Introducing Overland 236

Type
Editorial
Category
arts funding

Since learning that we are to lose $80,000 a year in funding from 2021, we’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on contemporary literary culture and its public perception.

To put this figure in perspective, $80,000 is about three editions of the print magazine each year or three roles at the magazine (we only have four positions, or the equivalent of 2.2 full-time staff).

Type
Essay
Category
Justice

After hours

The tabloids revert to tired tropes: Stacey’s ‘heartbroken family’ had been unaware she was supporting herself by stripping; she was a ‘party girl’ whose friends had warned her against working at the club, described by News Corp as ‘a seedy underground den where drug use was rife’. In Daily Mail Australia, Antoinette Aparo, the sister of Salvatore, the club’s owner, insinuated Stacey’s own culpability: ‘I know strip clubs and I know the type of girls who work there.’

Type
Essay
Category
Politics

But then, face to face

This sounds cheesy, and in a way it is. And sometimes it doesn’t work. A lifetime in a racist society is hardly undone by one conversation at a door, no matter how convincing. But it is drastically more effective than dismissing or lecturing. If I were to hazard a guess at how the left can win over right-wing voters – and, for that matter, Labor voters who need more than a simple alignment of policy positions with personal concerns – it would be in the articulation of a broad, transformative vision for changing society. This is otherwise known as a politics.

Type
Essay
Category
Colonial fictions

Toppling Cook

Whether through place names, physical monuments or memorial events, the way a country celebrates its heritage sends strong political messages about its identity, as well as those of its inhabitants. It doesn’t take much to realise the symbolic power of historical monuments: some of the most powerful images of the last century show victorious crowds toppling statues of authoritarian leaders after an oppressive regime has collapsed; those doing the dismantling are fully aware that such monuments represent more than the individual depicted.

Type
Column
Category
Technology

On hiding your screwdrivers

For years now, I have listened to first-hand accounts of the dangers of being overly connected: strangers, acquaintances and friends who either lament their troubled relationship with the internet and its various contributing technologies – email, social media, smartphones, connectedness in general – or who report great benefits to their complexion and psychological health after spending time offline. I believe all these feelings to be plausible and true, even as I am sceptical about the sometimes tacit, often explicit claim that social activities carried out online are inherently less authentic.

Online soon. In the meantime, subscribe to Overland.
Type
Essay
Category
Streaming television

Seize the streams of production

Television has always been a medium that brings people together. Even when watched alone, it is simulcast into millions of locations, bonding far-flung audiences in a shared zeitgeist. The idea of ‘water-cooler TV’ captures the sense in which we’ve understood TV as a medium experienced simultaneously and reflected upon immediately, among people whose social ties are otherwise loose.

Digital technology has multiplied and amplified these loose ties.

Type
Essay
Category
Memoir
The Body

If I were to draw a line between bodies, it would look like this

Two years ago, two weeks after Christmas, he stops talking to me. ‘Your body has become too depressing to look at.’ One year later he emails to say I’m not to use the word ‘father’ when writing for publication unless a pseudonym is used. He says this after reading a personal essay where the word ‘father’ appears twice.

Online soon. In the meantime, subscribe to Overland.
Type
Short Story Prize

Judges’ notes | VU Short Story Prize

The stories submitted for the 2019 VU Short Story Prize were incredibly impressive. Even the long list I read would make an amazing snapshot of the short story in 2019. In the end, I chose the stories that moved something inside me – a twist that made my stomach drop, a perfectly imagined moment that moved me to tears, a clever wit that made me laugh out loud.

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Type
Short Story Prize

Water bodies | First place, VU Short Story Prize

The victim’s stomach is filled with water.
A hose is placed
in the throat.
A plank is then placed
across the distended stomach.
And the kempeitai soldiers,
one on each end,

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Type
Short Story Prize

Don’t tell me | Runner-up, VU Short Story Prize

On the southern edge of the Nullarbor we stop to stretch our legs and I find phone reception strong enough to call my father. ‘Look,’ he says, ‘have you considered changing your name?’

His messages have been banking up for several days as the tour weaves in and out of range. We haven’t spoken more than once, I know, since I got out of prison.

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Type
Short Story Prize

Fruit flies | Runner-up, VU Short Story Prize

Afterwards, a counsellor came to school to follow us around. Her name was Klara. Our headmaster introduced her to our grade at assembly and told us why she was here, then at lunch she zeroed in on our table and came and plopped herself down, right next to me. I thought about messing with her, saying that I’d once strung Max along for months, pretending I was into him till I finally told him he was a loser, a weirdo, not worth my time.

Online soon. In the meantime, subscribe to Overland.
Type
Short Story Prize

Judging notes | Nakata Brophy Prize

One of the exciting aspects of reading the entries for this year’s Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers was the breadth of writing, the range of voices, subjects and styles, which is reflected in this year’s winners.

Type
Poetry

Curtal Sonnet

ENTRIP does not contain any safe benefits.

It is not approved for use in hives of aggro child

-ren. Yellow tongue, nose-bruising, swelling of the eyes

Type
Poetry

Toad

Toad in the garden, which is the same as

a snake in Eden or a crack in a mirror.

Inexpungable blot of evil but

Type
Poetry

On lucidity

Often theatrical skills aren’t as valued as methodical ones

& as our spending on apparel declines, retailers claim

it’s the fault of the weather – tonight, it’s broiling & the drying