ScratchThat Newsletter #13
Newsletter #13
Hello again friends, we hope the last newsletter found you okay and provided some interesting content. Welcome to our thirteenth newsletter! In this one, we announce the winner from the author biography competition – you guys did NOT hold back with this one, so read on to see if you get to go home with an armful of new books.
Some new things to look forward to:
We are asking you guys to submit some content for us to publish in the next newsletter! If you have something that you love, but it has been rejected by others, please send it or an extract of it to us!
We love reading and want to hear more from our audience, so again, don’t hold back!
The only condition is that it must be 600 words or less.

The art in this newsletter has been brought to you by: Ellie Kaddatz and Rhiannon Lobley
The written content has been brought to you by: Callum Slaughter
We are just as ready for the fifth issue of ScratchThat as you are, and now we can all heave a sigh of relief together. Get ready to mark it in your calendars – the 10th of September is the official launch of our magazine. Everyone can now wait in anticipation to see completely original and engaging work! In the meantime, don’t forget to continue reading, submitting and getting involved in competitions of our newsletters. We’ll keep you all updated on upcoming events.
Happy Scratching everyone!

      QUT Literary Salon      
Hey ScratchThat fans! jackson here again with some Lit Salon tea. Our Pride month salon is still open for submissions until the 2nd of September! We’re celebrating LGBTQIA+ representation in writing, and want to see work from all the alphabet mafia students out there. The QUT Literary Salon is an inclusive space for all genders and sexualities, and we can’t wait to celebrate diversity with you all! 

- Single submissions only
- For prose, word limits between 400-1200 words
- A maximum suite of 4, for poetry
- All submissions should be made via our Google form.

Please follow us at @qutlitsalon on Instagram and The QUT Literary Salon on Facebook to stay up to date.

Make A Selection 

What we've been consuming
If you’re struggling to create a villain in your story, or trying to deepen your characters characteristics, I suggest going to YouTube and searching ‘Criminal Psychology’. These (sometimes hour long) videos unpack in great detail the thoughts, body language and processes of murderers, psychopaths and sociopaths. Most of these videos are morbid and shocking, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll find them completely fascinating. I play the videos whilst doing dishes, going for walks, or (most of all) procrastinating. Learning about these people and their crimes can really help piece together some great and realistic components to your un-finished characters (or at least, this is my excuse if anyone asks why I’m listening to them). 
Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson is my new favourite book. Every now and then you read a book that teaches you more about yourself. This was one of those books for me that i just cannot get out of my mind. If you’re familiar with Greek Mythology then you may have heard of Geryon - the red monster that Hercules kills in his 10th labor. Well this verse novel takes Geryon and gives him the complex backstory that monsters so rarely get. We follow his struggles with growing up as a monster, and his complicated romance with Hercules, and just the idea that this seemingly insignificant monster deserves any kind of coming-of-age redemption story is so queer and wonderful! Thankyou Mindy Gill (queen!) for the recommendation! Australia has some great and diverse verse novels like The Monkey’s Mask by Dorothy Porter – about a lesbian detective on the case to solve a rape and murder case through the victim’s poetry, and Ruby Moonlight by Ali Cobby Eckerman – about a young Aboriginal girl who is the sole survivor of her family’s massacre. All of these works are written so beautifully – and they can all be found at the QUT Library (when i return them anyway). Music recs? Cyprus Grove by Glaive!


I'm brave enough to admit when I've become borderline-fixated with something. When I'm teetering on the edge of obsession; arms flailing and toes pressing into sharp rock, clinging on for dear life (read: clinging on for my own sanity and the sanity of those around me). It is not often that I can find my balance and step back from the precipice. More often than not I swing forward and fall, fall, fall flat-bellied and hard into the cool water of whatever is threatening to occupy my mind full time in that moment. Recently, the pink squiggle in my skull has been busy reading, and then relentlessly pondering, the writing of Angie Sijun Lou. I've floated blissfully through her poetry, fiction, and non-fiction and all are wonderfully marvellous. Go read her work -- you'll understand my infatuation. 

Allen & Unwin
"I want to be rich enough for someone else to tell me what to say in all my interviews"
An Interview with 2020’s Allen & Unwin Undergraduate Prize Winner: Gabrielle Cramond
This week i had the fantastic opportunity to get the inside scoop on the post-graduate life from former ScratchThat copy-editor, Gabbi Cramond! A huge thankyou to Gabbi for being able to sit down with me over a messenger call and chat about the Allen and Unwin prize, and what she’s been up to since graduating. Unfortunately, Gabbi wasn’t able to meet with an editor from Allen & Unwin last year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but she has plenty of wisdom to share regardless.
Jackson: How have you been? How’s 2021?

