MENTORING AND EMPOWERING VULNERABLE MOTHERS PROGRAM
The 2020 BWC Grant will provide vulnerable women and children living in transitional crisis accommodation with opportunities to build living skills helping them transition to independent living in the community. Providing a stable home is vital, and is the first building block on the path to empowerment. The women will learn new skills in health and wellbeing, parenting, education and money management through intensive case management, workshops and excursions. The program aims to increase self-esteem, confidence and awareness of rights. The Grants Sub-Committee felt that the project aligned well with the BWC vision as it aims to break the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage and learned behaviours which may have led to their homelessness, enabling them to participate equally in society.
A high-level summary of the applications received:
All Applications sought the full grant support of $5,000.
Total project costs ranged from 25% of grant funds to 100% required to deliver the project.
Fifty per cent of the applications had secured funding from other sources.
Applications received targeted a wide range of groups, including mothers of autistic children, disadvantaged women, women with cancer, women who are homeless, disenfranchised women, victims of domestic violence, female researchers and scientists, migrant women, unemployed women and female artists.
Proposed projects were for a range of support and services including mentoring, counselling, education, leadership, financial literacy, skills building, self-care, health-related services, and provision of ‘essential’ or ‘critical’ goods.
BWC thanks everyone for the quality of their application and the generous work you contribute to supporting women and girls in Queensland. There were many worthy causes and worthwhile programs making the selection of this year’s recipient a challenge for the BWC Grants Sub-Committee and the BWC Board.
BWC also thanks those members who generously volunteered their time to participate in the Grants Sub-Committee, as well as other members who offered to assist but that we could not accommodate on this occasion. It was heartening to have so many of members want to contribute to this important part of BWC.
BWC will share more information about Good Samaritan Housing and its Mentoring and Empowering Vulnerable Mothers Program in the near future.
BWC is a company limited by guarantee comprised of volunteer board members.
We are looking to nominate and elect a new board members at our AGM in February 2020.
To supplement and compliment the existing board members skills we are primarily looking to elect board members with skills in event management, digital marketing and communications and social media and or the development of an online virtual community.
We are open to discuss other areas and how they contribute to the existing board skillset.
All Board members are required to be familiar with ASIC and ACNC director obligations and the structure of a company limited by guarantee.
Organisation: Brisbane Women’s Club Organisation Type: Charity/NFP Coverage: QLD Position Title: Board Member / Non Executive Director Duration of Appointment: 3 years Remuneration: Unpaid (expenses not covered) Industry / Sector: NGO / NFP / Other Charitable Skills Sought: Transformation / Growth, Communications, Governance, Diversity & Inclusion, Digital Marketing / Social Media Closing Date: Extended until Friday 6 December 2019
About The Organisation
The Brisbane Women’s Club (BWC) is a centre for Brisbane and Queensland women to exercise progressive leadership around issues of public importance for women, to support projects and organisations aimed at improving the lives of women, and to mentor and guide younger women to achieve equal participation in the social, cultural, political and economic arenas of Australian life. BWC aims to bring together a diverse group of professional women in Brisbane and South East Queensland.
Being a part of BWC provide an opportunity to actively get involved in activities and events which have benefits for women and which are of great interest to BWC members, to extend professional and personal networks with like-minded women, and to be part of an organisation that speaks out on behalf of women.
We are a not for profit and all proceeds from our events go to charities operating in this space in Brisbane and Queensland, or as part of our ongoing grants program.
1) Previous governance experience (board, committee, association etc) or the ability to demonstrate how your skills can be applied.
2) Understanding of corporate and legal structures, in particular corporate governance requirements.
2) Appreciation of the not for profit space and ASIC/ACNC requirements for directors.
3) Commitment to be a leader in the field of gender equality, women’s issues and leadership.
4) Ability to contribute to financial oversight of the company.
5) Developed communication skills including the ability to present board papers, assess risk and articulate opinions in a professional manner.
6) Time and ability to contribute to board meetings, BWC operational and planning matters and attendance at majority of BWC events in any one year, including taking an active role in some of our working committees. BWC relies upon its volunteer board to drive activities and events and to engage members.
