Published in Overland Issue 240.5: a special digital fiction edition · Fiction / Editorial statement From the editorial collective Melissa Manning, Katelin Farnsworth, Linda Godfrey, Zoë Meager, Melanie Saward, Donna Mazza, Belinda Rule, Sara Navissi, Andrew Doyle and Raaza Jamhshed Who are we? We’re some of the volunteer readers at Overland – you might recognise our names from the editorial pages of the journal. Ordinarily, we have the pleasure of reading a selection of the works submitted to the journal each month before they move onto Claire’s desk for further consideration. We read and carefully consider each piece, but don’t make the final choice of what’s published, and we don’t ordinarily interact with the authors. This edition, however, is different. This is our edition. We read, discussed, chose, and edited all the stories you’ll read here. There are voices missing from this issue. We would have liked to consider work from a broader range of writers, and the absences reminded us that making Overland an uplifting space for Indigenous and diverse writers is an ongoing project. he stories we have included, however, excite and interest us. It was a joy to read for this edition, to search for new voices and ideas, to be challenged with the breadth of topics and writing styles. There are images in these seven stories that will stay with us – delicately crafted lines, emotive writing, tense and tightly put together narratives. There is gentle sadness in some of these pieces, sensitivity, darkness, and humour. The stories we have chosen for you each offer something different; examining relationships, families, uncertainty, and fear; but they all hold something in common. They all connect us in some way. Carol Lefevre’s ‘Fish’ is a timeless story, that of the clever child of a working class family who is sent away to school, and can never go home. Nonetheless it is grounded deeply and satisfyingly in a specific time and place, evoking the material and social culture of mid to late twentieth-century small-town Australia with a tender but pitiless eye. In Odette Kelada’s ‘Walking in Company’ we find language that paces alongside its story, accompanying it to an uncertain destination. While drawing the reader in close with sensuous detail, this piece then asks us to think about all the moments that are left untold and unknowable. Amber Moffat’s ‘The Debrider’ takes us into a world that is at once surreal and sociologically plausible. The recurring squeals, scrapes, smells, sores and fluids creates a profound sense of unease that drives the narrative and draws our awareness to the bodies we inhabit. ‘The Game’ is a sly piece of devastating political commentary that speaks to the power of microfiction, a big story told in a few words. Yumna Kassab plays with the imagery of football, a game with universal appeal, but is indicative of the ‘bread and circuses’ rolled out to keep the masses amused and quiet, not noticing what is happening around them until it is too late. Amid the threat of bushfire, ‘Mud Bricks Don’t Burn’ by Felicia Henderson charts the relationship between two sisters. Tightly written and resonant with cultural references that ground the reader in place, Henderson deftly reveals the power of small gifts and attentive care to soothe a fractured soul. ‘Time is a Fish’ by Alison Martin is a beautiful story, engaging with the reality of a pandemic without being overbearing. A meditation on time and memory, the fragmentary nature of the vignettes really stood out to us. ‘Mnimósino’ by Diana Papas is an emotionally compelling story, rooted in domestic power struggles and the deep impacts of grief over time. Much of its weight is in the things that are not said, and the space this leaves for misunderstanding. We hope that you enjoy each of the selected stories, and we also hope that you will consider submitting your stories to us – your diverse, wonderful, weird, interesting stories, knowing that there is a team of readers waiting to look at your work. We, and all the team at Overland, are particularly hoping to hear from the voices that are missing from this edition. We want to hear from you. We want to publish you. Carol Lefevre – Fish Odette Kelada – Walking in company Amber Moffat – The debrider Yumna Kassab – The game Felicia Henderson – Mudbricks don’t burn Alison Martin – Time is a fish Diana Papas – Mnimósino Melissa Manning Melissa Manning is the author of Smokehouse, an interlinked story collection set in southern Tasmania. Her writing has been recognised in awards and published widely, including in Best Small Fictions (US), To Carry Her Home (UK), Award Winning Australian Writing, and Overland. More by Melissa Manning › Katelin Farnsworth Katelin Farnsworth loves writing, reading, bushwalking and travelling. She has been shortlisted for the Penguin Literary Prize twice and is currently working on a manuscript. More by Katelin Farnsworth › Linda Godfrey Linda Godfrey: Poet. Writer. Editor. Program Manager of the Wollongong Writers Festival. 2015 to 2018. Curator of Rocket Readings, readings of poetry and an open mic, part of the Sydney Writers Festival and Wollongong Writers Festival, 2007 to 2018. Reader, manuscript assessor, teacher, judge. Fiction and poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies. Will fulfil her ambition to live on the beach at Agia Triada in Crete where the Minoans built a summer palace. More by Linda Godfrey › Zoë Meager Zoë Meager is from Ōtautahi, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her work has appeared abroad in publications including Granta, Lost Balloon, and Overland, and locally in Hue and Cry, Landfall, Mayhem, Turbine | Kapohau, and Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand and two volumes of Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy. More by Zoë Meager › Melanie Saward Melanie Saward is a proud descendant of the Bigambul and Wakka Wakka peoples. Her work has appeared in Kill Your Darlings, New Australian Fiction, and Overland and she’s been shortlisted for the David Unaipon Award (2018 and 2020), the Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship, and the Harlequin First Nations Fellowship. More by Melanie Saward › Donna Mazza Donna Mazza is a West Australian author and academic at Edith Cowan University South West. She is author of Fauna (Allen & Unwin, 2020) and The Albanian (Fremantle Press, 2007), which received the TAG Hungerford Award. Her stories have recently been published in KYD New Australian Fiction 2020 and Westerly. She has written for The Conversation, Science-Write-Now and Antipodes on kangaroos, swearing and science in Australian literature. More by Donna Mazza › Belinda Rule Belinda Rule is Melbourne writer of poetry and fiction. Her poetry chapbook, The Things the Mind Sees Happen, Puncher & Wattmann/Slow Loris, was commended in the Anne Elder Award 2019. Her first full-length poetry collection, Hyperbole, is forthcoming with Recent Works Press in 2021. More by Belinda Rule › Sara Navissi More by Sara Navissi › Andrew Doyle More by Andrew Doyle › Raaza Jamhshed Raaza Jamshed is a writer drawn to the poetics of gender, language, and identity. She is a doctoral candidate at the Writing and Society Research Center at Western Sydney University. Her short story won the second prize for the 2019 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. Her recent short stories have appeared in Meanjin and Australian Book Review. More by Raaza Jamhshed › 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. Related articles & Essays 21 First published in Overland Issue 228 9 November 202311 November 2023 · Editorial statement To let suffering speak: a response to our critics Jonathan Dunk Since the attacks committed by Hamas on the seventh of last month, we have received considerable criticism, offered in good faith and otherwise, for publishing a number of collective statements in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and for our staff-members' presence at marches in protest of Israel’s ongoing war-crimes. Given the sclerotic condition of Australian political discourse, this isn’t surprising. But I have been shocked by the doggedly misdirective persistence of these arguments as the bombs continued to fall. First published in Overland Issue 228 6 October 202310 October 2023 · Fiction Fiction | People outside Annelise Roberts I saw the boyish woman walking towards me along Paisley Street. Each time I see her I think she might look at me, know me and speak to me, finally, after all these months I’ve watched her from the window in my study that overlooks the street, turned away from my desk, tired or bored, while below she paces from the mall to the bridge just about every day, howling obscenities, squatting and smoking, pulling her pants down to wee between parked cars.