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A Subscriberthon wrap-up

PrizesOverland would like to offer a gigantic and sincere thank you to everyone who subscribed during the week and a bit that was Subscriberthon. Here in the office, we just employed a highly technical prize-drawing procedure (one involving numbered squares of paper and a bucket) to draw our prizewinners.

So, without further ado, the 2011 Subscriberthon prize winners are:

Major Prizes

Meanland luxury prize pack – Gabrille Bryden
Great Reads Luxury Pack – Matt McDougall
Coffee Lover’s luxury Prize Pack – Michelle Farran

Day 1 prizes

Women writer’s 1 – Cate Blackmore
The Thinker’s Pack – Gary Pearce
The Pleasure Pack – Claire Pettigrew

Day 2 prizes

Debate starter – Joel Deane
Power of the small press 1 – Julie Morgan King
True Grit – Kirsten Tranter
The Judy Horacek Prize Pack – Akiko Mardon

Day 3 prizes

The sex pack – Kathleen McLeod
Novel-ty pack – Rebecca Colles
The Sydney Reader’s Pack – Daniel Young
The Melbourne Writer’s Prize – Dianne Simonelli

Weekend prizes

Fremantle Press Pack – Steve McCarthy
Australian shorts – Sheree Joseph
Drunkard’s Delight – Simon Russell

Day 6 prizes

The Sleepers experience – Susan Currie
Scribe Library Pack – Graham Maddox
Readings from Readings – Andrew Gibson
Drunkard’s Delight II – Henk van Leeuwen

Day 7 prizes

Poetry pack – Jesse Shipway
Women writers 2 – Julie Chevalier
The travel pack – Adam Aitken

Day 8 prizes

Power of the small press 2 – Helen Rushford
A worship of journals – Dianne Emslie
The parenting support pack – Nola Turner-Jensen
This is Australia – Jane Price
Sport matters – Lee Finn

Spot Prizes

Philip Harland (the extempore poetry spot prize), Jennifer Shapcott, Julie Morgan King, Howard Firkin, Sharon Callaghan, Caroline Graham, Guy Salvidge, Robert Kinanne, Claire Petrie, Jed Malone, Vanessa Berry and Rodney Williams.

Thanks again to our generous sponsors, and all the Subscriberthon camaraderie.

To officially wrap-up Subscriberthon, we’d like to finish with some personal reflections from two Overland writers, Anthony Panegyres and Michael Brull.

Anthony Panegyres
It did not take me long to renew my Overland literary journal subscription. The quality of the journal and its frequently courageous stance on issues meant that it had all ticks from me. The calibre of fiction is also impressive: Christos Tsiolkas, Patrick White, Margo Lanagan, Peter Carey, Thea Astley and Charlotte Wood are just a few names that come to me off the top of my head. Then add the artwork of Shaun Tan in #202 and you’ve covered everything

Overland is not just for the Left (and let’s face it, many writers are left leaning), but it is also for lovers of literature. Its pages contain the finest Australian writing and we are fortunate to have it. Moreover, Overland slaves away to inform with its online presence: as of last count it had 3,582 friends on facebook, which is a credit to the way it has tackled the electronic age. The twitters (or tweets?), links and blog posts, are frequent and informative, and I for one have benefitted from them.

And that is another dilemma for this independent journal. They are doing so much which we can access for free. So why then buy? It was at the Perth Writers Festival, where I heard Margo Lanagan state that when in doubt go for threes. So I’ll give you three reasons:

1. Tactility
Personally, I am still enthralled by the tactile feel of a fictional story but outside of fic, I am quite content reading away online. So, due to the fiction, usually three stories per issue, which makes 12 fictional pieces a year – it suits me to have it in the hand.

2. Supporting a Great Service
Overland provides us with updates on facebook and its website. These are informative, captivating, frequent and free. I go to the local independent bookstore and buy books to support them because I want to keep them around. It is the same with Overland– yes, it is arguably our most subscribed to literary journal but if we want to keep them going in our modern ‘capitalist-takes-all-age’ then we have to show them the money. Pay them for the service they provide (ironically, this point probably goes against the very pillars the journal stands for).

