Little Fictions

Little Fictions is a half-hour storytelling program presented by Sydney actor, Ella Watson-Russell. The show features contemporary short stories by authors from across Australia and read by actors, recorded at live performances or in studio. 

Episode 29 Up North.

In this episode we bring you stories from the northern regions of Australia. Authors whose works are featured include Julie U’Ren, Jon Steiner, Pawel Cholewa and Michael Giacometti. Actors performing the stories are Mark Dessaix, Jessica-Belle Keogh and Alex Neal.

Note some of the stories contain strong language.

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan
  • Audio technician: Ariella Broyda
  • Original Broadcast

Date 29.07.2019


Episode 28 Dog Stories

In this episode we bring you stories originally performed back in 2018 to celebrate the Lunar Year of the Dog. Touching on serious contemporary issues such as racism, grief and violence, these canine-related stories are also humorous and heart-warming. Stories included are ‘Flying The Dog’ by Sydney author Julie Chevalier, ‘One Blue Eye’ by Caroline Reid, ‘Our Mother Was A Cat Lady’ by Helen Meany, ‘Purebred’ by Katherine Arguile and ‘Tootie – my little pig’ by Warwick Newnham. Actors featured in this episode are Sam Wang, Lauren Hamilton Neill and Felix Johnson.

Warning – some of these stories contain strong language.

Credits:

  • Presenter – Ella Watson-Russell
  • Audio Technician – Ariella Broyda
  • Producer – Bronwyn Mehan

Original Broadcast Date 15.07.2019


Ep1sode 27 Stateside

In this episode, we’re exploring stories set in the United States of America. From serious social concerns to the wildly absurd, these stories from Australian and American authors present a diverse picture of USA past and present. Stories include ‘The Library Is A Social Institution’ by Julie Chevalier, Patrick Lenton’s ‘A Man Made Entirely of Bats’, ‘Unpacking’ and ‘Liebestod’ by Jon Steiner and ‘The Mosaic’ by Emma Jones.

Actors narrating the stories are Ella Watson-Russell, Lauren Hamilton-Neill and Joel Horwood.

Warning: some stories do contain strong language.

Credits

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Audio Technician: Ariella Broyda
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan

Original Broadcast Date 01.07.2019


Episode 26 ‘Displaced’

In this episode, called ‘Displaced’, we present stories exploring the lives of refugees - the challenges, tragedies and triumphs of people from around the globe seeking a safe place to call home. Stories included are ‘Cartography’ by Indigenous Melbourne author Tony Birch; ‘Less than a Minute’ by Victorian writer Mark Smith and ‘My English Homework’ by Newcastle award-winning author, Ryan O’Neill. Actors featured in this episode are Nick Gell, Felix Johnson and Eleni Schumacher.

Just a warning before we begin that the stories you’ll hear today do contain some strong language.

  • Host: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan
  • Studio Technician: Ariella Broyda

Original Broadcast Date 17.06.2019


Episode 25 Our Greatest Fears

In this episode, we present stories that explore frightening real, imagined and uncanny moments that change us forever. Short stories included are ‘The Swimmer’ and ‘Bush Burial’ by Melbourne author, Richard Holt and ‘The Local’ by Sydney crime writer, P.M. Newton. Microfiction pieces include ‘Taken’ by Michelle Wright, ‘Nearby’ by Jessica McLean and ‘The End of Days’ by Debra Le Nepveu. The stories are performed by Little Fictions actors, Lauren Hamilton Neill, Felix Johnson, Ella Watson-Russell and Eleni Schumacher.

Warning: the stories in this episode do contain some strong language.

Original Broadcast Date 03.06.2019


Episode 24 Criminal Minds

In this episode, called ‘Criminal Minds’, our stories explore ethical, moral and criminal transgressions. Short stories include ‘Wasp’ by Pierz Newton-Jon from his short story collection, Fault Lines and Mary Manning’s ‘The Painter’ from her collection, Damaged In Transit. Also included are the microfictions, ‘Call The Ambulance’ by Shady Cosgrove and ‘Hold Up’ by Susan McCreery. The actors reading in this episode are Lauren Hamilton Neill and Tim McGarry.

