Published in Overland Issue 219 Winter 2015 Reading Editorial Jolisa Gracewood Why look to fiction to take the temperature of a country? You might as well ask the canary to issue a detailed report into working conditions in the coalmine. The task of the writer is to sing her own song, which may be entirely at odds with the atmosphere in which she finds herself. And yet: these three stories alert us to something in the air in Aotearoa New Zealand. The barometer swings, conditions change, and people are buffeted by circumstance, challenged by fresh strangeness. The location of each story is absolutely local – we know where we are – but the threat is diffuse, worldly, universal. As always, it’s an interesting time to be a writer in New Zealand. We are all luminaries now, writing not in the shadow but by the light of Eleanor Catton’s brilliant success, which blazes like a signal fire on the beach. Not a problem, to use the vernacular. We’ve been here before, with Katherine Mansfield’s ‘little lamp’, and we’ll be here again. Engaging the world beyond our shores, tangling with its cultural economies, and then plunging back into the hinterland, the harbour, the bare cupboard, mining our own dark past – and present and future – for literary gold. Jolisa Gracewood Jolisa Gracewood is a freelance editor who has worked with authors of nonfiction, fiction and poetry; chaired festival panels; and judged literary competitions. She has a PhD in comparative literature from Cornell University, where she coedited two teaching anthologies. She is the co-editor of Tell You What: Great New Zealand Nonfiction 2015. More by Jolisa Gracewood 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 2 First published in Overland Issue 228 19 November 202127 January 2022 Reading Which One Are You? Madeleine Gray I had to innovate. I had to create a game that put the onus of invention and self-revelation back onto the players. And this is how I came up with my piece de resistance, my submission to the games hall of fame. It’s called ‘Which One Are You?’ First published in Overland Issue 228 31 March 202030 April 2020 Reading Your teenage reading will haunt you forever Zoe Deleuil Years after reading Flowers in the Attic, dark wardrobes and creaky houses and simmering men and thwarted women still lurk in my imagination. The book took lodging in my brain at a critical point, never to be evicted.