For those who find success outside of New Zealand it’s considered poor form to criticise the mother country. The job of an international success is to act as a salesperson rather than a citizen. Arguably this was as true for Katherine Mansfield as it is for Eleanor Catton. So when Catton – author of The Luminaries and winner of the Man Booker Prize – ignored her duty to boost the national ego, choosing to gently criticise the national condition and ‘neoliberal’ politicians instead, the political Right flew into a kind of rage.
The prize encourages artists and writers of fiction, poetry and essays to be part of setting a new agenda for Australia. Winning entries will be published in a special Fair Australia supplement in Overland 220, to be launched in Melbourne in August. Entry is free.
It may be incorrect to say that Primo Levi was a chemist before he was a writer, but possibly no other writer has ever owed more to his or her other profession than he. Not just life, in the literal sense of surviving the Lager, then later the vocation to write in order to bear witness of those atrocities, but a worldview: a method for understanding both chemistry and writing as meaning-making activities.
I started hand spinning my own yarn after trying to find somewhere that stocked angora fibre from ethically-raised rabbits. I located a small farm in Victoria that bred angora rabbits and sold angora blended with other fibres like bamboo and merino in the most vivid, beautiful colours for hand spinning.
Today, histrionic arguments about representation, feminism and righteousness are happening all around the globe: perhaps now more than ever, with the ‘Gamergate’ video game issue playing out and Anita Sarkeesian receiving death threats for her ‘Feminist Frequency’ series.
The Syriza victory has been won by years of hard campaigning across the country by people who never expected to be close to power, much less take it, and the night is theirs.
In May of next year, Overland is publishing an issue showcasing the work of some of our closest writerly neighbours: those residing in Aotearoa / New Zealand. This special edition will be guest edited by long-time Overland contributor and columnist Giovanni Tiso, with Jolisa Gracewood editing the fiction and Robert Sullivan editing the poetry.