Dear William Price, Thank you for bothering to send me the rejection letter for the role of ‘Psycho Bitch’ in the movie Kill Bill. I appreciate the time you spent cutting and pasting my name to the top of the generic letter while cutting up my dream of becoming famous. Do not fear (I don’t want you loosing sleep on this) I have pasted it all back together. While at casting I overheard you say about me, ‘She is pretty but she needs more experience, I don’t find her believable for this role, she’s more of a dainty damsel in distress. I mean look at her fragile hands’. Firstly- thank you! I am utterly attractive. Hotter than a hot potato! Hotter than the sun! Hotter than a hot potato being …

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Hey, you. Yeah, you with the nose. Sit your backside down and take that cotton wool out of your ears. I’ve got a bone to pick with you. Before you start – I know. You – brawn, but me – I mean, I – I’m the brains. But I’ve wasted more than enough brain cells on your pissing about with trivial crap. I’ve examined every part of you. A sickly, scrawny insignificant example of a human being. An emaciated, flawed, hollow man who can’t do anything but lie back and complain ‘no’, and ‘why me?’ and ‘another one? What’s this injection for?’ I’ve half a mind to give up on you completely after your last little stunt. Embarrassing me, yourself, everyone like that. No more knee-jerk reactions or trying to …

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  To the Editor at Needle In The Hay, After several months of contributing stories to your website, which I assumed was a welcoming and friendly environment, I was very disappointed to receive a rejection letter. It was in response to the story I submitted to your Burn Your Editor award. The story in question is To the Editor at Needle In The Hay by Charlie Novak. Imagine my confusion at being rejected by a website, that as far as I’m aware, does not send rejection letters. Was it a new policy? A joke? Was my story so horrendous that it warranted an official rejection just so that its awfulness was even more abundantly clear? In the rejection letter you made specific reference to a number of sections from my …

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Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net 12 Queen Street Brisbane Dear Sir/Madam I’m writing to apply for your advertised position as a Administration Support at your small business. Not only have I attached a formal cover letter, my resume and my references, but also a convenient rejection letter you may use if you deem my application unsuccessful. A year of applying for jobs has taught me that many employers feel they do not have the time to reject each applicant personally, something I feel is a little unfair as they’ve taken the time to write to you, so it’s only polite to write back. Therefore, to prevent a social faux pas on your behalf, I have tailored a rejection letter for my application on behalf of your business. If you find me and my qualifications …

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Malt Eclairemont Drizzley CEO Malt Drizzley Productions Buildings 1-100, Malt Drizzley Land Dear Mr Drizzley, I am writing to you regarding your recent rejection letter, in which you pointed out my apparent – ‘shortcomings’ – that you seemed to believe were the reason I ‘was not an appropriate candidate’ for the role of Cinderella in your upcoming film, Cinder Town. I would like to appeal this decision of yours, as I find it most imprudent and foolish, especially from such an esteemed figure as yourself with over forty years’ experience in the industry. Firstly, I would like to address the concern you raised about the ‘face’ of Cinderella. The photo I had attached to my application letter did not display a ‘very commendable degree of puppy fat’, but rather, the …

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From: [SCRAMBLED] To: g.hayward@galacticsecusol.com Subject: RE: Employment Application 7214 Date: 14:16, 21.10.2025 Dear Mr Hayward, Thank you and your staff for granting me the opportunity of an interview last week at your Los Angeles office of Galactic Security Solutions, especially given your initial reluctance due to my age and relative inexperience in field operations. I appreciate your time and was most impressed by the building and its facilities; in particular the computer systems, the training decks and even the toilets. However, I must admit I am a little baffled by your decision to not avail yourselves of my services. I did state clearly that I can be very flexible with my time despite my other commitments which I believe to be highly advantageous in the field of security services. I …

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Mr Oguguomakwa Nnakeme Director- Super Scam Pty Ltd 35 Kontagora Rd Kontagora, Nigeria Dearest Oguguomakwa, Thank you for your letter. Despite my disappointment, I thank you for taking the time to respond to my application. I understand that the position of sub-editor carries with it great responsibility. I also appreciate that any suitable applicant for this position should have significant experience in the scam email industry. It is clear that I do not yet have the requisite knowledge to fulfil such a role. Further, I am aware that you would have had reservations about hiring an Australian rather than a local. After all, why would a foreigner want to travel so far for a job? But you see, not all is as it seems. My name is not Steven Schmidt. …

