We are thrilled to announce the release of New Creative, Westerly’s second Online Special Issue for 2016!
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Showcasing new and emerging West Australian talent, Westerly: New Creative is the second in Westerly‘s online series of free to access digital issues.
Following the unprecedented success of our first Online Special Issue Walking with the Flaneur, New Creative presents a dynamic collection of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction from early career writers, in keeping with Westerly‘s ongoing commitment to fostering new literary talent.
New Creative has been shaped by talented guest editors Rashida Murphy, Marie O’Rourke, Josephine Taylor and David Thomas Henry Wright. The pieces have been selected from both university programs across the state and the wider West Australian community as part of a dedicated effort to develop the skills of local emerging writers. Close to one hundred submissions were received and the twenty-five pieces in New Creative represent the best of what was an already high quality standard of work.
Themes of recovery and regeneration within a West Australian landscape are translated through the distinctive voices of each author, with skilful manipulation of form and genre providing a diverse and contemporary collection of work. The strong sense of place and identity carrying through this collection is complemented by stunning cover art from Julia Lane and evocative photography by Sam Harris.
We are incredibly proud of this unique special issue, as well as its talented contributors. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we have enjoyed creating it!
We asked guest editor Rashida Murphy to share her thoughts on the production of New Creative.
What made you want to become involved as a guest editor of Westerly: New Creative and what have you personally drawn from the experience?
R.M. I’ve been a long time subscriber to Westerly and have been published here too. This journal has consistently maintained a commitment to West Australian writing as well as publishing well known national and international writers and poets. I consider it a privilege to have been chosen as one of the guest editors.
I think every writer ought to have the opportunity to edit an established journal like Westerly because it makes you evaluate your own writing and what works/doesn’t work. Plus the opportunity to look at and select some of the finest writing in the state.
Understanding the (lengthy) process of reading, selecting, editing, working with individual writers, formatting, typesetting, design – all of these processes that go on behind the scenes. Working with my co-editors and learning from them and their processes, along with liaising closely with Westerly staff who ensure the print issues go ahead.
In the light of recent funding cuts and ongoing discourse around the ‘value’ of arts in society, how important are publications like New Creative?
R.M. Really important. Especially because it’s free to access while each contributor is paid for their work. We’ll keep on writing and keep on publishing despite funding cuts. I love this essentially West Australian defiance and am so happy to be part of it.
New Creative celebrates the work of emerging writers. Does the writing community have a responsibility to foster and encourage the development of our emerging talent?
R.M. I don’t know about responsibility. I think this encouragement is part of our psyche, a really lovely generosity that I’ve noticed here in the West. I think writers understand how tough it is and are happy to share their hard won triumphs with those who come after them.
You mention the “somewhat elusive but essentially dynamic nature of contemporary West Australian writing” in an introductory note to the issue. What do you think it is that makes a piece particularly West Australian?
R.M. What I meant is that WA writing doesn’t fit into a neat box because we don’t recognise or abide by the ‘rules’. For example, a story about a man who wakes up to find someone trussed up in the boot sits alongside a poem about a mountain in Japan. It’s not just about diversity. It IS elusive, that essential West Australianness, hard to describe, constantly changing and evolving.
Finally, do you have any advice for those aspiring writers out there who haven’t quite arrived yet?
R.M. The WA writing scene is thriving and there’s room for everyone. Treat editors kindly. They work very hard and if your piece is not selected, it’s an opportunity to work on it further and improve its chances of acceptance elsewhere.