The visions of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon haunt me, more than a decade on. No glowing heroics, their battlefield a terrifying, futile sound-and-fury for ‘these who die as cattle’ (as in ‘Anthem for a Doomed Youth’). Sassoon’s ‘Counter-Attack’ is a disorienting frenzy of terror and violence, in a landscape ‘rotten with dead’. Owen’s hellish gas attacks in ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ linger vividly: ‘… the white eyes writhing … blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, obscene as cancer …’ Considering the body-destroying horror of our technological advances in weaponry – atom bombs, napalm, semi-automatic rifles – Owen’s words ring out like an accusation, a trauma collapsing time.
We are pleased to announce the shortlisted writers and artists for the 2018 Fair Australia Prize.