Warning: the stories you will hear do contain some strong language and adult themes.

  •   Host: Ella Watson-Russell
  •   Producer: Bronwyn Mehan
  •   Audio Technician: Ariella Broyda

Original Broadcast Date 20.05.2019


Episode 23 On The Road

In this episode, we bring you three stories features long drives - commutes, road trips and a work assignment which takes an unexpected turn. The stories included are ‘Seacoast Bridge’ by Wollongong author, Josh Mei-Ling Dubrau, the microficiton ‘Breakdown’ by another South Coast author, Susan McCreery and ‘The Last Wilkie’s’ by Sydney author, Jon Steiner. Featuring performances by Kate Fraser and Benhur Helwend.

Warning: some of these stories contain strong language.

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan
  • Audio Technician: Ariella Broyda

Original Broadcast Date 06.05.2019


Episode 22 ‘Stories of War’

In this episode, we share stories about war and its aftermath – at the impact of war service on those who serve, on the community they leave behind and on the lasting impact that wars have on people both here and overseas. Stories included are ‘The Veteran’ by Paul Mitchell, ‘Iconastasis’ by Peter Lach Newinski, ‘Flat Daddy’ by Louise D’Arcy, ‘Stranger from Skierniewicza’ by Monica Goldberg, ‘Comrade Vasilli Goes To War’ by Pierz Newton-John. The stories are narrated by Alex Neal and Kate Fraser.

A warning: some of the stories in this episode do contain some strong language.

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Audio Technician: Ariella Broyda
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan

Original Broadcast Date 23.04.2019

Episode 21 ‘Growing Old (Dis)gracefully’

In this episode we present stories in which older members of the community indulge in some quirky and disruptive behaviour.

Includes ‘Cake Mistake’ by West Australian author, Jude Bridge. Performed by Lauren Hamilton Neill, this story takes a tongue-in-cheek look at a renegade chapter of the Country Women’s Association determined to stop the influence of American culture on the Australian way of life.  Also includes microfiction by Sydney poet, John Carey and Wollongong author, Susan McCreery and the short story ‘Sixty Photos’ by Vivienne Plumb. The final piece is ‘Shady Oaks’, Jon Steiner’s imagining of a futuristic nursing home.

Please note that some stories contain confronting language.

Original Broadcast Date 08.04.2019

Episode 20 Melbourne Migrant Stories

In this episode we bring you two stories told from the perspectives of people from non-English speaking backgrounds who call Melbourne their home. The first is ‘Traffic Island’ by the late Melbourne author Mary Manning and is written in her trademark quirky and compassionate style. It is narrated by Little Fictions’ regular, Lauren Hamilton Neill. ‘Traffic Island’ from Mary Manning’s short story collection, Damaged In Transit published by Spineless Wonders. Our second short story, ‘Some Kind of Blues’ is by A.S Patric and is narrated by Nicholas Starte. This short story appears in Patrić’s debut collection, The Rattler and other stories published by Spineless Wonders. Patrić went on to develop ‘Some Kind of Blues’ into his Miles Franklin Award-winning novel, Black Rock, White City.

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell.
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan
  • Audio editor: Ariella Broyda.

Original Broadcast Date 25.03.2019

Episode 19 This Is Feminism

In this episode we are bringing you a special treat to celebrate women writers, performers and other creatives as part of the International Women’s Day 2019. The short story featured in this episode is by Canberra-based Felicity Volk. ‘Ite Misse Est’ or Send Them Forth, is a moving and sometimes surprising story of two Catholic nuns. It is performed by Sydney actor, Eleni Schumacher. Included in the episode is an interview by Ella Watson-Russell with the author.

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Audio Technician: Ariella Broyda
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan

Original Broadcast Date 11.03.2019

Episode 18 We Heart LGBTQI

In this episode, we’ll be celebrating the 2019 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras with two stories from our Little Fictions’ show, ‘I HEART LGBTQI’ which was performed at the Knox Street Bar in Chippendale back in February, 2017. A hugely popular festival, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras aims to raise the visibility of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex communities. The two stories we are presenting for you today do just that.

