Tiffany Tsao • 22 October 2021
We’re back! (Don’t worry. We won’t say this every week.) This issue is an exercise in pairings. How does comparative reading deepen or enliven our understanding of a subject? How does what we read take on new resonance when we place it in dialogue with other reading matter? For instance, how might different histories shape the way we as individuals respond to the Covid-19 vaccine?
In a piece for IndigenousX, Nayuka Gorrie details the medical and scientific violence enacted historically on Black and Indigenous bodies, and how this influenced their own decision to get the vaccine. Writing for Guardian Australia, Meg Keneally describes the precariousness of surviving childhood in Australia prior to widespread inoculation against diseases like polio, diphtheria, and smallpox. Both writers ask their readers to make informed and nuanced decisions about vaccination while bearing the past in mind.
Our second pairing brings two conversations with Australian authors together: an interview with the prolific writer, scholar, and translator Ouyang Yu, conducted by Terri Ann Quan Sing for Liminal magazine, and an interview with fiction-writer Jen Craig, conducted by Dustin Illingworth for his Substack newsletter Obstructive Fictions. Shared themes include failure, excrement, and writing in the absence of response.
Our final pair is contained in a single piece: a recent letter from the editor of Running Dog on past letters left hanging. The interlocutors are Naomi Riddle and the readers – to whom she ultimately never writes.
We couldn’t help but notice that all six finalists for the 2021 Mark & Evette Moran Nib Literary Award happen to be works of non-fiction. Voting for the People’s Choice Prize closes on Monday 25 October, so if you have a particular favourite, you should weigh in!
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