Overland was founded with dual commitments to literary quality, and to publishing and fostering diverse writers. At the widest extremes of certain kinds of argument these priorities can be placed into a false dichotomy, and made to seem mutually antagonistic, but during our first year’s tenure as editors we’ve had the pleasure of working with brilliant writers informed by a wealth of diverging experiences. This issue proudly continues that commitment with a panoply of incisive essays of widely varying styles and subjects, the results of 2020’s Judith Wright and Neilma Sidney prizes, and a selection of fiction and poetry bringing established and leading artists into conversation with emerging voices.
In ‘The invisible sea’ Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn meditates on the politics of water-bodies seen and unseen. In a literary market suddenly crowded with novels and essays clamouring to be ‘about’ the existential horizons of climate change, this essay is a masterclass in subtlety and self-awareness. Overland’s history as a radical literary journal is further illuminated by an essay from Aidan Coleman’s forthcoming biography of John Forbes, the brilliant ironist of Australian poetry in the 1990s. Cherry Zheng’s essay ‘Libations’ is a lyrical and poignant dramatisation of translation-loss and the complexities of immigration. Robert Poposki’s auto-theoretic work ‘Reclaiming space’ shares this theme, but pursues it through a fragmented analysis of how space intersects with porous identity. Finally, and as the current government crowns decades of disastrous rent-seeking with further vandalism of the tertiary education sector Giles Fielke’s ‘Hopeless labour’ is a bitter-sweet reflection on some of the ideas and travails that brought the Australian university to its current pass. It’s a privilege to work with these writers, and the entire Overland family.
Evelyn Araluen & Jonathan Dunk
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