7) Willingness to join BWC as a member for term of director appointment (3 years).
How To Apply
Email firstname.lastname@example.org an introductory letter explaining why you want to become a BWC Chair, your high level CV and statement addressing the Selection Criteria in no more than 5 pages.
We are so thrilled to be apart of the upcoming WOW Australia Brisbane event as part of International Day of the Girl Child.
We will be helping to put together a team of 100 WOW (Women of the World) Mentors from all walks of life, for a unique speed mentoring session to take place the Wheel of Brisbane on Friday 11th October and we would love you to join us!!
To highlight the UN theme for 2019, GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable, WOW Australia has invited young women, years 10 and 11 to participate in a day of activities at QPAC and the Wheel of Brisbane at South Bank.
BWC MEMBERS, THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN….
The speed-mentoring sessions will take place on the Wheel of Brisbane. As a Mentor you will have the opportunity to meet with 4 young women to support and offer guidance in relation to any challenges or issues they are grappling with.
No specialist experience is required, only life experience, enthusiasm and an interest in developing young women.
WHEN: Friday 11 October 2018
TIME: 2 Sessions available.
11am – 1.30pm OR 12.45 – 3pm
WHERE: QPAC and the Wheel of Brisbane
RSVP BY: Tuesday 2 October
So if you are available and ready to empower and impact the lives of our young Brisbane women, please get involved as a volunteer directly with WOW at www.wowaustralia.com.au/contact
Also, BWC members we will be having a coffee at the ABC Champ Kitchen and Bar at 10am before the mentoring sessions 🙂
We are seeking 2 enthusiastic BWC members to work with our Board, to form a Movie Fundraiser Sub-Committee.
The Movie Fundraiser Sub-Committee is responsible for taking the lead in planning, resourcing and delivering an upcoming Movie Fundraiser event with the support of the Board, other volunteers and any guests as required.
Our next movie event is scheduled in a month’s time – so please only volunteer for this sub-committee if you can assist over the next few weeks.
You will need to be a member to be apart of this committee. If you aren’t already a member, the process to sign up is simple and quick – Register Here!
BWC holds volunteer insurance for all our members.
How to apply
if you want to give back and be part of the bigger BWC organisation, making an impact in our community, please email the following details to BWC Company Secretary at email@example.com
General location (ie do you live/work in inner Brisbane or further afield)
A brief statement telling us your experience and why you are interested in being involved in our Movie Fundraiser Sub-Committee.
We don’t want to give away our secrets but it is going to be fun, so please get your expression of interest in quickly!
We are thrilled to announce the successful BWC Grant recipient for 2019 is A Brave Life, an organisation that is passionate about equipping, empowering and encouraging young mums to dream big and to “Live Life Brave”.
The BWC Grant will assist A Brave Life to deliver an ongoing mentoring program that provides peer support and mentoring to young mothers who are completing their high school education. The program includes an appreciation of the importance of completing high school, self-worth, goal setting, healthy relationships and support to finish high school as a teenager/young mother.
A Brave Life tells us that teenage and young mothers are 40% less likely to complete high school (year 12) and 54% less likely to find employment.
BWC has awarded A Brave Life our 2019 Grant to improve the futures of these young mothers and their young families.
Brisbane charity Suited to Success which helps people one woman’s outfit at a time to overcome barriers to employment has received a grant for $10,000 from the Brisbane Women’s Club (BWC) charitable Grants Program.
The not-for-profit community organisation started as a group of fashion conscious ladies getting together to provide clothing to women needing smart outfits for job interviews has become a successful social enterprise assisting more than 7,000 people.
The $10,000 grant from BWC means Suited to Success can assist even more women in getting job ready and will contribute to the charity’s association with the Australian Catholic University (ACU) to extend, review and further develop a youth program to specifically identify and address women’s issues related to employment.
“We saw the incredible work Suited to Success were doing for women and just knew we had to support this program, which aligns perfectly with what BWC represents,” BWC President Robin Francis said.
“What we particularly liked about Suited to Success was we could see real potential to make a tangible difference to employment outcomes for disadvantaged women.”
