‘Literary Quartet’ by Jen Calleja

Jen Calleja is a wonderful writer. I have been reading her reviews and personal nonfiction for a long time. I love her slightly surreal, both befuddling and clarifying collection, I’m Afraid That’s All We’ve Got Time For, published by Prototype in 2020. My favourite story in the collection is ‘Literary Quartet’, because it’s a story I often reference, something I’m not sure I can say for most short stories. In it a narrator is up for a prestigious award along with other writers, the story takes a turn for the strange, and frankly stressful, as the nominees are required to make a case for why they ought to win. Calleja lampoons the ridiculous theatre of prize-givings and, sadly oftentimes, how meaningless literature and art becomes when dressed up in ceremony.

Published in I’m Afraid That’s All We’ve Got Time For, Prototype Books 2020

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