Gabbi: Better than 2020 – I think everyone can say that. I had some ups, some downs, but we’re all good, I have a job.
Jackson: What do you do for work?
Gabbi: I’m a content and tender writer. I started in June, but I work for an EAP company, so we provide counselling for employees and workplaces as a third party…I write a lot of information.
Jackson: Still using the degree though, that’s cool!
Gabbi: Yeah, and I will say – ScratchThat did get me the job. More so Rohan (Wilson) got me the job, because I know 100% he gave me a glowing review.
Jackson: Rohan really is the best.
Gabbi: Oh, absolutely.
Jackson: Do you have any advice for a new member of ScratchThat? I just started this semester.
Gabbi: Do as much as you can, and I think branch out as much as you can.
Jackson: I remember you said in your interview from last year, your story (White Lines) was inspired by censorship and your experience with cultural cringe, which gave me very Dangerous Ideas vibes.
Gabbi: Yep. That’s the class I wrote it for.
Jackson: I thought so! Did you see that assignment as an opportunity to write something you wanted to publish, or did you come back to it when you found out about Allen & Unwin?
Gabbi: I came back to it. It was more that I didn’t have the time to write something new, and it was always one of my pieces that I enjoyed and got the best feedback from…I was just kind of lazy *laughs*. I did go through a pretty intense editorial stage, but it was something that – even if I didn’t win, I’d be happy to put it out there.
Jackson: Are you still proud of White Lines now?
Gabbi: I haven’t read it back since! I will say – I liked the feedback I got from my friends and my family – that they didn’t understand it...I got a lot of people saying they took away different things from it…I’m still happy in that regard…I will say, I was proud of a lot of the imagery and the heat connotations that I think really worked for the setting, and a lot of that inspiration from my childhood, growing up in Brisbane – not the best or fanciest place to live like Melbourne.
Jackson: Do you still write about those kinds of themes? Censorship and cultural cringe?
Gabbi: Not so much. That was definitely something I did because of the class (Dangerous Ideas). But I definitely set almost all my pieces in Australia, in locations that I’ve seen…I guess it is like a little vendetta against cultural cringe, like “yeah I can set my stories in Australia”…what I have written recently is definitely more about my position as a person and as a woman in society.
Jackson: Still slaying with those themes though – Iconic, Girlboss.
Gabbi: Thankyou! I’m wearing a blazer, I’m a Girlboss!
Jackson: Has your creative process changed now that you’re firmly in the post-graduate world?
Gabbi: I’m not being forced to write anything, which I think is a bit bad in a way…sometimes being told that you have to write this and this can be really helpful for pushing out new ideas. A lot of things I learnt from university, like how I edit – it’s very much two separate things. I listen to different music when I edit…when you have this candle it means that I’m editing.
Jackson: (For writing consistently) Assignments can be really nice I think. Maybe you don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do.
Gabbi: Oh no, I do.
Jackson: A lot of people have been saying they don’t believe in it lately! But I feel it - it is physical.
Gabbi: There’s a bit of disgust when you’re like “oh, I don’t want to do this” – there’s a mental block I think as well, more than a creative one.
Jackson: Do you have any advice for students that are considering submitting to Allen & Unwin?
Gabbi: Just do it! There’s nothing to lose from it. It’s a free competition, there’s a small pool of people that can join, and that’s something that you’re not going to get really ever again. You get a publication, prize money, a meeting with a really great editor – there are no drawbacks. It’s very much like baby steps, and that’s very important to try before you graduate, even if you don’t win. It’s a competition for undergraduates, for people like you, and there’s not really anything else like that around. And I will say I did get books afterwards, all Allen & Unwin books.
Jackson: I often imagine myself in a future interview, and what I want my all-time writerly quote to be. Do you have anything you’ve always wanted to say in an interview? Even if it’s out of context.
Gabbi: I want to be rich enough for someone else to tell me what to say in all my interviews.
Find Gabbi @gabbicramond on Instagram, and find the website they created when they were apart of ScratchThat here!
Read their winning piece White Lines here!