Suited for Success General Manager Nicole Hard said the grant will allow them to select 10 women facing barriers to employment and work with them to provide a styling session, assistance with their resume and interview skills, and most importantly help develop a personal and professional plan.
“We will be supporting our clients on their journey over a three to six month period and are excited to see the results,” Ms Hard said. “We hope this program will give us a real insight into specific women’s needs when searching for a job.
“It’s all about identifying the barriers and developing a program that can really make a difference. Programs like the Brisbane Women’s Club Grants are vital to continue to operate.”
In 2017 two Grants Program recipients were awarded $5,000 – Queensland’s oldest charity, Lady Musgrave Trust, and Logan Women’s Health & Wellbeing Centre.
IF women are to make further progress in Queensland to close the gender gap, we have to work to ensure the conversation is inclusive as we openly and honestly look at bias. Because the reality is that without men championing the cause, the push for equality will never be successful.
Brisbane, some will tell you, remains very much “an old boy’s club” with an individual’s career trajectory determined to a large extent by what school they went to. If we are to really drive change and close the gender gap, we need to push past old school tie networks and draw the conversation more towards merit.
“I hear people, mainly men, say that we have made good progress in closing the gender gap, but this flies in the face of the facts,” Elizabeth Jameson, Founder and Managing Director at Board Matters said.
“We need champions of change – both men and women – because this is an issue which creates problems for both men and women. This is not a problem for women alone.”
If there were any doubts that the gender gap continues to be alive and well, one need look no further than the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, which measured the progress 144 countries had made towards gender parity across four areas:
Economic participation and opportunity
Health and survival
Disappointingly, Australia is ranked 35th on the 2017 list; an improvement from 2016’s ranking of 46th but still lagging well behind our 2006 ranking of 15th.
In terms of closing the gender gap, the report shows Australia has fallen behind Rwanda (4), Namibia (13), South Africa (19), Latvia (20), Mozambique (29) and The Philippines (10).
Looking at individual geographic areas, East Asia and the Pacific are expected to take some 161 years (at current trends and pace) to close the gender gap. North America is the only region expected to take longer at 168 years.
“Gender parity is fundamental to whether and how economies and societies thrive,” the World Economic Forum report stated. “Ensuring the full development and appropriate deployment of half the world’s talent pool has a vast bearing on growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide.”
Why are we lagging behind?
Robin Francis, President of the Brisbane Women’s Club and leadership consultant with policy and change management company Ithaca Group, said Queensland was a strong example of women in key leadership roles in the government and not-for-profit sectors, but not in the business sector.
“If you look at the Queensland Government, we are winning at closing the gender gap hands down compared with other states,” Robin said. “Almost 48 per cent of the Queensland Cabinet are women.
“We have a female Premier, Deputy Premier and treasurer, a female Attorney General and a Chief Justice who is a woman. We recently had a female head of the Queensland Court of Appeal and a female head of the Department of Public Prosecutions.
“We currently have, and have had, more women in senior professional roles in law and government than we see in the major capitals of Sydney and Melbourne.”
Despite this level of political power women are wielding, there continues to be a level of systematic unconscious bias which permeates much of the Brisbane business sector. Unconscious biases are those we are not aware we hold but which affect our decision-making.
“The Queensland Government was able to increase female representation on government boards in Queensland in just 18 months from 37 per cent to 42 per cent because of its commitment to equal representation,” Robin said. “This was successful because the State Government set a target to work towards.
“I am optimistic that the winds of change are in the air. And that includes making sure men are a key part of the conversation and ensuring senior women are taking an interest in the careers of younger women and mentoring them, introducing them to key leaders and helping them get to a point where they can compete equally.”
Cathie Reid, co-founder of Icon Group said she felt most Australians “would like to feel we are significantly ahead of developing countries in closing the gender gap”.
“The fact is, in developing countries they don’t have the time or inclination to ignore half of the talent pool,” she said. “That is what is driving that gap between emerging economies and long-term established economies such as that which we have here in Australia.”
Cathie said economies such as Australia had what she described as “established levels of bias” which needed to be proactively broken while emerging economies were faced more with an issue of staffing its new economic growth.
