Anthology of Short Fiction

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A collection of published and award-winning short stories by author and playwright Pete Malicki. Fiction on a range of topics, often exploring the unusual, always done unusually. More

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About Pete Malicki

At age eighteen, after finishing high school, I sat at home and became bored. I didn't want to get to uni. I didn't like the idea of working, let alone working hard, so I sat around playing Nintendo. One day I was bored enough to revisit a story I wrote in year four about Joel the Onion of Death. I wrote a chapter. Some months later I'd written 50,000 words and I realised I was halfway through a book.

A year or so later a friend sent me an advert for a playwriting competition. I'd never even read a play (excluding what I pretended to read in high school), let alone written one, but I thought, "What the heck. I'll write a play." I won the competition and had my first play produced for a 22-show season.

Since then I've been writing quite seriously and have completed five books and 40 plays, as well as a range of articles, short stories and other bits and pieces. I've now had close to 50 different works produced, published or performed, including 25 plays staged and a fiction novel published.

For a living, I run a health clinic where I work as a massage therapist, something else I started ten years ago when I was bored. I do contracting work for the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and am involved in the Sydney theatre scene as the Coordinator of Crash Test Drama and the Literary Manager of Short+Sweet Theatre International. More recently, I became the Festival Director of Short+Sweet Sydney, the world's largest festival of 10 minute plays, which produces around about 180 works at the beginning of each year. I also teach creative writing and run an independent publishing company.

When I'm not writing or running my businesses or theatre shows or contracting myself out, I'm playing with my two ferrets Merlin and Matilda, sleeping, eating, or pining over the fact that I can't sing very well. Sigh.

Notable Writing Achievements
* 2011 - short play The Flowers wins People's Choice Award at Crash Test Drama in December, earning it a spot in Short+Sweet Sydney 2012
* 2011 - short play The Flowers selected as a Gala Finalist at Short+Sweet Melbourne 2011
* 2011 - short play V.D. performed in Gala Finals of Short+Sweet Brisbane 2011 and wins People's Choice Award (by the highest margin ever) and Best Comedy
* 2011 - short play The Devil's Aftershave selected as a Gala Finalist at Short+Sweet Sydney 2011 (170 plays performed)
* 2010 - short play The Devil's Aftershave performed in Singapore, Canberra and Brisbane. Winner of Best Drama, Short+Sweet Brisbane 2010 (from 750+ entries)
* 2010 - short play Going Down ranked Top 10 of the Popular Vote, Short+Sweet Sydney (160 plays performed)
* 2010 - short play The Goon published in an anthology
* 2009 - novel Eyes And Knives published
* 2008 - founded Helm Publishing, an independent publishing company
* 2002 - winner Naked Theatre Company's "Write Now!" competition
* 25 plays performed in over 50 productions
* 5 novels completed
* published by SMH,, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Empower Mag, Writers Beat Magazine, many others

Also by This Author


Review by: Dr D. Bruno Starrs on Dec. 02, 2012 : (no rating)
Pete Malicki is a living legend in the rarefied world of Australian short theatre. He is the tirelessly reliable ‘Head Incubator’ of “Crash Test Drama”, a monthly opportunity for budding playwrights, directors and actors to get together, quickly turkey-baste ideas, block moves and within 2 or 3 hours of meeting, stage their short plays (i.e. < 10 minutes) under lights and atop the well-trod boards of a tiny inner-city Sydney theatre, even though they’re still being performed script in hand. He is also the respected Director of “Short+Sweet”, the world’s biggest short play festival, and many of his pieces have deservedly been recognized and awarded in both of these thespian ‘showdowns’.
If a reviewer such as I might be permitted the luxury of generalizing about a writer’s oeuvre (I certainly would NOT welcome someone doing so with my own [yet-to-peak] body of work!), I’d tentatively suggest - reductionalistically - that Malicki’s specialty is the moaning monologue. A person, alone, talks to the audience/reader, who may also be greeted by other voices in the head of the soloist’s performance. Malicki has nailed this genre, theatrically, time after time.
But has he succeeded in crossing over from short playwrighting to short story writing? Well, to me his Anthology of Short Fiction is great reading, full of original and stimulating situations, but if I were to criticize at all, I would venture the opinion that Malicki somewhat neglects - or perhaps deliberately ignores - the opportunities fiction writing provides for the writer of non-speech. Novelists are frequently more concerned with unspoken concepts, metaphors, narrative arc, design and thought, whereas playwrights generally prioritize a dialogue-based discourse between characters with stage directions enacted accordingly. Many short plays succeed, it sometimes seems, on the twist in the tail/tale. Might not this be a shortcoming evidenced by the writing of his which Malicki deems fit for reading not performing?
My well-considered answer is: Nope! The fact is, Malicki’s writing, while inevitably influenced by his theatrical activity and success, is SO unexpected, even hardened critics such as myself cannot stop from marvelling at what Malicki writes and then next creates. His shorts are simply as close to perfect, one wonders if he has developed a computerized algorithm he simply mouse-clicks before publishing. His work consistently surprises and if you don’t like this one, a few minutes later Malicki will throw you, the reader cum audience, a new curve ball. His second piece in this Anthology, “V.D.” is a perfect example. From the collection’s first short story about a guy witnessing murder as performance art, Malicki suddenly takes us into the mind of a middle-aged, desperately lonely woman. She buys herself a cat each unhappy Valentine’s Day, but today, when anonymous flowers are delivered, she puts her foot down and says: “I call the animal shelter and tell them to put down the kitten they’d kept aside for me.”

Subsequent stories in this Anthology cement Malicki as the Master of the Twist in the Tail. Through the rigors of theatre writing (and performing), Malicki has evolved his writing for the stage to the extent an Anthology such as this is not unlike a night of ten or so incredibly diverse writers, directors and actors performing afront the limelight. Malicki converts the Proscenium Arch into the E-book succinctly and completely, whether he writes of an old man’s smell that wraps around the throat “like a noose” to a ‘Dexter’ meeting his own Dexter in his fourth piece “Darkest Moment” to beer that “rages like a bonsai maelstrom” in “God, the Agnostic”, monsieur Malicki writes like a gymnast atop the shoulders of a high-wire trapeze artist: aware of his height and his skill but always – in the end – pulling us back into gravity’s real world. Experience him on your E-reader or see his actors mouthing his prose at the theatre, either way, Pete Malicki’s monologues work (mostly unhappy) wonders.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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