Abandon Every Hope: Essays for the Dead Hayley Singer

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January 10, 2023
Upswell Publishing
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Longlisted for 2024 Stella Prize


Abandon Every Hope mournfully investigates the literatures of the slaughterhouse and a world motivated by profitable death, to ultimately ask: where does this horror begin and how can it end?


Can anyone smell the suffering of souls? Of sadness, of hell on earth? Hell, I imagine, has a smell that bloats into infinity. Has a nasty sting of corpses. What was it Dante wrote?


Abandon Every Hope is a lament, an elegy, a deranged encyclopedia, and a diary of anxiety. How can anyone document the vastness of violence against animals in a bloated industrial age?


Across a series of essays, Hayley Singer investigates the literatures of the slaughterhouse to map the contours of a world cut to pieces by organised and profitable death. A compelling debut in poetic prose, Singer asks how we may write the life of the dead; the smell of an egg factory; of multispecies PTSD; of planetary harm and self-harm: of the horror we make on earth. Where does the slaughterhouse begin and how can it end?


"Singer writes with a magnificent intensity, moving between different registers in order to bear witness to the pain and suffering of the slaughterhouse." Stephanie King, Readings

"Abandon Every Hope takes the form of a thanatography - an attempt to write death - which Hayley Singer describes as having a "nearness to biography." Fiona Wright, The Saturday Paper

"A quietly ambitious book about suffering." Ben Brooker, Australian Book Review

"Singer's skill likes in controlling the level of discomfort in the essays to the point where you feel it as a reader but don't put the book down for a breath of fresh air or a long stare out the window, reflecting on your own part in all this." Jasper Linde, The Canberra Times

"Experimental and jostling in its use of poetic, lyric, academic and reflective writing styles, this book grapples with the industrial meat complex." -Stella Prize Judges comments


Hayley Singer writes essays about literature and ecologies, queer embodiment and activism, multispecies in/justices and on reading and writing as worlds end and begin again. Her writing has been published in Sydney Review of Books, The Lifted Brow, The Monthly, Cordite Poetry Review, and more. She teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne. This is her first book.