I am originally from a small provincial town in northern Italy, and one my generation’s last native speakers of a fast-disappearing language, Bresciano, a non-standard variety of Italo-Romance.
Goodreads is about comparison, for better or worse. How many books have you read compared to your friends, your co-workers, your best mate’s mum? What did you think of this book, or that one? The insidious idea of success being measurable through percentages of pages read and stars out of five can reduce reading to another milestone, another item on the to-do list, another way to perform how intelligent, successful, and admirable we are, or want to be.
From a pool of 863 entries, a longlist of 30 impressive stories, and a very strong shortlist of thirteen, this year’s judges – Michelle Cahill, Sarah Schmidt, Tom Clark and Jennifer Mills – have decided on the 2018 winner and two runners-up in the $8000 Overland Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers.
The Indigenous death in custody of Wayne Fella Morrison occurred less than a year after that of David Dungay. Both deaths evidence lethal practices of structural repetition in the correctional management of Indigenous inmates. Both deaths bring into focus the serial nature of the violence deployed against Indigenous prisoners across Australian states.
In a scintillating talk organised by Express Media, the Dharug/Bundjalung poet Evelyn Araluen speaks of the production of literature as historically being a dangerous place for Aboriginal people. I heard her say this around the time I was reading Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s The White Possessive, Penny van Toorn’s Writing Always Arrives Naked and Gomeroi writer Alison Whittaker’s beautiful Lemons in the Chicken Wire.