Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Westerly Centre would like to welcome local poet James Quinton to our team. James will be assisting our editor Tony Hughes-D'Aeth in researching a literary history of the Western Australia wheatbelt.

James has written an insightful review of Tracy Ryan's new collection, The Argument, which can be found on his blog. His own poetry has been published by Fremantle Press and in numerous chapbooks.

Here is an extract of the review:

For me ‘The Argument’ works in a three-fold process: a eulogistic exploration of Ryan’s collective eschatology, a dynamic identification of the cosmology we seek to understand, and the ways we may attempt to gain clues and build evidence about the cosmic cycle and cosmic error through the banal and the monumental:

I say he because the you of any elegy
is faceless, interchangeable, but this is beyond what person,
tense or mood can manage anyway, it is a long conversation
only the smashed syntax of a poem might sustain,
or appear to; for the dead, especially the young,
the sudden, the too-soon, every line written
is recrimination, cruel ambiguity, the phrase
I survive you.

(-Persistance, pg.63)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Asia-Pacific Symposium

The program for the Asia-Pacific Symposium is now availble to download from our website. The symposium is shaping up to be an exciting event with many guest speakers from across the Asia-Pacific region:

Leila S. Chudori

Leila S. Chudori is considered one of Indonesia’s boldest story-tellers. Since 1989 she has worked as a journalist for the influential news magazine Tempo in Jakarta. She has published several collections of short stories, some of which have appeared in English, in anthologies and literary magazines in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Her latest publication is a novel 9 dari Nadira (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia, 2009) that has been awarded the Penghargaan Sastra Badan Bahasa (Literary Award by the Indonesian Language Institution) this year. Presently, Leila is finishing her novel Pulang, a story based on Indonesian exiles in Paris after the bloody 1965 coup. She is also in the process of researching the prequel to 9 dari Nadira, a novel called Catatan Harian Kemala Suwandi.

Isagani R. Cruz

Former Philippine Undersecretary of Education Isagani R. Cruz (Ph.D., University of Maryland) is the president of The Manila Times College. He is also consultant to the presidents of De La Salle University and Far Eastern University. He has written or edited more than fifty books. He writes plays, essays, biographies, and short stories in Filipino and English, for which he has won numerous national and international awards. Dr. Cruz belongs to the Hall of Fame of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in Literature and is one of the 2010 Outstanding Filipinos (TOFIL). He also writes for Philippine Star.

Jose Dallisay

Jose Dalisay Jr., PhD, has published more than 20 books of fiction and nonfiction, winning many awards for his writing both in the Philippines and overseas. He has been a Fulbright, Hawthornden, British Council, David TK Wong, Rockefeller, and Civitella Ranieri fellow. He graduated from the University of the Philippines (AB English, cum laude), the University of Michigan (MFA), and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (PhD English). He teaches English at the University of the Philippines, where he also serves as Director of the Institute of Creative Writing. He has lectured on Philippine culture and politics in the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, and China, among other places. His second novel, Soledad's Sister, was shortlisted for the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize in 2007, and he participated in the 2008 Sydney Writers Festival.

Alvin Pang

Alvin Pang (Singapore) is a poet, writer, editor and anthologist who has been featured in major festivals and publications in Asia, Australia, Europe and America. A Fellow of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, his publications include City of Rain (Ethos Books, 2003), Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia (co-edited with John Kinsella, 2008) and Tumasik: Contemporary Writing from Singapore (Autumn Hill Books, USA). His writing has been translated into over a dozen languages. He was named Singapore’s Young Artist of the Year for Literature in 2005 and received the Singapore Youth Award in 2007 for Arts and Culture. He is a founding director of The Literary Centre – a non-profit initiative promoting interdisciplinary capacity, multilingual communication, and positive social change. He is presently the managing Editor of an internationally circulated public policy journal and serves, among other public engagements, on the international editorial board for Axon, a peer-reviewed literary journal based in Australia.

A.J. Thomas

A.J. Thomas is an Indian-English poet and fiction writer who has also translated extensively from Malayalam (the language of Kerala, the southernmost State in India) over the last two decades, with several books of poetry, fiction and drama to his credit. He regularly publishes poetry, short fiction, translations, book reviews and features on literary and cultural matters in journals, magazines and websites in India and abroad. He is presently the Guest Editor for Indian Literature, Sahitya akademi, New Delhi.

