We write to you from strange and difficult times, and in solidarity for the current #BlackLivesMatter protests which are spreading the call for justice across the world. Over the past six months of our tenure as incoming editors of Overland literary journal, we have experienced great organisational challenges, including the end of our institutional sponsorship from Victoria University, and significant delays to our regular print schedule due to COVID-19 and a scheduled redesign of the journal. We are proud to announce that Autumn 238 will be with our subscribers shortly, and will feature writing from the incredible talents of Dujuan Hoosan, Clelia Rodriguez, the late Sean Bonney, and more.
We know that COVID-19’s effect on Australia’s literary and cultural industries is devastating, and its damages will likely mark the sector for years to come. In response to this predicament Overland has partnered with Creative Victoria to do our part to increase paid publication opportunities in the sector as best we can. As such, we will be increasing our contributor fees for online publications by an average of 33.3% over a three-month period. Over this period, we will be releasing three new special digital editions of fiction, essay and poetry, curated by Elena Gomez, Jonno Revanche, and Melody Paloma, which will feature new work from writers who have lost work or have been otherwise disadvantaged by the pandemic. These publications will be supported by an exciting new digital programme of readings and events over the coming months, including a collaboration with Black Rhymes Aboriginal Poetry Night.
At Overland, we believe critique and commentary are central to a lively and responsible arts community. Our gestures here to encourage new publishing opportunities where possible are in the spirit of collaboration and solidarity, but we also wish to emphasise that the burden of financially supporting Australia’s vital literary and cultural industry can never just be the work of NGOs, not-for-profits and grassroots networks. Our small part here was made possible by Creative Victoria’s Strategic Investment Package, but the literary, cultural, academic and arts sectors need wide-scale government support if organisations such as Overland are to continue their vital work into the future. We know Australian writers and critics are struggling, and that certain apathies of public policy are only compounding their difficulties. We’ll do whatever we can to support and advocate for writers during this crisis.
Solidarity and hope,
Evelyn Araluen and Jonathan Dunk