To be honest, I would have thought the problem for most writers in Australia is not that they come under fire from commissars like Genoways or Woodhead but rather that political and aesthetic questions are almost never discussed, at least in the public sphere. When, for instance, was the last time that any major Australian writers feuded about particular conceptions of the novel? That’s precisely why this whole debate has been so refreshing – it’s the kind of argument almost entirely lacking in either the literary mainstream or the Australian small press scene.
In case you’ve missed the debate, make sure you don’t start reading unless you have a bit of time. The debate about how politics and literature do or should coexist began with harvest editor Davina Bell’s editorial in response to Ted Genoways’ ‘The Death of Fiction?‘, to which Overland Associate Editor Jacinda Woodhead responded back in July. Emmett’s piece came next, in our October issues, and Overland‘s new fiction editor, Jane Gleeson-White, responded to that piece with ‘Fiction and politics in the 21C: a reply to Emmett Stinson‘.