Last year Overland began the search for an unpublished literary novel, which we intended to publish as Overland issue 196. The novel search was an intervention into the debate about the state of literary publishing in Australia: it is difficult to get a literary novel published; less time is put in by publishers into the editing process; there are many worthy novels that are unpublished because they don’t fit the ‘commercial’ criteria. After an extensive process, we selected Maxine Clarke’s Black Lazarus, an unfinished manuscript of great promise about race relations in Jamaica, Britain and Australia.
As the novel is still in-progress, we have had to put the plans to publish it this year on hold. Maxine is currently developing and redrafting the novel based on some of our feedback. If everything proceeds to plan, we hope to reapply for funding to publish the novel in 2010.