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Food can feature strongly in many stories, to the point where whole recepie books have been published. Our winner this week didn’t go so far as to serve us lamprey pie, Instead, the focus was on preserving memory through food: The lemon tree from Catherine’s childhood stood in the corner of the yard, rotting fruit scattered across the ground. She remembered inhaling the strong citrus scent as she stood on tiptoes to pluck fruit from the branches for her grandmother. She’d also tried scrambling onto the metal fence beside the tree to reach the higher-hanging lemons and cried when the hot posts blistered the soles of her feet. “Silly pork chop,”… A big congratulations to Victoria Nugent, taking out first place by a single, all important point. Special mention to …

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Shining up the polished glass, Reflections she can see- Two cherub faces bounding past, Squealing merrily. Their feet are light across the bed, Warm laughter, up and down; Her eyes refocus on the glass, Her wrinkles, pallor, frown. She’s seeking out the stubborn smudge the grime, the stained, the mess; She scrubs hard at the filth in hopes it will wipe out the rest. Her pursed lips thin, her tired gaze, Her hair a hurried bale; Her body is recoiled, rebelled, Once joyful eyes, now pale. Their loose young curls, their glistened eyes, Their joyful carelessness; Will they keep this youthful joy? Or ruin, like the rest. And with this thought, she starts again, Resumes her mindless task, Abandon useless reverie- Shine up the polished glass.

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She looked at the frozen block of mince, uninspired and frustrated. As per usual, she’d left it too late. She hadn’t remembered to pull it out of the freezer the night before, too harried as she relived her busy day over in her head. She had also forgotten that morning, too focussed on just getting out of the damn house to be thinking about dinner. She barely remembered to eat breakfast these days anyway. She forced the mince into the smaller half of the sink, jamming her fingers between the icy block and the faucet. Of course. She was just trying to keep it together, do something nice, and it comes back to bite her. She couldn’t remember whether the advice she had read was to wash it with warmth …

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  The once-lined page was now a near-uniform pale blue, threads blurring so that they no longer guided the generations-old script that danced across its coffee-stained surface. Ink had spread in patches, dispersed by droplets of a liquid long-since dried, disfiguring letters and disguising words. The paper was stuck within a transparent sleeve that Mally’s mother had used to protect it. Now the disintegrating polypropylene only acted to hide the ancient procedure further, layering ink imprint upon imprint, a plastic palimpsest. In the fluorescence, Mally tilted the page, thinking the perfect angle might make the translation easier, but it was clear some words were unsalvageable; even those that were distinguishable suggested little. Mally decoded the cursive, which resembled kanji more closely than characters from the Latin alphabet. Ingredients: Five hundred …

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“Stir up, we beseech thee Oh Lord…” The words of the collect rolled around her and Sarah felt the magic gather. Her puddings would be the better for her participation in Christian ritual on Stir Up Sunday. The priest noticed her inward focus and guessed the reason. He glared as she came out of the dimly lit church, blinking in the winter sunshine. “How dare you turn my service into heathen witchery, woman?” “But it’s Stir Up Sunday, Father. ‘Tis traditional to make the puddings on this day.” The priest grunted, considering her a lost cause. Sarah slipped away. She had such a lot of cooking to do today. But she’d have to make sure the priest ate one of her puddings. With all the goodness she stirred in, he …

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The rust on the wrought iron gate left brown marks on Catherine’s fingertips as she pushed it open, stepping on to the stony path for the first time in 30 years. Her eyes stung as she gazed at once magnificent old homestead, its veranda now sagging and the corrugated iron roof riddled with holes. Droppings littered the path where sheep and kangaroos had invaded the once pristine yard in search of green pick. The lemon tree from Catherine’s childhood stood in the corner of the yard, rotting fruit scattered across the ground. She remembered inhaling the strong citrus scent as she stood on tiptoes to pluck fruit from the branches for her grandmother. She’d also tried scrambling onto the metal fence beside the tree to reach the higher-hanging lemons and …

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  They ate home-made burritos every Friday. They had both been raised on chicken casseroles and macaroni and hot dogs in the summertime. They had never travelled south of the border and the only non-English words they knew were the same non-English words everyone knew. Hola. Mi casa es su casa. Adiós amigos. It began on her 23rd birthday. She opened the card and read the details slowly. “A cooking class?” The dimples didn’t appear in her cheeks when she smiled at him. On the day he waited in the driveway and watched as she locked the front door, fumbling with the keys she wasn’t used to yet. “New jeans?” he asked. He was asleep when she left work work in the mornings and by the time he got home …

