Volume 9, Issue 1
Letter from the Editor
I never fail to be thrilled by the extraordinary and continually widening reach of our journal. Nearly sixty residents of fifteen countries have contributed to this issue, each of them telling a transnational story in prose or poetry, or contributing to a vast international literary conversation about writing from dozens of other countries and cultures. Many of them, like Jessica Sanfilippo Schulz, would be ‘Third Culture Kids’, spending their lives straddling borders and boundaries. Jessica’s essay is one of an especially rich collection we have to offer you this November, with subjects ranging from Denmark-based Indian novelist and poet Tabish Khair to the young Afghanistan-born US memoirist Farah Ahmedi. And we range not only across countries but across centuries, with essays on the early twentieth-century Australian writer Nettie Palmer along with more internationally recognisable literary figures such as Joseph Conrad, Jean Rhys and Washington Irving. Lastly, Patrick McCabe’s 1992 novel The Butcher Boy is the subject of a spirited assessment by Marie McMillan.
Thirteen new poems come to you from a dazzling collection of poets. Claire Gaskin writers of her poem, ‘LiveRecovery’,
I’m looking at the transnational from a globalisation angle. I think that globalisation is a new form of colonising. Due to colonising women’s bodies, we colonise globally. I’m paralleling the body with the nation, moving through the personal to the universal. The social and political power struggles wielded in personal relationships are also wielded between nations. I’m working with the idea of globalisation as an economic force resulting in political and social control.
Poetry editor Heather Taylor Johnson adds, ‘Gaskin uses repetition and noun-substitution to surprise and challenge her readers, and that’s something interesting about this group of poems as a whole: though they’re mostly weighty in tone, they’re quite playful in style. Experimentation with punctuation seems to be a recurring event, and in a modern-day anti-rhyming mindset, some of the poets make a bold move to keep rhyme alive.’
Also in the poetry section, we have a translation from the Persian of a powerful work about women’s lack of agency in an oppressive regime.
Seven stories and memoirs take us around the world, in humorous and poignant narratives inspired by personal encounters across cultures and countries. As always, the stories are truly transnational and range from magic realism in a Thai orphanage and early morning exasperation in South Korea to first world tourists in South India and a violent death in the cane fields of Fiji.
And lastly, dozens of book reviews, covering poetry, fiction and critical writing from all over the world, written by reviewers from all over the world. We are pleased to have been able to include five reviews originally written for Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Journal which they were unable to publish.
We would, however, be nowhere without our genial and unassuming late colleague, Syd Harrex. One year ago we included a collection of tributes to Syd following his death in May 2015. We will shortly be publishing a special issue dedicated to Syd and his work, including new essays and reprints. Some of his later poems will also be published for the first time. We hope to have this special issue to you by mid-November.
I don’t do this alone, by any means, and I am most grateful to those who have helped me with the editing of the articles and book reviews. I have been helped enormously by Andrew Craig over the past few months, and Michael Lee Gardin has also done sterling work on some of the essays. My deputy editors Emily Sutherland and Paul Ardoin have as always provided much-needed support with the editorial review process. I would also like to thank the section editors Heather Taylor Johnson (Poetry), Md Rezaul Haque (Translations) and Ruth Starke, assisted by Molly Murn (Fiction and Life Writing) for their valuable work in curating and editing their sections.
And sincere thanks, as always, to the anonymous peer reviewers who provide their services purely in the interests of high-quality humanities scholarship. Without their thorough and thoughtful attention to our contributors’ submissions, we would simply be unable to function.
I hope you enjoy this issue.
Gillian Dooley, General Editor
Transnational Literature, Volume 9, Issue 1: Contents
About Transnational Literature
Welcome to Transnational Literature, a freely accessible, fully refereed international e-journal published twice a year by the Flinders Institute for Research in the Humanities, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.
Transnational Literature evolved from the e-journal Quodlibet: the Australian Journal of Trans-national Literature, and before that the print CRNLE Reviews Journal, published by the Centre for Research in New Literatures in English. CRNLE was founded in 1977 by Dr Syd Harrex and was based in the Department of English at Flinders University, South Australia. The Centre promoted research into the literatures of India, Africa, the Caribbean, Canada and Australia, and all parts of the world where literature in English has been written. The Centre had a world-wide list of associates and a long list of publications, and organised and supported a number of conferences involved in the scholarly investigation of the role of new literatures throughout the world.
Transnational Literature maintains a focus on new literatures in English, but has expanded its portfolio to consider all literatures that deal with cross-cultural contact and interaction. Submissions on these areas are welcomed and writers are encouraged to consult the Submissions link. Postgraduate and Honours students are encouraged to submit papers.
Transnational Literature is indexed in MLA Bibliography, Proquest and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).