Panthers and the Museum of Fire

by Jen Craig
with photos by Bettina Kaiser

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A woman starts out from a quiet corner of Glebe in Sydney, Australia toward the bustle of Broadway and Surry Hills, carrying with her the manuscript of a child friend who has recently died. Her thoughts surge between past and present as she strives to understand the effect her friend’s manuscript, Panthers and the Museum of Fire, has had on her. Not only does the manuscript remind her of what she might prefer to forget—youthful ambitions, an abandoned friendship, entanglements with religion and anorexia—it also ignites in her a creative impulse.

JEN CRAIG’s short stories have appeared in various Australian literary magazines including HEAT, Redoubt, Hermes and Southerly. Her first novel, Since the Accident, was published by Ginninderra Press in 2009. She has collaborated on concert and theatre works, including the 2005 chamber opera, A Dictionary of Maladies, with Swiss composer Michael Schneider. Jen regularly blogs micro fiction at and about writing and reading at She holds a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney, and is currently researching the relationship between writing, anorexia and the Gothic at the Writing and Society Research Centre, University of Western Sydney.

BETTINA KAISER is a visual artist as well as a graphic and web designer. She has undertaken artistic residencies in Antartica, at Arthur and Yvonne Boyd’s Bundanon and in Outback Australia. She won the 2007 Hazelhurst Art on Paper Prize and has exhibited throughout Australia as well as overseas.

Zerogram Press