At times, being a woman in Australia is easier than it used to be. Women can go to university, have careers and are part of the public discourse; some women have economic independence and some can marry their girlfriends (overseas, anyway).
Other days, it seems every news story begins with the discovery of a woman’s body. Or you hear that the NSW major parties plan a study into why women have abortions rather than decriminalising them. Or you attend an in-conversation event with a novelist you admire, only to hear him ask: ‘Can I have a question from someone without a womb?’ Those days, change seems impossibly slow.
‘We’ve been taught that silence would save us,’ Audre Lorde said, ‘but it won’t.’
That’s the thread that binds this particular edition of Overland together. It’s an edition that gives voice to women’s unfiltered experiences of this world, and other subjects on which there’s been far too much silence. From Alison Croggon’s column tracing how misogyny becomes every day sexism, to Stephanie Convery’s essay on the complex ways jealousy cripples creativity. From Brendan Keogh’s excavation into Gamergate’s roots in the early computer labs, to Russell Marks’ interrogation of our priorities when it comes to paedophilia, and Justin Clemens’ indictment of the CIA’s torture program – and a number of other thought-provoking writings.
The poetry in this issue glimmers. ‘Bright-gold pieces’, Peter Minter calls them in his report for the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize, where this year – for the first time – women took all three winning places. There’s excellent fiction as well, including the remarkable story by Marika Duczynski, winner of the 2015 Nakata Brophy Prize.
Special thanks to Jeff Sparrow, without whom this issue wouldn’t have been possible; Lily Mae Martin, for the heart-grabbing artwork; and Brent Stegeman, for the inspired design.
As Shulamith Firestone put it: ‘I think we’re really onto something new and good.’