«« Index »»



We are constantly thinking of the after. For me, I’m constantly thinking of when life will start after school ends. After my PhD is done, after I’ve moved out of my mother’s house, after I find a husband…But every now and then, I need to stop, take a breath, take a look around, because life is happening now.

For the contributors of this issue, the after is everywhere. The afterlife, the afternoon, the fun we have after the work is done. After loss, after love, a reconciliation after years of separation. I hope reading these pieces will make you think of your after, but I hope they also make you think of your now.

This issue of SWAMP is kind of like my first baby – I came on board as Editor-in-Chief after the lovely Annika Herb stepped down, and I have enjoyed the process immensely! My name is Nicole Shipley, and I am a current third-year PhD student at the University of Newcastle. I have been working on SWAMP as an editor since Issue 16, and taking over the reins as Editor-in-Chief has been a welcome task, both for the chance to read and critique more and more fantastic pieces of creative work, and the ability to procrastinate and still tell myself I’m working! Thank you, Annika, for trusting me with the editorial reins of this wonderful publication, and for answering all of my frantic, last-minute questions!

I want to thank all of our contributors of the issue, for writing such varied and interesting short stories and poems and sharing them with us. The best part of this role is getting to read each piece of work and wonder about the inspiration behind them. Some, as you’ll see, are shaped by strong feelings of love, loss, of family and friends, and of adventure. I hope they make you feel what I felt while reading them – moved, gladdened, and inspired!

I also want to thank the editors for this issue: we have Ella Rusak, from the University of Newcastle, who has taken on the role of Head Poetry editor, and managed to fulfil that role despite a bout of pneumonia! Shannon Todd, also from the University of Newcastle, and Fernanda Dahlstrom from Deakin University, made up the rest of the editorial board for poetry. Liz Chandler, from Massey University, and Rachel Watts, from Curtin University, joined me on the editorial board for the prose pieces. Thank you all for your hard work! Finally, thank you Peter Bower, for continuing to put this publication together, so that writers from all over have a safe place to express their thoughts, their feelings, and get their writing read.

While I was putting this issue together, I received an email from a teacher in New Zealand, who had come across a poem in an earlier issue and loved it so much, she wanted to teach it to her students. It made me think of the paradox we have of constantly worrying about the after while we try to live in the now, as well as what a fabulous space SWAMP is. It’s a space where we can come together – as authors, editors, and readers – and share thoughts and feelings and experiences. My favourite part of reading is that moment where you read something and think, Wow, you felt/did/wanted that too? I thought I was alone.

In saying that, the theme for Issue 20 is “Space”. Whether that be the spaces between, safe spaces, dangerous spaces, or the space of solar systems and galaxies, I want you to write about what space means to you, and then share it with us for Issue 20! Submissions are now open and will close 28th February!

Nicole Shipley







Published: 9 November, 2016.
Editorial Team: Nicole Shipley, Ella Rusak, Shannon Todd, Fernanda Dahlstrom, Liz Chandler, Rachel Watts, Keri Glastonbury (Editorial Advisor).