abstractions of traditional religions for which the body and especially the female body are profane: "the female body is sacred; it incarnates the Goddess to such a degree that sacred space is simply that which the body's being-there sacralizes"; it can be "celebrated and revered" "as a part of that divine female body which is the earth or nature itself".

These are familiar ideas, but the sentence that struck me hard was this: "The well-being of bodies becomes a sign of the health of their spiritual, political and ecological environment."

Imagine a world based on that value system - one where the well-being of bodies (and minds, as Raphael makes clear) is the goal and the measure of a culture or society. The more you think about it, the more staggering it becomes, the more institutions it consumes - pollution, bombs, detention centres, hospital queues, addiction, clean water, guns, homelessness, even junk food - the list just goes on and on. This could not be a world in which society decries sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, and simultaneously tolerates them.

I am powerfully reminded that, despite criticism that Goddess feminism is a distraction from "real" politics, it is in fact profoundly political.

Urgent action request from the Combined Refugee Action Group
refugees
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(Click on the Julian Burnside link at the end for the full details of the Bill's implications. To write a quick, personalised email, pick a couple of points from the list. As an example I've included my own email at the foot of this posting.)




Here's the email I sent:

"I'm writing to express my alarm at the potential consequences of the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment Bill 2014. No government should have carte blanche to do whatever it likes without the oversight of the law, whether that oversight comes from the High Court, the Ombudsman, or the international treaties to which Australia has agreed. This lawless approach is especially alarming given the vagueness of the Bill, which leaves unspecified crucial issues such as how the safety of refugees sent to Cambodia will be guaranteed, and the details of the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa.

I urge you to speak out against this Bill, which is dangerous not just to vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees and to Australia's international reputation, but Australia itself, as a nation run not just by politicians' whims but by law."

Refugee Update - Christmas Island
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Lawyers have begun a class action against the government on behalf of Christmas Island detainees who have suffered mental and physical harm.

An Iranian asylum seeker alleges that a Serco employee sexually harassed him at the detention centre in Perth. The employee has been stood down, and the asylum seeker is being sent to Christmas Island. He commented, "[My case manager] told me that they are not trying to cover it up. But I think they do because they already fired the guy and transferring me to offshore - problem solved."

Vietnamese asylum seekers have been the targets of threats and attacks from other detainees on Christmas Island, including sexual assault, possibly because they arrived before the cut-off date for asylum applications. Apparently little or nothing is being done to protect them.

The Forgotten Isle: Life on Christmas Island describes the impact of the detention centre on the island's residents.

Refugee Update - Manus Island
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According to a worker at the Manus Island detention centre, Hamid Kehazaei was kept waiting for a medical transfer to Port Moresby for a week, despite symptoms of septicaemia, a medical emergency which requires immediate treatment.

In October, the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court will rule whether a challenge to the Manus detention centre can continue. The court case involves both the legality of the centre and whether PNG's human rights laws have been violated by the treatment of detainees. (The Australian government funded the defence of an earlier constitutional challenge to the centre at the cost of $350,000 - $370,000.)

In the meantime, new fencing has been installed at the centre, eleven months after it was first recommended and eight months after flimsy fencing was pushed down by attackers. In a submission to the inquiry into February's fatal violence, a Salvation Army worker claims that he alerted his seniors to threatened violence by two fellow workers, one of whom has since been charged with the murder of Reza Berati.

PNG still has yet to work out its resettlement policy. Amnesty International comments that "It's been 22 months since the first asylum seeker was transferred to Manus... In that time, two asylum seekers have died and about 70 have been seriously injured, but not one has actually been processed and resettled. Over 1000 men are just languishing indefinitely in conditions the UN have said are inhumane."

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