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Some of Australia’s best-loved novelists also write great short stories. They can be hard to find, but now digital publishing offers new opportunities for short form writing.

Allen & Unwin is proud to announce A&U Shorts, a series of short stories published as standalone eBooks. For less than the price of a cup of coffee, you can download a story on the train to read on the way to work.

Taste Peter Temple’s scathing wit in Ithaca in my Mind; visit the dark side of suburbia in Christos Tsiolkas' Sticks, Stones; try Charlotte Wood's sharp and tender observations of daily interactions in Nanoparticles; or Alex Miller's haunting story of good intentions gone wrong, Manuka.

A&U Shorts will be available from May 2012 for just $1.99 each.

  • Tom Keneally, Blackberries
  • Alex Miller, Manuka
  • Peter Temple, Ithaca in my Mind
  • Christos Tsiolkas, Sticks, Stones 
  • Charlotte Wood, Nanoparticles

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The authors and the stories:

Blackberries by Tom Keneally Thomas Keneally

Austin North sees himself as a fine English teacher in his local high school. His students respect him, and he finds personal fulfillment in teaching them the power of poetry to move and inspire. However, Austin's self-perceptions are upset by his infatuation with a young Sudanese girl, a recent immigrant to Australia. When Austin realises that he is just another predator in her difficult journey, he is forced to re-examine his own values and relationships.

Thomas Keneally was born in 1935 and has written prodigiously, both fiction and non-fiction. His novels include Bring Larks and Heroes, The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest, Schindler's Ark and The People's Train. He has the won the Miles Franklin Award, the Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Book Prize, the Royal Society of Literature Prize, the Scripter Award of the University of Southern California, the Mondello International Prize and the Helmerich Prize. He lives in Sydney with his wife, Judy.

Alex Miller Manuka by Alex Miller

In this haunting story, two Australian men are hired to clear the ubiquitous manuka scrub in a bleak and rain-swept New Zealand gully. As their wide open homeland and dreams of teaching the locals how to break in horses begin to seem increasingly remote, the backbreaking, monotonous work and isolation soon take their toll, on body and mind.

Alex Miller is one of Australia's best loved writers. He is twice winner of Australia's premier literary prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, first in 1993 for The Ancestor Game, and again in 2003 for Journey to the Stone Country, as well as receiving numerous other literary awards. His most recent novel, Autumn Laing, was published to acclaim in 2011.

Ithaca in My Mind by Peter Temple Peter Temple

On a lazy summer morning, ageing author Vincent Duncan takes an unsettling phone call from his literary agent. Peter Temple indulges his humorous side in this scathingly brilliant portrayal of a writer past his peak.

Peter Temple, a former journalist, is an award-winning crime fiction writer. He is the first Australian to win a Golden Dagger, for The Broken Shore in 2007, and the only crime fiction author to have won the Miles Franklin, for Truth in 2010.

Christos Tsiolkas Sticks, Stones by Christos Tsiolkas

'My God,' she thought, a coldness settling in her, 'do I hate him?'

After witnessing her teenage son insult a disabled girl, a mother struggles with contempt for her child. Compelling short fiction from Australia's master of dark suburbia.

Christos Tsiolkas is a critically acclaimed novelist, playwright, essayist and screen writer. His bestselling novel The Slap won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 2009 and in 2011 was adapted into an eight-part television series.

Nanoparticles by Charlotte Wood Charlotte Wood

In 'Nanoparticles', Lisa cannily observes the people waiting alongside her at the motor registry, from the harried mother of two to the man engrossed in his newspaper. With her characteristically sharp and tender observations, Charlotte Wood examines the smallest things that draw us together and the many larger issues that wrench us apart.

Charlotte Wood is the best-selling author of The Children and Animal People and was short-listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award for The Submerged Cathedral. Her novels have also been short-listed for many other awards, including the Australian Book Industry Awards and the regional Commonwealth Writers' prize.