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Dad, I never skimp on garlic. Yes I know garlic is awesome. Do I need more onion? Yes mum, more onion would be good. Can you get them please? No problem, I’ll get them from the garden myself. By the way, is this for the stuffing or the Solomon Grundy? I’ll take that nod as yes to both. Onion onion onion. Ooo, rosemary, thyme, basil and parsley. Better get them too. Wow, the chillies are coming along nicely. Here we are. This is how you peel an onion and this is how you dice one. This is how you put it in the mortar. Not a glass one. No porcelain either. Has to be a stone mortar and pestle. Has to be heavy. Has to be solid. This is how …

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It’s no secret that for decades publishing houses have been cheating the system. A quick google of ‘best seller scandal’ returns over 5 million results detailing plot after pot of publishers and their cohorts cheating the system by bulk purchasing their own books to improve their ranking, or employing other companies to do so in their stead. So next time a major author or publisher bemoans the failing sales or ‘industry crisis’ maybe they should look inwards. After all, they’ve only got themselves to blame.   After much consideration, bribery, gratuity and schmoozing, we can release the winner for the VISIONS OF 2020 Award. Congratulations to Joey To. Joey’s ‘Uranus Journal’ is a tongue-in-cheek (which cheek? -Ed) deliberation on current trends. Absurdist, but still relevant. As one judge described it: “I …

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Publishers have been clamoring for anything to do with the recent Palace tragedy; this is especially clear in the list for this week. Harry Potter is finally toppled, and a surprise or two round out the top ten. ThisWeek   LastWeek WeeksOn List   10 Diana : Beyond the Grave – Shirley MacLaine (Bloomsbury and Rowling, ?0.5493)MacLaine re-imagines interviews with Princess Diana in her lifetime, plus bonus “beyond the grave” content. Re-entry 12   9 First Man – William Clinton (Harvard Press, ?0.5493)US President Hilary Clinton’s husband tells his story from President, to Diplomat, to Statesman, to “plus-one”. 3 107   8 Diana : Her Story – Andrew Morton (Simon & Schuster, ?0.3135)Essentially a ghost-written autobiography, Morton interviewed the Princess of Wales to expose the truth of her daily life …

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January 2020: Tomorrow’s Future Today by Francis Fukuyama [3,400 copies sold] Author of The End of History assures us that this time history really has ended as we enter an age of peace and prosperity. February Love and Lasers by David Horst [12,780] Horst’s debut science-fiction novel originally written as fanfiction of One Dark and Mysterious Night, which was originally fanfiction of 50 Shades of Grey, which was originally fanfiction of Twilight, delivers the best of all these novels with vampires, romance, mystery and lasers. March The Resurgence of IS: Where the West went South by Someone Someone [4,677] A testament to Western failure in the 2015-2017 Syria-Iraq War that provides a chilling account of recent IS expansion into North Africa and Southern Europe. April Asian Century Decade by Joseph …

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Reader’s Poll – Top books of 2020 Thank you dear readers for voting. As always, your choices delight and surprise us. Only two classic novels make it into the top five this year. So without further ado…drum roll… 1. Putin – Megalomaniac or Superhero, Christina Gorbachev Two years after his assassination at the hands of a Crimean rebel, Christina Gorbachev examines Putin’s achievements, comparing them with those of Stalin and other famous Russian leaders. This is a good attempt to explain Putin’s actions to puzzled Westerners. 2 Lily, JK Rowling Surely all that needed to be said about a certain boy wizard has already been said? A resounding ‘No’, from you, the readers. So this is it, Harry Potter the prequel. Someone more cynical than me might say that JK …

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Visions of 2020 Competition Leather Bound Tracey Ulrich takes us inside Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s cabinet in an exclusive look at the three years that destroyed the Queensland arts and culture scene. Ulrich’s pain is clear and her regret at not being able to do something while working for the State Government is palpable. Microchip for a Mind Hally is the first fully independent and individual robot. Behind her metal and silicon exterior, nestled somewhere inside a mess of wires and chips is an intelligent and questioning mind. Her debut essay tries to answer the questions that would keep her awake at night if only she ever needed to sleep. Sandwich, Anyone? In the last decade, over four hundred cooking programs have been made. Fads like macaroons, deconstructed meals and …

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