Mohammad A. Quayam

Mohammad A. Quayum is Professor of English at the International Islamic University Malaysia and Adjunct Professor in the School of Humanities, Flinders University, Australia. He is the author, translator or editor of 23 books including Saul Bellow and American Transcendentalism (New York: Peter Lang, 2004), One Sky, Many Horizons: Studies in Malaysian Literature in English (Kuala Lumpur: Marshall Cavendish, 2007), Sharing Borders: Studies in Contemporary Singaporean-Malaysian Literature (Singapore National Library Board, 2009), Rabindranath Tagore: Selected Short Stories (New Delhi: Macmillan, 2011) and The Poet and His World: Critical Essays on Rabindranath Tagore (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2011). He has also published numerous articles on postcolonial literatures and American literature in some of best literary journals around the world. Founding editor of Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, Quayum is also on advisory board of journals in Australia, Philippines, the UK and the USA.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Westerly Trailer

Blast from the Past: Westerly Issue 1, 1956

As part of our transition to the digital realm, Westerly has begun to digitize and catalogue its previous volumes. Looking back to the very first publication of Westerly, we found rather amusing advertisement for Sportslane (don't be shy admitting you remember this label!).

Back issues of Westerly will soon be available from the Westerly website.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Westerly 56:2 South/East Asia Special Issue: Excerpt

Hello there literature lovers,

Here's an excerpt from our upcoming issue Westerly 56:2 South/East Asia to wet your palettes. This a segment from the editorial by our guest editor, Shalmalee Palekar.

'The criterion for selection here has been the quality of each individual piece rather than any pseudo-representative character. I have not attempted, for instance, to collect samples from all the best-known writers and artists, from countries in this region. I have, however, attempted to strike a judicious balance between internationally established, ‘star’ writers and artists and emerging newcomers. There are stars—such as Jose Y Dalisay Jr. with his vividly rendered extract from a novel-in-progress, ‘Goats’, and Shakuntala Kulkarni with her visceral, confronting women warriors in ‘And when she roared the universe quaked’. Robert Raymer’s story, ‘The Blue Thread’, effective in its evocation of hopelessness and claustrophobia, would be familiar to the expatriate community in Malaysia. And there are exciting new artists like Kellie Greene, whose images in her photo essay, ‘Unknowing Cambodia’, haunt viewers with their subtle and rare sensibility.

Ranjit Hoskote’s poems are demandingly, pleasurably cerebral and dazzle with their control and rigour. Sampurna Chattarji’s poetry, on the other hand, has a monstrous, brutal beauty about it and one can only marvel at its seemingly effortless creation of different voices and entire worlds. Both these poets leave one feeling simultaneously flayed open and exhilarated. Isabela Banzon and Ahila Sambamoorthy’s voices couldn’t be more different. The former writes sharp, sometimes painful, poetic vignettes based on everyday life, with a deceptive simplicity that causes the images to linger with the reader, while the latter is the only poet in this collection who writes overtly of seeking the Divine, of striving for moments of transcendence. Omar Musa’s work is invigorating; it has a strongly performative quality, and is able to convey a great deal by using powerful yet economic language.

The stories, poems and artwork in this issue are not only from different parts of South/East Asia, but often specific to a particular city (Mohamad Atif Slim’s poignant, long poem about the Brisbane floods, ‘Twelve hours’), and even a community (Smriti Ravindra’s blackly comic story ‘The Royal Procession’). So the editors and I decided that we would keep the original word as far as possible, so that regional and unique Englishes would not be replaced by a ‘standard’ English where all differences were flattened out to an ‘internationalese’.

There are three articles included—an enjoyable, insightful interview conducted by John Mateer with Jeet Thayil, the editor of the acclaimed Bloodaxe anthology, a catalogue essay by Shilpa Phadke on the cover artist, Shakuntala Kulkarni’s use of violence in her multimedia artwork ‘and when she roared...’, and an academic essay on traumatic materialism and William Gibson by Pramod Nayar. It is an eclectic gathering, but one that emphasises the flows and connections between these voices and the creative practitioners in the issue, and gives readers a window into the robust work coming out of non-Western academic locations.'

Westerly 56:2 South/East Asia Special Issue will be available in November 2011. Single copies can be purchased for $29.95.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Asia Pacific Symposium

The digital revolution affects literature more than any other of the arts. This symposium seeks to investigate the implications of the digital revolution on literature and culture in the Asia-Pacific.

4-7 December 2011

The venue for the symposium will be The University of Western Australia, which is situated on the banks of the Swan River, five kilometres from Perth City. Buses and taxis are readily available between the University and the city.

Don't forget to register! See the Westerly website for further details.

We encourage you to also join 'Writing Out of Asia' a series of informal literary conversation and workshops organised by the Asia Pacific Writing Partnership.

Further information can also be found on Westerly's website.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Westerly 56:2 South/East Asia Special Issue: Coming Soon

Westerly's Special Issue for 2011 is reaching it's final stages of preparation before going to print. This issue is guest edited by the UWA English and Cultural Studies Assistant Professor, Shalmalee Palekar. It showcases work from a range of emerging and established authors in the region and striking images from Cambodia and India.

Westerly Special Issue 56:2 South/East Asia will be available in print in November 2011.