In our first story, ‘Asexual Gelatinous Blobs’ by Sydney author, Harry Kolotas, the writer attempts to walk in the shoes of his gay son. It is narrated by actor, Mark Dessaix.

In ‘Danny Boy’, Melbourne author, Marian Matta tells the story of someone who feels they were born into the wrong body. It is narrated by actor, Kurt Pimblett.

A warning, some of this episode contains strong language.

Original Broadcast Date 25.02.2019

Episode 17 More Stories From The Locker Room

In this episode, we bring you the second in our series of sport-themed stories. We present four stories – ‘Artemis’ by Melbourne author, Duncan Reid in which the game of hockey takes on a mythic quality; Brisbane writer, Trina Denner’s ‘Playing Outside’ for the joggers amongst you; a microfiction by Kim Waters called ‘Over Time’ about a retired cyclist and finally, a Cliff Hardy story about a foot race written by the late crime writer, Peter Corris. Actors featured in this episode are Mark Dessaix, Eleni Schumacher and Felix Johnson.

Just a warning, this episode does contain strong language.

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Audio technician: Lachlan Perry
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan

Original Broadcast Date 10.02.2019


Episode 16 Stories From The Locker Room

In this episode we present two very different perspectives on the Australian sporting scene. ‘Balls and Broken Bones’ by South Australian author, Debra Mackay takes a humorous look at sport played at the community level. It is read by Sydney actor, Kate Fraser. ‘Hall of Fame’ by Melbourne film director, Matt Holcomb follows the failing fortunes of a former footie star. It is read by sport tragic and talented Little Fictions actor, Felix Johnson. Both were recorded at our live show at Knox Street Bar in Sydney and both were selected via a Little Fictions’ call out.

Just a warning, this episode does contain strong language.

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Audio technician: Lachlan Perry
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan

Original Broadcast Date 28.01.2019

Episode 15 - Progeny

In this episode, your host Ella Watson-Russell brings you stories of births, deaths and marriages. The stories featured in this show are published by Spineless Wonders and are narrated by actors Felix Johnson, Joel Horwood and Eleni Schumacher. The stories include Matthew Bulman’s ‘The Incredible Exploding Baby’, Jon Steiner’s ‘Rights of Man’, Melissa Beit’s ‘A Hospital Birth’, Susan McCreery’s ‘Mexican Stand-off’ and Julie Chevalier’s ‘The Youngest Lecturer’s Wife’.

  • Little Fictions is produced by Spineless Wonders’ publisher, Bronwyn Mehan.
  • The show’s theme song is ‘Attune’ written and performed by Annie Vidler.
  •  Sound design is by Lachlan Perry

Warning: this episode contains strong language.

Original Broadcast Date 14.01.2019

Episode 14 - I Hate Crime Fiction

In this Episode we hear many of the actors you would have heard over the previous 13 episodes of LIttle Fictions. This is a quirky play called "I Hate Crime FCtion" by Melbourne writer Eddie Berger, and was recorded at Haymarket Library as part of the "Late Night Library Series" 2017.

Original Broadcast Date 31.12.2018

Episode 13 Lost in Paradise

In this episode we bring you short stories set on the north coast of New South Wales. Saturday Night on Johnson St’ by Paul Kew, immersing us in the hectic nightlife of Byron Bay. It is performed by Mark Dessaix. Byron Bay writer and academic, Moya Costello’s ‘Northern Rivers: A Gothic Tale’ evokes the lush tropical environment. It is performed by Ella Watson-Russell.  ‘The Blouse’ is by poet, playwright, fiction writer, Vivienne Plumb who is of both New Zealand and Australian heritage. The story, from her collection, The Glove Box & other stories, is set in the rainforests of the Byron hinterland, and tells of a young woman who hitches a ride into a bizarre community. It is performed by Eleni Schumacher.

Warning: this episode does contain some colourful language.

