Griffith Review 41: Now We Are Ten

Julianne Schultz

Griffith Review 41: Now We Are Ten
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Griffith Review 41: Now We Are Ten

Julianne Schultz

Griffith REVIEW’s tenth-anniversary edition features Australia’s best writers tackling the underlying forces that will shape the next decade: sustainability, equality, belonging, technology and the capacity for change.

Over its first decade Griffith REVIEW has had an uncanny ability to anticipate emerging trends. In this anniversary edition the insights from the past will inform a forward-looking agenda, explored with flair and literary panache.

Frank Moorhouse reconsiders the proliferation of surveillance, Melissa Lucashenko observes up close what life is like being poor in a rich country, Kathy Marks describes how western Sydney has become a metaphor for a changing nation, Anna Rose anticipates how change might occur, Desmond Manderson draws parallels between the war on drugs and treatment of refugees, Michael Wesley tests what an Asian century might really mean, Rodney Croome argues that belonging will define the next decade, Andrew Belk explores the price of flying in and flying out - and more.

Now We are Ten offers powerful insights into the challenges of the next ten years on the eve of the federal election.

Review

This tenth anniversary edition of the Griffith REVIEW steers clear of a self-congratulatory birthday and gets straight to the point: what does the future hold for Australia and the world? A cross-section of Australia’s writers and thinkers address the key questions that are keeping the nation up at night, including the treatment of refugees, the war on drugs, increasing surveillance, the changing nature of work, and LGBT rights. The quality of the collection puts paid to the idea that perhaps we’ve become a nation of whiners, hesitant to appreciate the good times.

Brendan Gleeson’s piece on the effects of a long period of neoliberalism in Australia is a stand-out. Gleeson’s ominous depiction of Melbourne’s streets in an age of PSOs and relentless budget cuts is quite chilling. It’s one of the only recent mainstream pieces to draw attention to the serious danger we face of losing the public system altogether.

Melissa Lucashenko’s ‘Down and Out in Brisbane and Logan’ is a useful companion piece to this, a personalised account of what unemployed life means in Australia today. Her interviewees are a defiant, and enlightening, response to the erroneous claim that all Australians have shared in the good times.

The fiction piece from Ali Alizadeh is the perfect choice for a collection focused on our political woes. Alizadeh’s writing is blatantly anti-capitalist without the grating connotations of the label: his work is engaging, terrifying, and almost cinematic in style.


Chris Dite is a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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