"The men drew up a couple of wooden stools and sat, one on each end of the hearth, hands wrapped around the mugs, the toes of their boots almost in the glowing embers, the mud drying into pale flakes. The smaller of the two, the one who had remained silent, turned his head in the direction of the young man in the corner and half nodded. He was a blackfella, broad across the shoulders. His skin was dark, his nose misshapen and the skin tissue on his brow was scarred." (from The Boxer by Derek Mortimer)"The thick scent of blood nearly drowns the tingling resin of cut pine. But not quite. They merge, sawdust and blood. I peer through the glass as Mr Blake tears another chop through the screeching band saw. His name hasn’t always been Mr Blake. Once, when he was born into the slush and ancient crumbling of Romania, he was Mr Blauskieu, but he soon discovered that this name didn’t fit beneath the massive, airy awning of the Australian sky." (from Stralia Doy by Peter Court)"... the coffee table was covered with empty wine bottles, glasses of all sorts and sizes, some kebabs wrapped up in a pair of panties, female and not mine, the dried out leftovers of two dips that had somehow been stirred on a DVD, crackers and a jar of quince paste that miraculously had its lid on." (from "The Morning After the Night Before" by Judy WaddellTwenty one Australian short stories from the Stringybark Short Story Awards explore what it means to be an Australian. Sometimes funny, often intriguing, these stories from well known writers as well as new writers will leave you wanting more.