type-letters
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Publishing

The Miles Franklin and the small press

Based purely on output, you would expect small presses to account for at least half of all longlisted, shortlisted, and winning titles for the Miles Franklin. Some might want to argue that the discrepancy is due to the fact that larger publishers are more selective and thus publish works of higher quality. Setting aside the obviously elitist presumptions of such a claim, material circumstances would suggest the opposite.

Labor-image
Type
Reflection
Category
Politics
Reading

What we talk about when we talk about Labor

Reading these books has forced me to articulate what I talk about when I talk about Labor: a commitment to collectivism, which manifests itself in union membership; that the free market won’t solve, let alone address, inequality; and a commitment to good quality public education at every local school and a class awareness applied to all that we do.

Chinese-miner2
Type
Article
Category
Culture
LGBTQI
Politics

Asian Australians against Safe Schools: a response

Last week, a petition was tabled in New South Wales Parliament calling for the Safe Schools program to be scrapped. It was presented by the Chinese-Australian community and contained over 17,000 signatures. Its main points of contention were that Safe Schools contains resources that promote a particular ideology, including gender fluidity, that is contrary to our cultural and belief system …

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Type
Article
Category
Activism
LGBTQI

Chinese & Indian Australians: queer, here and in need of Safe Schools

Even in mainstream predominantly Anglo LGBTIQ communities, sexualised racism works to situate Asian queers as both hypervisible and invisible at the same time: hypervisible through the exoticisation, fetishisation and sometimes stigmatisation of skin colour, (ask any Asian male who uses Grindr); invisible, because cultural identities and heritage are often relegated or not recognised as part of queer social life.

don dale
Type
Polemic
Category
The law

The illusion of deterrence

Long ago the High Court made clear that one objective stands above all others: deterrence. I can’t stress how important this word is, how many people it has locked up, how many lives it has destroyed, how much money it is costing us, how crowded it is keeping our prisons, and how poorly it is understood.

PotikiPatriciaGrace
Type
Review
Category
Reading

August in fiction

Grace was the first Māori woman to publish a collection of short stories in 1975. Her work melds a distinctive approach to time, space and the spiritual with the political difficulties of being Māori in a predominantly white world.

spanish-sketch
Type
Article
Category
Gender
Writing

The gender politics of translation

The issue of gender disparity in translated works has been taken up in the US by Meytal Radzinski, who for the past three years has run the Women in Translation project, following in the footsteps of VIDA. So far, results have shown that the industry has made little progress, with recent findings attesting that male-authored translated works are still comfortably in the majority. The gender hierarchy is clearest when considering the gender combination of author and translator.

9728735600_0be2a58403_o
Type
Reflection
Category
History
Labour rights

Rethinking ‘Real Aussies’: our history of migrant labour

Today, the history of the cameleers (or ‘Afghans’ as they were known then, though they came from an area that stretched from Afghanistan to what is now the most north-western part of India) is mostly used as a liberal lesson about multiculturalism. That is, the cameleers’ contribution to the federation’s economy becomes the premise for an enlarged, more inclusive nationalism.

climate-emergency
Type
Article
Category
Activism

How I became an activist at the age of 70

When we arrive in Sydney’s Martin Place it’s sunny but windy. We’re here to prepare for a rally. Truckloads of men are jackhammering in the space we’ve booked and we haven’t a clue what to do next. It’s a whole new experience. I’m 70 and it’s the first protest I’ve ever organised.

3370008716_c5635e81f6_o
Type
Article
Category
Reading
Sexism
Writing

Not all bushy testicles and war

But I’d argue that literary sexism (in subject, setting, and theme) maintains a particularly tenacious grip here because of our exceedingly masculinised history, as identified by Marilyn Lake, and its connection to nation-building – a tradition forged in polar opposition to Britain and its feminine associations, including, of course, its rich literary heritage of women writers. And yet, despite the seemingly intractable bias our ‘macho’ history exerts on questions of literary merit, I hope I am not being too optimistic in reading a heartening shift in recently shortlisted books by women.

Sissy Specek as Carrie
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Misogyny

Bloody girls: on periods and poverty

The excitement over Yuanhui’s comments was kind of a brutal reminder of how present yet hidden menstruating is for people like me, who bleed on a monthly basis.

On the one hand, there is the inescapability of my body, the ever presence of my period: it is on or just over or waiting to happen. I’m always acutely aware of this thing that is occurring inside me – and then there is this weird hiding of that fact.

beach
Type
Article
Category
Dignity
Identity
Racism
Sexism
The law

No longer afraid to come out of the locker: going berko for burkinis

Most of the debates about Muslim women’s modes of dress have rested on their ability to conform to narrow ideas of what being Australian looks like or means. Such debates merely lead to the dead ends of assimilation and exclusion. In light of that, it is worth reflecting on the history of the burkini and its importance as a cultural signifier.

Screen shot of Don Dale
Type
Article
Category
Inequality

Ending the ‘criminal class’

So while we may see the violence at Don Dale as an awful aberration, it is actually part of a system of inherent violence conducted by the state. Rather than solving crime, the prison system perpetuates it, creating a permanent ‘criminal class’.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 8.01.31 am
Type
Essay
Category
Culture
Reading
Writing

Getting on the same page

But Brandis’ real legacy as arts minister will be his oversight of the biggest restructure in arts funding since the Australia Council was given statutory authority in 1975. Brandis’ restructure of the Council in 2014, his elimination of the artform boards, his cutting of the Council’s budget in favour of the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (later relaunched as Catalyst – Australian Arts and Culture Fund), and his establishment and then shelving of the Book Council of Australia (BCA) have significantly changed the funding landscape.

Clarke 222
Type
Essay
Category
History
Racism

The current inhabitants of the island

Jamaica is a beautiful place, the book announced. It explained that it was almost always some mild kind of summer. Everything that grew there – mango, banana, sugarcane – was rich and sweet, and the fields were lush and green. The brown-black soil was almost like compost, not the kind of sandy dirt or terracotta clay you reached after half a foot or so of digging in our veggie garden at home.