Spilled Ink

A platter of ponderings
Callum Slaughter

This Platter of Ponderings is presented to you in the form of a creative short story by Callum Slaughter. Continue on to read Filter:


Max had always loved the stars. Ever since he was a little boy crawling around the ankles of his mother and father, he had never failed to stop and stare at the night sky. He loved the thought of countless undiscovered planets, each with their own unique treasures floating in space, waiting for discovery. But most of all, he loved the thought of extra-terrestrial life, aliens.
He watched every science fiction show he could get his hands on and every science magazine issue he could afford found a place in his treasured magazine box. Of course, some of Max’s friends made fun of him. It didn’t matter. He loved space.
Max aged and his passion became somewhat tempered. Through high school, it would aid him in applying himself in his science classes; for the rest, he would daydream of all that lay up there. For the most part, he was a good student. Later he dedicated himself to being a good son too.
When his father fell ill and could no longer run the family corner store on his own, Max took it upon himself to cover the weekend shift. Weekends were always the busiest period of the week and although he would come to hate retail with a passion, he was proud he could help the family out. With his earnings, however, Max once again fell prey to his old passion for space and the unknown.
Like many other 16-year-old boys his age, Max spent much of his time on the internet, particularly UFO conspiracy websites. He would read them aloud and wonder where all the aliens truly were. If there really were little grey men coming to Earth, he was certain irrefutable evidence would exist. While he was reading, an advertisement popped up, showing a computer and radio antenna system. The ad claimed it was available at any major tech dealership in the country.
Max was sold.
The next day he caught the bus into town and bought the radio kit. It was heavy and bulky, and the small inbuilt computer meant to send messages to supposed advanced civilisations seemed rather dated. Such small details didn’t bother Max. He knew if he wanted to make real alien friends, he would need to take the initiative.
Thankfully the device was simple enough to operate, capable of sending sound out over a range of non-commercial radio frequencies. Max set the range variation as high as he could, but then he encountered a problem. What would he say? He spent an afternoon pondering the matter and finally settled on a single, elegant question.
Is there anyone out there?
Max left the radio on its automatic mode as the rest of his life continued and he waited, hoping that one day the radio would record a response for him.
The years went quickly for Max, and he finished high school while still tending to his father’s shop. He later went on to university and, some time after that became engaged to his fiancé. All the while, his message continued its transmission out to the universe.
Is there anyone out there?
Years later, Max’s father had passed away. To help his mother, he and his now-wife volunteered to stay with her. Max, depressed and bored out of his mind, took it upon himself to rummage around his old room to find something, anything to keep his mind off the death of his father. He found the old radio. It was still turned on and broadcasting, but that wasn’t it; the message received light was flashing.
Max’s eyes lit up and without any hesitation, he hit play. An alien voice spoke to him in an utterly inhuman and yet beautiful accent.
Be silent. It will hear you.
His fascination turned to shock and yet… The message received light was still flashing. It had recorded another message. With shaking fingers, he pushed the play button. A voice spoke to him, and he could hear screams in the background.
Yes. I hear you.
Max took a deep breath to try and calm his trembling and decided to step outside for some fresh air.
He couldn’t see the stars.
Something was blocking them.


Mixed Bag

Writing and art prompts just for you

 Author Bio Competition 

Today, dear readers, is the day we announce the winner of our author bio competition from newsletter #12... Madison Blissett de Weger! Thank you Madison for sharing your incredibly creative and professional author bio with us. We hope you love your new books! 

Non-Fiction Writing Prompt
What is a secret, un-popular opinion you have never shared with anyone else or said out loud? Is there something you’re scared to say? Something you feel you may be judged for? If you were to say this un-popular opinion out loud, how would you articulate it in a way that would convince others to change their mind or at least consider your thoughts?
Have you yourself been open-minded about this/these opinions?
Try articulating it through the page, explain yourself. Write about it!
Perhaps you’ll change someone’s mind or even change your own! See where the page takes you.
Fiction Writing Prompt
Do you know what Thalassophobia is? It is the fear of deep bodies of water. Have you ever felt small, alone and defenceless whilst swimming in the ocean, knowing that literally anything could be beneath you? You may have Thalassophobia!
Only 5% of Earth’s oceans have been explored. This leaves A LOT of undiscovered and unknown things to lurk beneath our deep blue waters.
Your fiction writing prompt is: Write about something that could be found deep down in parts of the ocean that have never yet been explored. Create an entire new species of marine animal – what can your brain come up with? Will it make you scared of the ocean? Could it possibly already exist? Get to writing!
Happy scratching!