This week we released our latest Online Special Issue—Westerly: Literature & Ideas.
When we were children, 2020 seemed like the year the future would begin. It was the year zero of science fiction, the point at which human achievement would either peak or explode. So far as bushfires rage and temperatures soar, it feels more apocalyptic than transcendent. The future has arrived and humans are not ready for it.
The symbolism of this year and the challenges we are facing form the backdrop for the themes of this Online Special Issue of Westerly, which is produced as a collaboration with the Perth Festival.
Both the Perth Festival and Westerly are deeply invested in understanding and examining the history of colonisation and violence that has marked this place. Both are equally invested in what it means to build a just future that reckons with that past. We understand how heavily this history weighs on the present. We know far too well that it affects the use and distribution of land, the leveraging of power, the importance of money and the materiality of sex in contemporary life.
The themes of Perth Festival 2020’s Literature & Ideas programme are Land, Money, Power and Sex. These are all, without doubt, words which imply larger projects. In a collaboration with the people of Perth Festival, and with the input of Literature & Ideas Curator Sisonke Msimang, this special issue of Westerly gathers festival guests and local writers together in a chorus which seeks to respond to each theme—and, in doing so, to emphasise the need for closeness and intimacy in the lives we live.
Featuring work from Omar Sakr, Timmah Ball, Tracy Ryan, Chiké Frankie Edozien, David Stavanger and many others, this issue is a celebration of love as much as it is a dissection of power.
Literature & Ideas is our ninth Online Special Issue—click here to see our full back catalogue and download them all for free, or click here to download Westerly: Literature & Ideas.
The issue connects with several of the events being run over the weekend, including the Big Brave Read, supported by Australian Poetry! We hope we see you there—but if you can’t make it, we hope you enjoy reading at this special issue!