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Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls

Published by Scribner Australia
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Excitable girls rush out to meet life; what could go wrong? A masterful debut about the terrifying thrills of innocence from a voice of experience.
 
Teenagers sneak out to the creek for a wild New Year's Eve party. A sleep-deprived woman who imagines she is pregnant to a Viking faces her scathing sixteen-year-old self. A woman in love wakes up in a van Gogh painting.
 
These gem-like stories are about the desire to rush out and meet life; about getting in over your head; about danger, and damage, and what it means to survive – and not always survive – the risk of being young. They chart the borderlands between girls and women, daughters and mothers, freedom and fear.
 
Emerging fully-formed and singing songs of both innocence and experience, Anne Casey-Hardy is the rarest of new voices: at the same time reckless and entirely in control; funny and frightening; wise and full-blooded.

Praise for Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls

‘I find myself haunted by this innocent, menacing, blackly funny and fabulous book. Anne Casey-Hardy’s writing hums with a dangerous, coiled energy in sly, ghostly stories of girls and women striking back, lying low, busting out, triumphing even while sinking. Casey-Hardy is a raw, rare talent with an unforgettable voice.’ Charlotte Wood, author of The Weekend and The Natural Way of Things

'Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls buzzes with energy. Anne Casey-Hardy is a wonderful fiction writer. Her characters are brave and full of soul. In mapping the lives and the places where stories thrive, Casey-Hardy also touches our hearts. Such a gift.' Tony Birch, author of Dark as Last Night and The White Girl 

‘Electric, irreverent, haunting, heart-breaking – one of the best short story collections you'll ever read. An exceptional debut from a hugely talented writer.’ Wayne Marshall, author of Shirl

‘You’ll be transfixed by the misadventures of Casey-Hardy's dangerously innocent heroines. Her fractured fairy tales are like nothing you’ve come across before: unnerving, brilliant, hilarious, heart-stirring.’ Lucinda Holdforth, author of Leading Lines

About The Author

Photograph © Anne Casey-Hardy

Anne Casey-Hardy was born in Fremantle and grew up in Melbourne as the eldest of seven children. She won the 2018 Peter Carey Short Story Award, was shortlisted for the 2019 VU/Overland Short Story Prize and was awarded a 2021 Varuna Residential Fellowship. Her short stories and poetry have been published in Meanjin Quarterly, Island Magazine, Overland Journal, Westerly Magazine and several anthologies.

Anne has previously worked as a research librarian and advocate for families of premature babies, and her work in this area has been published in The Lancet, Journal of Neonatology and Journal of Paediatric and Child Health.

She lives with her husband in Melbourne's west, on Bunurong land.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner Australia (September 7, 2022)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781761107269

Raves and Reviews

'What a thrill it is to find a truly distinctive new voice. Cautionary Tales captures the essence of girlhood: raw, fierce, fearless, and crackling with energy and desire. An impressive and inspiring work of fiction.'

– Emily Bitto, author of Wild Abandon and the Stella prize-winning The Strays

‘I find myself haunted by this innocent, menacing, blackly funny and fabulous book. Anne Casey-Hardy’s writing hums with a dangerous, coiled energy in sly, ghostly stories of girls and women striking back, lying low, busting out, triumphing even while sinking. Casey-Hardy is a raw, rare talent with an unforgettable voice.’

– Charlotte Wood, author of The Weekend and The Natural Way of Things

'Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls buzzes with energy. Anne Casey-Hardy is a wonderful fiction writer. Her characters are brave and full of soul. In mapping the lives and the places where stories thrive, Casey-Hardy also touches our hearts. Such a gift.'

– Tony Birch, author of Dark as Last Night and The White Girl

‘Casey-Hardy's stories cast a deep and unusual spell. Her collection is sharp, irreverent, and unexpectedly funny. I loved it.’ 

– Laura Elvery, author of Ordinary Matter

‘Electric, irreverent, haunting, heart-breaking – Anne Casey-Hardy's Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls is one of the best short story collections you'll ever read. An exceptional debut from a hugely talented writer.’

– Wayne Marshall, author of Shirl

‘You’ll be transfixed by the misadventures of Casey-Hardy's dangerously innocent heroines. Her fractured fairytales are like nothing you’ve come across before: unnerving, brilliant, hilarious, heart-stirring.’ 

– Lucinda Holdforth, author of Leading Lines

‘I love these stories, and Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls will take centre stage on my bookshelf. They’re deep and dark, but also uproariously funny, and never anything but hopeful. Each girl or woman in these stories faces the reader and tells the truth, and I can’t ask for more than that. Cross the precision and absurdity of George Saunders with the searching intelligence of Angela Carter, and add the technical brilliance of Alice Munro, and you might have some idea of what Anne can do, but in fact her writing is wholly her own, and wholly original. Australian literature will be very much richer for her Cautionary Tales!

– Tegan Bennett Daylight, author of The Details and Six Bedrooms

‘I love these fierce, wild girls and the off-kilter troubles they find themselves in. Anne Casey-Hardy creates slightly surrealist worlds full of emphatically true details: risks we've all taken, worries we've all had, rules we wish we'd broken. These are stories laced through with menace and joy, and Casey-Hardy has an eye that slices to the bone of what it is to be a girl in this world.’

– Jane Rawson, author of From the Wreck

‘Delightfully surprising, the stories in this collection switch between stark realism and strangeness in the best of ways. Suffused with wry humour, and deftly drawn characters, Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls delivers a kaleidoscopic navigation of the self-consciousness, escapism, and fractured thinking that attends life’s transformative experiences. These stories live and breathe on the cusps of life and the transitions we chart as we pass through and beyond it.’

– Melissa Manning, author of Smokehouse

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