Reading 311 submissions gathered from across the world in the tight window of one week is complexly affective. Encouraging through the breadth and energy of the futures and pasts being simultaneously imagined; confronting in the depths of suffering and despair under capital those narratives so often described. Finally, of course, it was an impossible challenge to say which of so many stories, in so many voices and styles, should be published at this particular moment. It follows that our decisions, along with all other kinds of literary judgement, were nothing like impartial, objective or scientific.
We read exemplary pieces from writers of all kinds of experience, from established luminaries to those writing for the first time. In all cases we skewed towards work that was different in form or content from the kinds of writing often published in Australian journals.
Louis Klee’s narrative ‘In Cassilis’ forms a disturbing mediation on the fragility and contingency of the habits of reality, articulated in disturbingly precise, crystalline detail.
Mykaela Saunders’ ‘Buried time’ is a moving spectro-surrealist rememory of settler-colonial industrial capital extraction. Entangled and emboldened by the legacy of literary elders such as Alexis Wright and Melissa Lucashenko, and the endless yet-unsaid particularities and possibilities of Aboriginal immemoriality, Saunders’ voice is portentous and unafraid.
Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi’s ‘Into the valley’ stages a narrative of grief, horror, state violence and matrilineal love in a house that both holds and haunts its inhabitants. The youngest contributor to this issue, in this piece Gesa-Fatafehi steps forward as a talent well-equipped to answer to the weight of ancestral reciprocity and her own potential. Her future publications should be watched with anticipation.
Corey Wakeling’s scathing work of immanent critique, ‘The Melancholy New Patriot’, interrogates the pathological hatred and entitlement of white nationalism, as defined by Ghassan Hage’s recent article in The Guardian. This work is part of a necessary process of deconstructing the assumptions and complicities of White Australia’s cultural fabric, but we feel compelled to add that some readers might find it distressing in the light of the recent tragedy in Christchurch. The satirical edge of this story should be understood as a stimulant rather than a catharsis – to paraphrase Alison Whittaker’s comments on Eggboy, it shouldn’t be an ethical release valve.
Image: Bill Smith / Flickr
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