Journals

The dual crises of the recent bushfires and the Covid-19 pandemic have exposed structural weakness in Australia’s economy. Our export income is dominated by a few commodities, with coal and gas near the top, the production of which employs relatively few people (only around 1.9 per cent of the workforce is employed in mining). The unprecedented fires, exacerbated by a warming climate, were a visceral demonstration that fossil fuels have no role in an environmentally and socially secure future. Global investors are abandoning coal and, in some cases, Australia. Meanwhile, industries that generate many jobs – education, tourism, hospitality, arts, and entertainment – have been hit hard by efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.

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In the winter issue of Meanjin, some of Australia’s best writers, including Sophie Cunningham, Lucy Treloar, and Jennifer Mills, grapple with the climate emergency and our relationship to place in these days of coronavirus and the summer that was.

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Island 159 edited by Vern Field

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August 2020, no. 423

First published as The Tasmanian Review in 1979 (soon after the Franklin River Dam project was announced) and renamed Island Magazine in 1981 (the year of the Tasmanian Power Referendum), Island emerged as one of Australia’s leading literary magazines, yet always grounded in a fragile environment. True to its ecological roots, this fortieth anniversary edition, put together by the new editorial team of Anna Spargo Ryan (non-fiction), Ben Walter (fiction), Lisa Gorton (poetry), and Judith Abell (art features), maintains a distinctly local focus while exploring new creative directions.

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Griffith Review 55: State of Hope edited by Julianne Schultz and Patrick Allington

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June-July 2017, no. 392

South Australia remains something of a national contradiction in terms, and this is brought out well in this richly diverse and varied collection of essays and stories. Shifting its focus away from Adelaide to many of South Australia’s older industrial and pre-industrial centres, including Whyalla, Port Augusta, the Riverland, and Clare, Griffith Review’s St ...

The Lifted Brow: No. 28 edited by Stephanie Van Schilt, Ellena Savage, and Gillian Terzis

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March 2016, no. 379

Melbourne-based 'attack journal', The Lifted Brow, has gone through another evolution. Once teetering on the edge of the defunct-journal abyss, it was reborn in 2015, phoenix-like, bigger and better than ever. The earlier newspaper-style format has been replaced by a quality A4 magazine. There have bee ...

Westerly 60.1 edited by Lucy Dougan and Paul Clifford

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October 2015, no. 375

Issue 59.2 marked Westerly’s sixtieth year of publication and the retirement of its co-editors. Issue 60.2 will be the first with Catherine Noske in charge. Unsurprisingly the editors describe this issue as ‘a bridge between two distinct eras’. There are links to the past in previousl ...

Offset No. 14 edited by edited by Angela Hryc, Hilal Kirmizi, and Anastasios Zaganidis

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March 2015, no. 369

A sense of suburban ugliness, occasionally undercut with twists of magic realism, runs through the latest issue of Offset, Victoria University’s creative arts journal. Like its contemporaries Above Water, Verandah, Verge, and Visible Ink, Offset is a student-run publication – a new editorial team is selected each year – and provides a vital space for both emerging editors and artists to trade work and ideas. Produced by committee, there is a yearbook-like feel to this community-driven collection. Aesthetically, 2014’s incarnation is the strongest yet, beautifully designed by Chloe Watson, with an eye for storytelling and narrative simplicity, and featuring a whimsical cover illustration by Renee Cerncic.

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Westerly: Vol. 59, No. 2 edited by Delys Bird and Tony Hughes-d’Aeth

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March 2015, no. 369

‘A father is God to his son,’ declares the father in David Whish-Wilson’s story ‘The Cook’, just a split second before he is shot dead by his drug-dealing son. Thus begins this special edition of Westerly, which marks not only the magazine’s sixtieth year of publication but also the retirement of its two standing editors, Delys Bird and Tony Hughes-d’Aeth.

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In 2013, publisher Sigrid Rausing significantly reduced Granta magazine’s staff, and long-time editor John Freeman resigned. At this news, various high-profile contributors, including Peter Carey, expressed their concern for the future of the magazine. But if we can judge solely on the quality of this edition, the new Rausing-edited Granta has lost none of its verve. It remains chock-full of fine writing and art.

With fate as its theme, much of the work in this edition speaks to love, loss, and mortality. Which is not to say that it makes for grim reading. The lead story, Louise Erdrich’s ‘Domain’, may be dark in subject matter, but it is also playful. A take on a no doubt popular science fiction theme, ‘Domain’ presents a future world in which the quality of your digitally uploaded afterlife is determined by which of the various corporate-owned simulations you can afford. It is literary in tone without sacrificing the pay-off of genre.

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Guy Rundle ends his engrossing account of Clive Palmer with a disclaimer: ‘Knowing Clive, he will contradict everything asserted in this essay in the two weeks between its going to press and hitting the bookstands.’ Since the publication of this essay, Palmer has not contradicted the assertions of the essay, but his party has been challenged. Senator Jacqui Lambie has resigned from the Palmer United Party. At the November Victorian election, preference deals led to the election of micro parties to the Upper House, without a Palmer United Party member.

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