Welcome to the November issue of Transnational Literature, the biggest issue yet, with 50 contributors from more than a dozen countries. In this issue we have two articles on the subject of leisure and tourism. Jodie George examines the use of poetry in tourism advertising, and Russell McDougall and Julian Croft, in a hybrid piece encompassing theory, history, memoir and creative writing, reflect on the lost tradition among the New South Wales coal mining community of camping holidays around Lake Macquarie. In contrast, Vivek Dwivedi looks at literary critical tradition of India through the work of four of its foremost theorists.
November also brings a bumper crop of creative writing, with poems in all registers from the starkly dramatic to the playful, on themes of exile, linguistic dislocation, personal loss, fading traditions and violent political change, as well as more lyrical subjects of motherhood, gratitude to a beloved teacher, and connection with the earth. Creative writing in prose also covers a broad range of styles and genres, from Paul Ardoin's dazzling ficto-criticism to the devastating simplicity of Mary Byrne's 'Window on the World'. We learn of Cameroon village customs in Kenneth Usongo's 'The Passing of Aseli';, and the difficulties of cross-cultural contact in Burma in Abbas Zaidi's 'The Tamil Hero and His Tribe'. Rowena Lennox is reminded of her schooldays by the visit of an Irish novelist in 'Coming Full Circle', while Ron Klein relates the anxiety of road travel in India in 'Definitely';. Michelle Cahill and Christine Williams give us different approaches to the nexus between Indian and Australian societies. Mohammad Quayum provides a new translation of a story by the great Rabindranath Tagore, and Frank Russo takes us back to the heady days of the Dunstan era and Adelaide's dramatic earthquake scare.
Our May issue was reviewed in Australian Book Review (September 2010) by Patrick Allington, who noted that while we split our book reviews into 'Creative and Life Writing' and 'History, Theory and Criticism', some of the essays we publish in that issue 'transcend the distinction such headings imply'. This is true of this issue as well: the McDougall and Croft essay crosses the academic-cultural divide, and several of the stories contain elements of criticism and theory. But when there are 35 book reviews in one issue, some organising principle is needed, so we have retained the split for the sake of convenience. Reviews cover novels, poems, biographies, guidebooks and collections of interviews, as well as works of theory, criticism, philosophy and literary history. I'm confident that readers will find that, once again, in Allington's words, 'the writing and research' of the fifty contributors to TNL's November 2010 issue 'displays purpose, depth and an admirable commitment to scholarly accessibility'.