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Audio technician: Chester Chew
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan

Original Broadcast Date 17.12.2018

Episode 12 Surreal Stories

In this episode called Surreal Stories, our host Ella Watson-Russell brings you two short stories with extraordinary, offbeat characters.

Our first story, ‘Ducks’ is a radio play based on a short story by Miles Franklin Award-winning author, A.S. Patric. The year is 1956. Melbourne is host to the Olympic Games and American literary figures Anais Nin and June Miller (both former lovers of Henry Miller) are living out their sometimes fractious old age in the quiet seaside suburb of Elwood. The play is performed by Ella, Joel Horwood and Eleni Schumacher. Our second short story is ‘Carrot on the Edge’ and it comes from comic West Australian author, Jude Bridge and is performed by Little Fictions’ regular Lauren Hamilton Neill.

  • This episode is produced by Bronwyn Mehan with sound design by Chester Chew.

Just a warning, some of this episode does contain strong language and confronting issues.

Original broadcast: 3.12.2018


Episode 11 Crime Scenes

In this episode we bring you two short stories about the impact of crime on people’s lives. ‘Croc’ is by Melbourne author Pierz Newton-John and is published in his collection, Fault Lines. Pierz worked as a psychotherapist and this story is inspired by a true story. It is read by Ella Watson-Russell and was recorded at Knox Street Bar, Chippendale. The second short story comes from Blue Mountains’ author, Mark O’Flynn. It is called ‘A Lovely Outing’ and is published in Mark’s collection White Light. Mark has worked as a prison educator for many years. His story is performed by Felix Johnson.

Warning: this episode does contain some colourful language.

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Audio technician: Oliver Agbisit
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan

Original Broadcast Date 19.11.2018

Episode 10 Humans of Parramatta Road


In this episode we feature stories from the inner west Sydney suburbs connected by Parramatta Road. Harriet McInerney’s microfiction, ‘Average Morning’ takes us on a bus trip down Parramatta Road. It is performed by Little Fictions’ regular, Joel Horwood. ‘Parramatta Road’ by Tess Ridgway takes us along this same stretch of road but this time at night and on a bicycle. It is performed by actor Claire Oehme. Sydney author, Jill O’Maera takes us behind one of the shopfronts along Parramatta Road in ‘Trixie Depraved Does Leichhardt’. It is performed by Eleni Schumacher. ‘Wedding Dress’ by Canberra author, Sarah St Vincent Welch is written from the point of view of a very recognisable feature of shops which line the Leichhardt stretch of Parramatta Road. It is performed by Joel Horwood. ‘In Search of the Machine’ has Sydney author, Jen Craig searching for a coffee machine in contemporary Leichhardt. Performed by Eleni Schumacher, the story vividly evokes life in Leichhardt in the 70s.

Warning: this episode does contain some colourful language.

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Audio technician: Oliver Agbisit
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan

Original Broadcast Date 5.11.2018


Episode 9 - Behind The Scenes

In this episode, our host, Ella Watson-Russell presents two stories which take a look behind the curtain at fiction in film, on TV as well as on stage.

'Film Study 101'; by the late Mary Manning uses well-known films to reflect on the life of a young man who works at a movie theatre in a country town.

Published in Damaged In Transit by Spineless Wonders, the story is performed by Little Fictions’ regular, Joel Horwood. The second story featured in this episode takes us into the world of TV. It is based on the life of a character from the popular show, Friends. 'Ross Geller Man' is written by Patrick Lenton and is published in his collection, A Man Made Entirely of Bats. It is performed by Lauren Hamilton Neill. This podcast version of the episode includes an extended interview with both author, Patrick Lenton and actor, Lauren Hamilton Neill.

Warning: this episode contains some colourful language.

Original Broadcast Date 22.10.2018


Episode 8 - Weird World of Animals

In this episode, Weird World of Animals, Ella Watson-Russell presents two stories which give voice to the voiceless - specifically, a budgerigar and a cow.