“If we are waiting for change to happen because we think it should, nothing will change,” she said. “If you look at the time our business norms were being established, women’s roles were very different then.
“We are still dealing with structures that have been in place for 150 years around the role of men and women in business. In emerging nations, that are building their systems from scratch, it would be insane for them to ignore half the workforce and only look at men.”
Cathie said one way to help bridge the gender gap was the use of quotas for women in the workplace and in positions of seniority.
“If a women is on a board or in a position because of a quota, while no-one wants to be the token anything, it is still a woman in a position she would not otherwise be in,” she said.
“If you are there to fill a quota, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are there in the first place. I really do see quotas as a very tangible way of ensuring change is occurring. Once we get women in the room, they will add value and then it will seem ludicrous that they had to get there on a quota.”
Georgia Henry, CEO of Organisation Culture Consultancy HENRY REED and a Director of Brisbane Women’s Club agreed that women in Brisbane had to push hard against the business hierarchies, systems and structures established by men.
Georgia, who grew up in Brisbane and has spent time living and working in Sydney and internationally, said she returned to her hometown and in doing so, found herself back in what is very much a boy’s club.
“In Australia, we have a long history of male dominance and all of our key structures and systems have been developed with a male view,” she said. “This is entrenched in our way of thinking, as this view still dominates our education, our view of history, our laws and our ways of doing business. Those biases towards a male way of thinking are hard to change and will take time to make the systemic changes needed.
“Brisbane is still very much dominated by what seems to be a boys’ club. At networking and business events it is not uncommon for there to be only a handful of women in the room and that needs to change.”
Georgia, is an advocate for quota systems as they keep focus on gender parity. She said she believed the move to true equality will “take a long time, but we need to keep progressing the conversation”.
“In the meantime, we need to be generous in how we support each other,” she said. “Women need to back each other, express their gratitude to each other and do what we can to empower each other until it gets to the point where gender equality is seen as normal.”
Elizabeth Jameson admits she was once against quota systems but now believes they are critical to establishing gender parity.
“It increasingly amuses me when people who are threatened by the idea of quotas or even targets say ‘it should be based on merit alone’,” she said. “If that were true, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in today.
“I would love for the gender gap to be closed by leaving it to natural forces because all the evidence shows that having women on boards produces better results, but the glacial pace of change flies in the face of that.
“I would like to see targets set for boards to have at least 40 per cent of each gender on them. With that approach, it won’t be a problem for boards to get to a place where there is real gender balance.”
Elizabeth pointed to her own journey as an example of how inherent bias – conscious or otherwise – has impacted the career trajectory of herself and the women she graduated law school with.
“When I came out of law school, 50 per cent of the graduates were women and we went into good positions with good firms. The firm I joined had about 30 partners and about four of them were women.
“I was told then, and that was 30 years ago, that gender parity was only a matter of time. But if you look at the percentages of women in partnerships in law firms, the numbers haven’t changed.”
And the effect of this is cumulative. Elizabeth explained that when companies are looking to appoint board members who have been in senior management or were principals or partners in law firms, women have not risen through the ranks enough to be considered for these roles.
“I am not seeing a great change in the number of women in executive teams and partners and that is very sobering,” Elizabeth said.
Robin said she is emphatic that gender equality is something we can, should and will continue to work towards.
“When we look back in 10 years, we may find we have not achieved gender parity but I think we will have made real progress and because women and, importantly, influential men are speaking up that the current situation needs to change.
“With a common purpose and united resolve, men and women leaders can make gender parity a real possibility within this generation.”
Breakout Box on the #PressForProgress campaign
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Month is #PressForProgress – fuelled by the success of the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns – and all four women have embraced this as a positive campaign.
“Any campaign that will work on gender parity with the combined resources of influential men and women, is a move in the right direction. The only way we will succeed is if we are all actively working together with a common purpose and resolve. Campaigns like this are essential.