3. Ubiquity
Overland needs to be seen. It does garner fans from lovers of good writing who discover it on the web but it needs to keep (and expand) its place in the bookstores and better newsagencies. This way it might meet new fans who appreciate literature. The physical presence of the journal is as important as its innovative electronic one.

There are a myriad of other reasons too. I’ll give you three more quick ones – I wonder whether I am cheating, Margo? Sixing it up and all: it looks great on my coffee table; it opens up discussion; and lastly, Overland is of the highest quality.

So I have renewed my subscription, and I say that if you are a friend of Overland, then you should too. Dictatorial of me, I know.

Writers need to find suitable, quality homes; readers need to be informed and enjoy great writing. We have some fantastic journals out there. My personal favourite, however (and I have a harem of beloved journals), is Overland. They also pay their writers at generous professional rates, which is rare in the modern day. So subscribe and send some love their way in return. Yes, sometimes your relationship with Overland will be volatile and at other times passionate, but it will never be anything less than stimulating.

Michael Brull
In 2009, I saw a reflective article by Dennis Altman on the unease Israel caused him to feel as a Jew. Intrigued, and pleased to see a progressive forum offer such an outlet, I wrote a lengthy reply. I was pleased and gratified to hear back from Overland’s editor that he would be interested in running my long response, which was less a direct response than general reflections on these issues in an Australian context. I wanted to suggest a kind of middle ground for progressives, between Curthoys and Altman. I advocated a boycott targeted at the Israeli occupation, and complained about the constant charges of anti-Semitism by groups and individuals I might call the usual suspects.

Several months elapsed before my essay was run. As my article went to print, I became aware, and wrote about the men who killed Kwementyaye Ryder, and the judge who praised their good character. It was, and remains my view that this was not only a terrible injustice, but also that this is the kind of injustice which we will look back on in the future with horror, as a sign of how racist Australia was in 2010. Perhaps I am not the best judge of how I usually write, but I made a conscious effort to try to do my utmost to convey why people should be horrified by the facts of the case, and the judgment. I did not want to let this case pass in silence.

I sent my article to a progressive Australian media outlet, which declined to run it, on the grounds that they did not want to duplicate stories available elsewhere on the internet (this was the only article of its sort until Chris Graham published a similar [and excellent] article in National Indigenous Times), and because of the lack of legal analysis and comparison.

Around the same time, I heard that my Overland essay had caused controversy. A group of academics had jointly written a letter to Overland, expressing their dismay at the criticisms of Israel Overland had published, singling me out for special opprobrium. They complained that such ‘marginal views’ be allowed expression, that the views of 99 percent of Jews were being excluded and so on. My ‘particular contribution is rambling, repetitive and contradictory, and of a standard that one might expect to find on a blog devoid of editorial oversight, not as an article chosen for publication in a refereed intellectual journal. It is also overtly defamatory in a manner that is both embarrassing and shameful to Overland.’

It may be left to others to judge the quality of my contribution. But what I would like to say is that Overland offered me strong support in their response to the letter. Their entire editorial team signed their response. And when I expressed concern to Overland’s editor about the letter, he spoke to me on the phone and assured me of his support. I greatly appreciated his support, which I have learned one cannot assume or take for granted.

In despair at not knowing how to get the story of Kwementyaye Ryder out, I posted my rejected article on my blog. A while later, I discovered how twitter works and found twitter had drawn attention to the post. A longer while later, Jade Keil requested me as a friend on Facebook. I added her, and was touched beyond belief to find that she had posted a note reprinting my blog, with a note urging her friends to write to the DPP to appeal the sentence.

Overland asked me if they could reprint my blog on Overland, which I excitedly agreed to. From Overland, it got the attention of ABC Drum, and the Indigenous Law Bulletin.

Ever since I first got involved with Overland I think I can safely say that it has been a fantastic place for starting conversations about issues that are important. Conversations that otherwise might not have taken place at all. It has shown great courage in running articles – and I must plead guilty to being a repeat offender – that would predictably cause controversy, without regard to respecting orthodoxies. It even offered me a space to articulate a leftist critique of political Islam – a space many on the left in the West shy away from.

So. When the next Subscriberthon starts, and some prizes are up for grabs, I intend to renew my subscription. I hope you do too.

Until next year
The Overland team

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

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