‘Bluey and Myrtle’ is published in the Spineless Wonders anthology The Great Unknown, a book edited by Angela Meyer who is a huge fan of the TV series the Twilight Zone. You’ll find many of the somewhat surreal elements of the Twilight Zone TV show in Mark O'Flynn's story. It is performed by Nick Radinoff. ‘A Cow Like Alice’ by Julie Chevalier also includes a talking animal. It is performed by Little Fictions’ regular Eleni Schumacher. 

This episode includes an interview with Sydney author Julie Chevalier about her story, where the idea for it came from and about her writing process.

Original Broadcast Date 8.10.2018


Episode 7 - It's A Jungle Out There

In this episode, ‘It’s A Jungle Out There’, four authors contemplate the lives of animals. What is it like living in a dog-eat-dog world? Has human habitation spelt the death of some species? And what happens when we encroach on their world? 

Join presenter, Ella Watson-Russell for 30 minutes of great listening including microfiction by Michelle Wright, Irene Wilkie and Katelin Farnsworth as well as a short story and interview with Pambula author, Kate Liston-Mills.

Original Broadcast Date 24.9.2018


Episode 6 - Literary Mashup

In this episode, Ella Watson-Russell presents audio stories which riff on the works of Shakespeare, Austen and Nabokov. You’ll hear stories by Mark O’Flynn, Michelle Cahill, Susan McCreery and Carol Ann Martin performed by Tim McGarry, Eleni Schumacher and Ella Watson-Russell.

Carol Ann Martin’s ‘Open Letter to Star-crossed lovers’ read by Ella Watson-Russell gives a new perspective on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The story was originally submitted via a Little Fictions’ call out. Susan McCreery’s microfiction ‘Well, Then’ is published in her collection, Loopholes published by Spineless Wonders. It is performed by Little Ficitons regular Eleni Schumacher. ‘Chasing Nabokov’ takes the famous Nabokov novel, Lolita and sets it in a modern-day Sydney beachside suburb. It is written by award-winning author Michelle Cahill and appears in the Spineless Wonders’ anthology, Escape. ‘Iago’ by Mark O’Flynn is an invented monologue for Shakespeare’s play ‘Othello’. It is performed by Tim McGarry.

Original Broadcast Date 10.09.2018


Episode 5 - Sydney Stories

In this episode, our host Ella Watson-Russell presents tales from Sydney’s early years as well as from the not-too-distant past. Featuring the voices of Joel Horwood, Felix Johnson , Claire Oehme and Eleni Schumacher, this episode includes stories about the Shark Arm Case, Petersham Swimming Pool and Parramatta Rd circa 1988. 

Authors featured include Karolina Ristevski, Paul Cliff, Arna Radovich, John Dale and Hilary Hewitt – all writers who submitted their work to a Little Fictions Call Out on the theme: Humans of Parramatta Road. Little Fictions On Air is brought to you by Sydney short story publisher, SPINELESS WONDERS. This episode was originally broadcast on Radio 2RPH at 3pm on Monday, 27 August, 2018. 

It is produced by Bronwyn Mehan and our sound engineer is Adrian Vecchio-Hoehne. Our theme song, ‘Attune’ is written and performed by Annie Vidler.

Original Broadcast Date 27.08.2018


Episode 4 - Life Lessons

In this episode, presenter Ella Watson-Russell presents three short stories about life’s ups and down. The first is ‘Loaded Dice’ by Blue Mts author, Mark O’Flynn and is performed by Joel Horwood. Felix Johnson reads Wollongong writer, Erica Woolgar’s ‘Directions’ and Eleni Schumacher performs ‘Chicken’ by Sydney author, Angela Argent.

Mark O’Flynn is a much published poet and fiction writer whose most recent novel was shortlisted in the 2017 Miles Franklin Award. The story ‘Loaded Dice’ and it was published in Mark’s collection, White Light and other stories by Spineless Wonders.

Angela Argent is currently writing a novel set in Prague about the spoils of freedom after 1989 revolution. In her story ‘Chicken’, a brother and sister return to the Australian country town they grew up in search of their father. The reunion takes a dramatic turn when father and son face off in their cars after a drinking session.

Erica Woolgar’s writing has been recognised overseas in The Fish International Short Story Competition, and here in Australia in the prestigious Marjorie Barnard and Josephine Ulrick Awards.