“A campaign like this on social media allows for thoughts to be gathered and looked at collectively rather than having them all over the place. And, as importantly, it leaves room for men to be a part of the conversation and if we want to see sustainable change, we need to include men. You can’t fix this problem without the active involvement of men. They have the power and they need to be active participants in this discussion and movement
“We need strong male champions, otherwise it will be seen as just a women’s issue and not a society issue; and if it is just a woman’s voice on this issue, then it becomes whinging and men turn off to it. Campaigns like #PressForProgress leave room to encourage men to be involved. We talk about male champions for change, but I think there needs to also be a greater role for men in helping to plan how we break down the barriers and create opportunities for women.”
“We need male champions of change because if they don’t believe we need to close the gender gap, nothing will change. However, it is a fairly fundamental aspect of human nature that those with power and control to not give it up and will have a vested interest in things not changing. That will be the real challenge.”
Our friends at Avid Readers, West End have put together their top 5 recommendations for this autumn:
The Fish Girl by Mirandi Riwoe
Sparked by the description of a ‘Malay trollope’ in W. Somerset Maugham’s story, ‘The Four Dutchmen’, The Fish Girl tells of an Indonesian girl whose life is changed irrevocably when she moves from a small fishing village to work in the house of a Dutch merchant. There she finds both hardship and tenderness as her traditional past and colonial present collide. Told with an exquisitely restrained voice and coloured with lush description, this moving book will stay with you long after the last page.
An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen
Some time in the near future, university lecturer Caspar receives a gift from a former student called Liv: a memory stick containing a virtual narrative. Hooked up to a virtual reality bodysuit, he becomes immersed in the experience of their past sexual relationship. But this time it is her experience. What was for him an erotic interlude, resonant with the thrill of seduction, was very different for her—and when he has lived it, he will understand how. Later… A convicted paedophile recruited to Liv’s experiment in collective consciousness discovers a way to escape from his own desolation. A synthetic boy, designed by Liv’s team to ‘love’ men who desire adolescents, begins to question the terms of his existence. L, in transition to a state beyond gender, befriends Liv, in transition to a state beyond age. Liv herself has finally transcended the corporeal—but there is still the problem of love. An Uncertain Grace is a novel in five parts by one of Australia’s most inventive and provocative writers. Moving, thoughtful, sometimes playful, it is about who we are—our best and worst selves, our innermost selves—and who we might become.
Tracker by Alexis Wright
Alexis Wright returns to non-fiction in her new book, a collective memoir of the charismatic Aboriginal leader, political thinker and entrepreneur Tracker Tilmouth, who died in Darwin in 2015 at the age of 62. Taken from his family as a child and brought up in a mission on Croker Island, Tracker Tilmouth worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles, including Director of the Central Land Council of the Northern Territory. Tracker was a visionary, a strategist and a projector of ideas, renowned for his irreverent humour and his determination to tell things the way he saw them. Having known him for many years, Alexis Wright interviewed Tracker, along with family, friends, colleagues, and the politicians he influenced, weaving his and their stories together in a manner reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize–winning author Svetlana Alexievich. The book is as much a testament to the powerful role played by storytelling in contemporary Aboriginal life as it is to the legacy of an extraordinary man.
Anaesthesia by Kate Cole-Adams
You know how it is when you go under. The jab, the countdown, the—and then you wake. This book is about what happens in between. Until a hundred and seventy years ago many people chose death over the ordeal of surgery. Now hundreds of thousands undergo operations every day. Anaesthesia has made it possible. But how much do we really know about what happens to us on the operating table? Can we hear what’s going on around us? Is pain still pain if we are not awake to feel it, or don’t remember it afterwards? How does the unconscious mind deal with the body’s experience of being cut open and ransacked? And how can we help ourselves through it? Haunting, lyrical, sometimes shattering, Anaesthesia leavens science with personal experience to bring an intensely human curiosity to the unknowable realm beyond consciousness.
The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser
Set in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka, The Life to Come is a mesmerising novel about the stories we tell and don’t tell ourselves as individuals, as societies and as nations. It feels at once firmly classic and exhilaratingly contemporary. Pippa is a writer who longs for success. Celeste tries to convince herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood in Sri Lanka but blots out the memory of a tragedy from that time. Driven by riveting stories and unforgettable characters, here is a dazzling meditation on intimacy, loneliness and our flawed perception of other people. Profoundly moving as well as wickedly funny, The Life to Come reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform, distort and undo the present. This extraordinary novel by Miles Franklin-winning author Michelle de Kretser will strike to your soul.
