Josh Donellan

Josh Donellan is the winner of the 2009 IP Picks Best Fiction and was a finalist in The National Youth Week Writer’s competition in 2008. He completed his first novel at seventeen, and independently published his second, What Rhymes with Chaos? in 2008. Josh has exhibited his poetry and installation work at Queensland’s prestigious Brisbane Powerhouse. Josh is an author, poet, musician, installation artist, teacher and event manager. He was almost devoured by a tiger in the jungles of Malaysia, nearly died of a lung collapse in the Nepalese Himalayas, fended off a pack of rabid dogs with a guitar in the mountains of India and was sexually harassed by a half-naked man whilst standing next to Oscar Wilde’s grave in Paris. He has an unnatural fondness for Scrabble and an irrational dislike of frangipanis.


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It’s 9:36am and my house is on fire.
My name is Levi. Welcome to the ruins of my life. This is the beginning of my story, which is the only thing I have left. If you’re looking for a story filled with romantic intrigue, muscle-bound heroes or international espionage, then put this down with all the desperate urgency of an adulterer clambering into the closet at the sound of keys rattling in the door. This isn’t a story to read at the airport. This is a story about death, love, redemption, perception and all the little things that go in between that don’t matter but seem like they do. Now, where were we? Ah yes. My house is on fire.

Take a moment to imagine, if you will, a glorious blaze enshrouding your home and all your possessions contained within. Every piece of overpriced furniture, every unwanted Christmas gift you never removed from its box. Every pair of underwear and socks worn threadbare that you meant to throw away but never did. The flames take all of this and more. They feed, they feast, on everything you own in all the world.

Your flatscreen television: gone. Your brand new MacBook: gone. Every love letter you ever received: (which is not as many as you would have liked) gone. Every book that sat read or unread on your shelf: gone.

Every photograph.

Every nick-nack.

Every keepsake, memento, t-shirt, collectible. Gone daddy gone.

All that’s left is the heat and the light blazing. Fiery tongues licking at the shoes of heaven. There is nothing left.


Now I’m standing in the light of the flames and I’m joined by a chorus of ‘oh my gods!’ and the mobile red light disco of the fire brigade. This is not, by anyone’s standards, a good start to the day. Want to hear the worst part? This isn’t the beginning. Let’s go back exactly 56 minutes.

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