  • Sound design for this episode is by Scott Harrison.

Original Broadcast Date 13.08.2018


Episode 3 (Comedy) - Full Interview

This episode of Little Fictions On Air presented by Ella Watson-Russell features the voices of Lauren Hamilton Neill, Adam Norris and Joel Horwood. Short stories include 'Addicted' by Angie Holst, 'Kurt and the Interview' by Slade Quinn, 'Northwest Passage' by Jon Steiner and 'The Ibis and the Real Estate' by Helen Meany. As well as lots of laughs, you will also be treated to an extended interview which Ella Watson-Russell recorded with Jon Steiner and Helen Meany about not writing comedy, their writing journey and habits.

Original Broadcast Date 23.07.2018


Episode 2 - Conflict Zones

In this episode, Ella Watson-Russell presents four stories each with very different perspectives on the topic of war and violence. 

Actor Nicholas Starte performs Harry Kolotas' 'Wrath of Achilles', Tim McGarry's narration of Charles D'Anastasi's 'Broken House' includes sound design by composer Thomas Ross, Ella narrates Amanda Berry's 'We That Are Left' and Alex Williams performs 'When The Helicopters Come' by Patrick Lenton and with sound design by Kit McCutcheon. 

Included in this episode is an interview with Patrick Lenton on the origin of his story from his collection, A Man Made Entirely of Bats and excerpts from a Q&A with Amanda Berry. 'Broken House' is published in Out of Place, prose poem and micro-fiction anthology, Spineless Wonders (2015) . 

'We That Are Left' is published in Landmarks, prose poem and micro-fiction anthology, Spineless Wonders (2017). 'When The Helicopters Come' is published in A Man Made Entirely of Bats by Patrick Lenton, Spineless Wonders (2015). 

  • Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell
  • Producer: Bronwyn Mehan
  • Sound Engineer: Kit McCutcheon
  • Theme music: Annie Vidler

Original Broadcast Date 16.07.2018

Episode 1 - Dire Straits

In this episode, called Dire Straits, Ella Watson-Russell presents three stories in which characters are faced with very contemporary moral dilemmas. 

These stories were all recorded live. The stories are 'Hardware' written by Susan McCreery and narrated by Emma Diaz, 'Open For Inspection' by Jon Steiner and read by Joel Horwood and 'Something From The Old School' by Helen Richardson and read by our host, Ella Watson-Russell. 

And just a warning – some of these works do contain some strong language.

Original Broadcast Date 2.07.2018

Presenting... Little Fictions On Air

The logo of Little Fictions

Little Fictions On Air is a 30-minute program broadcast on 2RPH every Monday fortnight at 3pm. 

The show’s host, actor Ella Watson-Russell presents the best-ofs from the live show, Little Fictions, recorded at Knox Street Bar and other live performances such as the City of Sydney’s Late Night Library series. Many of the stories featured on the show are given new life off-the-page with evocative sound design.

The show is packed with interviews with actors, authors and behind-the-scenes chats with Little Fictions’ curators and producers.

Little Fictions Presenter: Ella Watson-Russell

A profile shot of Little Fictions presenter Ella Watson Russell

Ella Watson-Russell is an actor, theatre maker and drama tutor who has worked across Australia. She trained at the Victorian College of the Arts, graduating in 2005 with a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts in Acting. Her performance credits include work for Queensland Theatre Company, Teatre Satu, Darwin Theatre Company, JUTE, Melbourne Fringe Festival, La Mama, Darwin Festival, ArtBackNT, Optic Nerve Performance Group, as well as work in film, TV, voice overs and the corporate sector. She brings her experience and performance skills to the presentation of Little Fictions On Air.

The Little Fictions Team

A profile photo of Little Fictions host Ella Watson-Russell and producer Bronwyn Mehan.

Little Fictions host Ella Watson-Russell and producer Bronwyn Mehan

A profile image of Little Fictions host Ella Watson-Russell performing at a 2RPH event.

Little Fictions host Ella Watson-Russell performing at a 2RPH event