Queensland is the first State in Australia to have females in all the highest office holder roles – Premier, Treasurer, Attorney General, Chief Justice and Opposition Leader. This is a true ‘significant moment in time’ and truly cements Queensland as a progressive State.
Our new State leadership includes the all-female team of The Hon. Annastacia Palaszcuk, Premier; The Hon Jackie Trad, Treasurer; Chief Justice, Catherine Holmes; and Attorney General, the Hon Yvette D’Ath.
To add to the ‘list of firsts’ Queensland’s Liberal National Party (LNP) elected its first ever female party leader Deb Frecklington MP to take on Labor’s Premier, The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP.
Deb Frecklington MP, who is a lawyer, farmer and mother of three, beat John-Paul Langbroek MP and Mark Robinson MP to the top job. She will announce her shadow cabinet in the coming days.
Meanwhile Ms Palaszczuk’s cabinet has just been sworn in and consists of 25 men and 23 women – very balanced.
This is a clear demonstration that Queensland is leading the way in fostering gender diversity with women holding the highest positions in judicial and political office and heralds the dawning of a new era of leadership. Margaret Ogg, one of our earliest female political leaders, would be very proud today.
Looking for some good reads over the summer? Here are 5 recommendations from our friends at Avid Readers, 193 Boundary St, West End, QLD 4101:
Inferior: How science got women wrong and the new research that’s rewriting the story by Angela Saini
Shedding light on controversial research and investigating the ferocious gender wars in biology, psychology and anthropology, Angela Saini takes readers on an eye-opening journey to uncover how women are being rediscovered. She explores what these revelations mean for us as individuals and as a society, revealing an alternative view of science in which women are included, rather than excluded.
The mother of all questions: Further feminisms by Rebecca Solnit
Following on from the success of Men Explain Things to Me comes a new collection of essays in which Rebecca Solnit opens up a feminism for all of us: one that doesn’t stigmatize women’s lives, whether they include spouses and children or not; that brings empathy to the silences in men’s lives as well as the silencing of women’s lives; celebrates the ways feminism has shifted in recent years to reclaim rape jokes, revise canons, and rethink our everyday lives.
200 women who will change the way you see the world by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday
An extraordinary book about equality founded on 200 original and diverse interviews with women from around the world. The interviews are brave, insightful, considered, candid, and moving from women who are famous and unknown, celebrated and marginalised, rich and poor, black and white, leaders, victims, survivors, heroes, saints and sinners. They are women who will educate and inspire us, teach us empathy, and bring positive change in a time when so many women and girls are still fighting for basic freedom and equality. Some of the well-known contributors include: Leigh Sales, Maggie Beer, Miranda Tapsell, Ronni Khan, Susan Carland, Anita Heiss, Becky Lucas, Gail Kelly, Stephanie Alexander, Rachel Perkins, Rosie Batty, Margaret Atwood, Roxane Gay, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alexandra Paul, Karen Walker, Gillian Anderson, Jane Goodall, Kimbra, Aminatta Forna, and many more. A royalty pool of 10% of the originating publisher’s revenue will be distributed to organisations devoted to protecting the rights of women and to individuals in need.
Not just lucky. Why women do the work but don’t take the credit by Jamila Rizvi
Not Just Lucky exposes the structural and cultural disadvantages that rob women of their confidence – often without them even realising it. Drawing on case studies, detailed research and her own experience in politics and media, Jamila Rizvi is the warm, witty and wise friend you’ve been waiting for. She’ll give you everything you need to start fighting for your own success and for a more inclusive, equal workplace for all. (She’ll also bring the red wine.) This unashamedly feminist career manifesto is for women who worry they’ll look greedy if they ask for more money. It’s for women who dream big but dread the tough conversations. It’s for women who get nervous, stressed and worried, and seem to overthink just about everything.
Her body and other parties by Carmen Maria Machado
In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella “Especially Heinous,” Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls-with-bells-for-eyes.
Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.