You will submit to Peril’s ‘Why are people so unkind?’

Online Asian Australian culture magazine Peril is open for submissions again. Issue Eight’s theme is ‘Why are people so unkind?’

“Why Are People So Unkind?” has become a famous, perhaps notorious, Australian catchphrase. It’s attributed to our kaftan king and iconic Australian performer, Kamahl. Among other things, this issue of Peril challenges you to think about the ways in which cultural icons are created and maintained – what and who ARE our Australian icons these days? (Asian Australian Studies Research Network, 10 June 2009)

Issue Eight will be funded by the Australia Council, so Peril will be able to pay contributors. It publishes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, academic work, art, as well as blog-like articles containing links and embedded media (i.e. YouTube clips); it’s pretty flexible really, as long as submissions fits in with the style of the magazine.

Here’s a sample plate of what others have prepared earlier:

Photo courtesy of Kimi

Photo courtesy of Kimi

Submissions for Issue Eight close 30 September 2009.

One last note: Peril does not exclusively publish Asian Australian authors and artists, so don’t let its Asianness stop you. Sitting on something appropriately themed? Submit it stat!


Poetic equations


ONE PICTURE: Red Den by Richie Fahey

Red Den by Richie Fahey




The Boat by Nam Le






MANY WEEKS of redrafting


HELP from the marvellous Josephine Rowe

Image courtesy of Graham Nunn

A poem loaded with exotic/ethnic stereotypes.

‘Red Den Beauty’ will be published in Issue Three of Harvest. Magazine launch details are on the invite below. See you all there!

Migrant Stories

Just a quick one. The State Library has been running a series of literary events in conjunction with its Independent Type exhibition. Last Thursday’s Word Juggling showcased spoken word artists such as Si, EZB, and Josephine Rowe; the next event, View from the Outside: Migrant Stories, will run on Thursday, 18 June. Details are as follows:

View from the outside: Migrant stories
Join Oscar-nominated screenwriter Jan Sardi as he explores the migrant experience and connections with place in Victorian literature, with a panel of writers including philosopher and memoirist Raimond Gaita, author and human rights advocate Arnold Zable and rising star Amra Pajalic.
Time: Thurs 18 June, 6–7pm
Venue: Village Roadshow Theatrette (Entry 3, La Trobe St)
Free (bookings required)

To make a booking phone 03 8664 7099, email bookings[at] or book online through What’s On.  

I wish I knew about this State Library thing earlier. Missed out on Literary Landscapes: From Hanging Rock to Footscray. Sigh. Did anyone go to Literary Landscapes? Has anyone blogged about it?

Completely missing the boat

In my ‘Look who’s morphing’ post, I mentioned that I was going to Tom Cho’s book launch at Hares and Hyenas. I wasn’t going to write up about it until I had finished the book—I’m about halfway at the moment—but David Messer has recently written up a review in the Sydney Morning Herald, one that yet again stereotypes ethnic writers:

Reading these parts of Look Who’s Morphing, one can’t help but feel that Cho could have written a much better book, although obviously a completely different one, if he had restricted himself to the question of Chinese/Australian identity and presented it in a more conventional tone and structure. (cited by Cho 23 May 2009)

Messer seems to have completely missed the boat. From my reading of his work so far, Cho’s Chinese background is coincidental. It gives texture to his stories, but does not define them in the same way that it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) define Cho as a writer. According to ‘The sound of music’, one out of two stories read out at the launch, identity is a ‘composite of the influences of various entities in our lives – family members, friends, lovers, certain people we watch on TV, characters we read in books, etc, etc’, a theme Messer might have picked up on if he wasn’t so busy measuring up Cho with his ethnic writer yardstick. Grr.

For more on Messer’s review and Tom Cho’s response, read Cho’s post, ‘Review of my book in the Sydney Morning Herald’. If ethnic writer stereotyping is new to you, I’d recommend reading Nam Le’s The Boat, which highlights and attempts to transcend the issue.

The peril of passing and failing

Edited by Hoa Pham (author of Vixen), Peril is an online journal which focuses on Asian Australian arts and culture. Its latest endeavour, Issue Six, explores ‘passing, failing’, an experience that many people can relate to. 

‘Perfumed lotuses, dirt and daffodils’ is my interpretation of ‘passing, failing’: the struggle to reconcile cultural expectations with the need to be true to oneself. It forms part of Issue Six’s collection of fiction, interviews, articles, and poetry. To read ‘Perfumed lotuses, dirt and daffodils’, click here.


A boat blog

Ethic literature’s hot. 

And so is The Boat by Nam Le. It’s hotter than a sambal fish-sauce curry.

For some more sambal fish-sauce action, check out Angela Meyer’s ‘Nam Le – a “responsive” interview’ at Literary Minded

An addition: I’d put up a recipe for sambal fish-sauce curry but my cooking isn’t so great (as my mother often reminds me), plus I don’t think sambal fish-sauce curry exists, but I’m happy to be proved wrong (on the cooking or the curry).