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Established in 1999,
Vulgar Press is dedicated
to the publication of working-class and other radical forms of writing

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Latest Releases




Love and Care: The glory box tradition of Coptic women in Australia Marty Grace and Enza Gandolfo


Love and care are key themes in a new book on the glory box tradition of Melbourne's Coptic women.  The book has its origins in The Glory Box Project, a collaboration between Brimbank City Council’s Hunt Club Community Arts Centre, the Coptic Women’s Association and Victoria University, and funded by Arts Victoria. 

The authors, Victoria University researchers Professor Marty Grace and Dr Enza Gandolfo, worked with the women during the project to understand their desire to maintain the glory box tradition. The book documents and communicates the women’s stories of their connection to the glory box and associated customs and rituals, to craft and craftmaking and to links between old traditions in their countries of origin and contemporary life in Australia.

The passing down of glory boxes – containing household linen, sheets, embroidery or crockery to young women in anticipation of marriage – has virtually disappeared in contemporary  Australia. The book explores what lies behind the tradition, what the women believe will be lost with its passing, what maintaining and renewing it might contribute to their children and grandchildren’s lives. What became clear during the project was that it’s not the glory box as a material artefact they’re afraid of losing but what it symbolises: the love and care passed on from mothers to daughters and the cultural continuity associated with it.

Ten Coptic women are highlighted in the book with images of the craftwork they made during the project and their stories and ideas about the meaning of the glory box to them. ‘The glory box story is about love and I want the whole world to know,’ says Madonna Awad, the Coordinator of the Coptic Women’s Association and one of the women featured in the book.
‘For me,’ adds Magda Yassa, ‘the glory box says, I care for you. I did something especially for you. Not for everyone, but for you. I thought about what you like and I put it in the glory box…My caring. Love with care.’

Love and Care: The glory box tradition of Coptic women in Australia is a book about love between mothers and daughters, about the importance of tradition in maintaining cultural continuity especially for migrant women. It is also about passion, creativity and community.


Michael Hyde
All Along the Watchtower


Adrian Deans
$ 34.95

MARCH 2010

Euan Mitchell
Feral Tracks

Feral Tracks captivated teenagers when first released in 1998, including reluctant male readers. It was short-listed for a readers' choice award and optioned for a feature film. The screenplay was created in 2002 and, although not produced as a movie, inspired this newly rewritten version of the story. Feral Tracks: the novel adapted from the screenplay has transformed the travelogue style of the first publication into a more tightly structured story format for a fresh readership. We are supporting our publication of the novel with free a Study Guide, downloadable here, due to the story's popularity with Years 10 and 11 English classes in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Download first 2 chapters of Feral Tracks.


Social Work Education
Voices from the Asia Pacific
Edited by Carolyn Noble, Mark Henrickson and In Young Han
$40.00 rrp 9780980665116


Sandy Jeffs
Flying With Paper Wings
$32.95 (9780980665109)

Sandy Jeffs grows up in an Australian country town in the 1950s and 60s, domestic violence ripping her family to shreds. As a student in the 1970s she comes to terms with her sexuality as part of an alternative family. With the onset of schizophrenia at age 23 Sandy’s world falls apart. Flying with Paper Wings offers privileged insights into madness – medical, social, personal – as well as disturbing reflections on its causes and its care. It is also a story of how poetry can become a personal saviour in the face of nearly irresistible forces.

The biggest satisfaction I gained from reading this book was the realisation that this is an exceptional record of someone who is still gravely ill, and yet is able to surface over and over again, with mind and humour still intact. It has a depth which gives it strength. It has a warmth and honesty that is refreshing.
Anne Deveson

Ultimately, it is Sandy’s insight into fighting the monster of psychosis that makes this book valuable to the many people – too many – in our society that have had to fight similar demons. Whether Sandy’s voices will ever be stilled is hard to say. She says of them: ‘It’s like a war of words between us. I hope it will be me who has the last word.’ With this book, that will outlive both her and them, I believe she has.
Andrew Denton

JUNE 2009

Mischa Merz
Bruising: A Boxer's Story

9780977504794 (pbk.)

Click here to buy Bruising


I regard having someone try and hit me in the head as almost a friendly gesture. In fact I have made some friends that way and really only lost them when we stopped hitting each other.

Mischa Merz

Click here for a report on Mischa's successful 5-fight tour of the US

Review by Bernie McCoy July 20, 2009

Mischa Merz on Bruising: a Boxer’s Story

Bruising is the story of Merz’s long love affair with the art of boxing - from throwing and receiving her first punches - to competing in an Australian amateur title fight and beyond. Boxing opens her to new ideas about what it means to be a woman, it tests her courage as well as her physical limitations and connects her with others in unexpected ways. It provides her with the thrilling and often hilarious background against which to examine myths about feminine virtue and physical weakness.

Bruising, which was short listed for the Dobbie Award in 2001, and this latest edition is updated with new material based on a trip to New York where Merz spent time training with the women at one of America’s oldest and most famous boxing gyms.

Mischa Merz is a journalist and author of both fiction and non-fiction. She has worked for newspapers and magazines for twenty years. Bruising, originally published by Picador Australia, has been reissued with updated material, by Vulgar Press. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Peter.


Click here to buy Bruising

Bruising takes us deep into the illicit realities of female anger and aggression, and then by way of the male stronghold of the boxing gym into the ring . . . Merz makes her own body, discipline and courage her subjects of experiment as she explores the terrors and the exhilarations of the female capacity for violence with startling honesty. You can almost smell the sweat.

Inga Clendinnen
Author of Tiger’s Eye

Every now and then a book comes along that invites you to shake off your dusty old prejudices, and stop thinking along dichotomous lines . . . it's a gripping read and a timely call to re-examine both sanctioned and unsanctioned violence.

Sian Prior
The Age

The work fits comfortably within the stylish non-fiction popularised by writers such as Dava Sobel, Helen Garner and Janet Malcolm.

Mary Rose Liverani
The Australian

I like writing that explores experience in a naked way. I particularly like it when the writer uses words with the fidelity of a harp string. This is a book about a young woman with an intellectual orientation to life who takes up boxing. I can honestly say I have never read anything like it.

Martin Flanagan
The Age



Enza Gandolfo and Marty Grace
It keeps me sane: Women, craft, wellbeing

This book is has its origins in the The Everyday Creativity of Women Craftmakers, a narrative research project exploring the roles and meanings of craftmaking in women’s lives. This research aims to document and communicate contemporary women’s stories of their engagement with craftwork; and to explore the links that women perceive between their engagement in craftmaking and their wellbeing. The research was funded by Victoria University and Spotlight Pty Ltd, a large Australian retailer of fabrics, wool and craft supplies.

In the book we explore the meaning of craft and craftmaking to women and the key themes that have emerged from the research including: creative and self expression, wellbeing, community and intergenerational links and pleasure and passion for the craft itself. There are 15 individual women and one group highlighted in the book with images of their craftwork and their stories and ideas about the meaning of craft to them.

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