Welcome to the 26th issue of Kill Your Darlings.
The future of the arts in Australia was much on our minds as we prepared this edition. The full force of the Coalition government’s recent gutting of the Australia Council has been felt by many arts organisations around the country, with dozens losing operational funding, meaning their futures are now in jeopardy.
Kill Your Darlings is grateful that our support from the Australia Council, as well as our other government-funding partner, Creative Victoria, continues. Their assistance enables us to continue publishing and promoting this country’s most exciting and diverse voices, and to support, in turn, the careers of many Australian writers.
But we also could not run our organisation without you, our wonderful readers and subscribers. You are the lifeblood of this publication. Thank you for supporting Australian literature, and for your avid and ongoing interest in the creation and celebration of contemporary culture.
It is timely, then, that we begin this issue with an essay from Hugh Jones, a former journalist with Murdoch’s News Corporation, reflecting on his career and how the company’s reluctant acceptance of the digital revolution would ultimately endanger the livelihoods of its staff.
Traditional media has long been under siege: the realities of changing reading habits, the proliferation of digital news sites, and the growing scepticism towards tabloid journalism and their commercial agenda has contributed to the slow death of the newspaper. As the reports of more savage redundancies among Fairfax staff around the country reverberates, ‘A Homage the Newspaper’ is essential reading.
Elsewhere in this issue, Lian Lowe recalls how Enid Blyton’s classic The Famous Five series helped her traverse a difficult adolescence in Kuala Lumpur, while Matilda Dixon-Smith writes a paean to the independent bookshop. In other Commentary, Jerath Head describes the meditative pleasures of his Finnegans Wake book club, where the Brisbane-based group read only a couple of pages each month and indulge in the joys of ‘slow reading’.
Female adolescence, trauma and creativity is examined in Madeleine Hamilton’s profile of five artists, in which she details how artistic practice enabled these women to create new lives and new selves, and negotiate (and overcome) mental illness. Writing in response to GQ’s sneering disparagement of the ‘fangirl’, Emma Maguire defends the legitimacy of this cultural movement, and – like Hamilton – examines the possibility of empowerment in the creation of identity through the celebration of art and music.
In Dispatches, Ashley Kalagian Blunt travels to North Korea, where she must grapple with some tricky questions about the ethics of touring the so-called Hermit Kingdom, and in New Fiction, we feature a short story, ‘Sounds Like Low’, from David Sornig, author of Spiel.
In Conversations, Gerard Elson speaks with Ann Goldstein, editor and translator of Italian writer Elena Ferrante’s bestselling novels, while in Culture Files, Jane Howard examines the limitations and possibilities of collaboration and appropriation between the screen and stage industries, and Kali Myers explores the patriarchal roots of one of our best-known fairytales in the context of Angela Carter’s exalted feminist retellings.
If you haven’t already, please visit our brand new website: killyourdarlingsjournal.com. There you can access a wealth of additional content, listen to our monthly podcast, learn more about our upcoming events and writers’ workshops, and stay in touch with all our other updates.
Finally, we farewell our online editor extraordinaire, Veronica Sullivan, who has managed the KYD website for the past two years with tremendous skill and vision. Our website has been transformed under her editorship, and we thank her for all she has done to ensure our writers reach larger and more diverse audiences that ever before. Veronica’s departure is a great loss for us, but we look forward to seeing her star continue to soar as she takes on new endeavours. Ronnie, you will be greatly missed!
Alan Vaarwerk, who has served as Veronica’s deputy, now takes his new position as online editor. We congratulate him on the new role.
Rebecca Starford and Hannah Kent,
Publishing Directors and Editors-in-Chief