Rijn Collins was part of our very first show, at the Williamstown Literary Festival in 2014. But she wasn’t there. Laryngitis. A croaky, very croaky, voice rang to apologise. The band, and a fill-in narrator, performed her very dry, very funny travel story about Jackson by Johnny Cash and June Carter.
A few weeks later Rijn was fit and firing and joined the ensemble at the Newport Folk Festival. She hasn’t looked back since, writing another dozen stories for the website, eight of which have become part of our concert set-lists. The Stereo Stories Band has backed her consummate narration on stories inspired by Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Etta James, Leonard Cohen, Culture Club, Kris Kristofferson, and The Clash. (The Jackson story has itself been performed a dozen times.)
Rijn is an Australian writer whose work has been published in numerous anthologies and literary journals, presented at festivals, and adapted for performance on Australian and American radio. In 2016 she won the inaugural Sara Award For Audio Fiction. She is currently waiting to hear from publishers regarding her debut novel, set largely in her beloved Iceland.
Rijn doesn’t shy away from life’s darker experiences. Her very first contribution to the website was about mental health: Bruise Violet by Babes In Toyland. Also take a look at I Smell Trouble, Deep Red Bells and Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
But Rijn can also make a reader, and an audience, laugh:
Soon we share a table as one man drapes a drunken arm around my shoulders and belches in my ear ‘Will you be my husband?’ The feminist in me battles with the linguist, and I waver between correcting his English and biting his arm. I do neither, as the song on stage floats into my awareness. It’s one I grew up with, though I can’t quite place it, not with Finnish lyrics.