By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Edited by Sally Heath (Melbourne University Press, $27.99, softcover, 383pages)
Australia’s second oldest literary journal, this is a praiseworthy collection that takes you down memory lane with some of the best essays, poetry and fiction over the past seven decades.
Featuring a wide-ranging collection since Meanjin was first published in 1940, it documents the changing concerns of Australians and the achievements of many of the nation’s writers, thinkers and poets.
It was founded by Clem Christesen, who never lacked for confidence and helmed a publication that developed from a collection of poetry and short fiction into a “prestigious journal of ideas”.
In the foreword, Gerald Murnane, who first “struggled” to compose something for Meanjin 50 years ago, also reminisces about the magazine’s “superior” quality.
The published works of such reputable writers and poets as Manning Clark, Thomas Keneally, Peter Carey, Judith Wright, Patrick White, Manning Clark, David Malouf, Dorothy Porter, A.D. Hope and Helen Garner recreates a sense of the print debates that were pursued and the increasing confidence of the collective written voice of Australians.
It is sure to appeal to literary enthusiasts, to those who are interested in Australian culture and students of journalism and creative writing.
Editor Sally Heath believes that it will contribute to the current debate about placing contemporary Australian literature in context.
The compilation gives an excellent snapshot of writing trends in Australia through the years, sourcing the journal’s extensive archives.
Edition 342, 4 December 2012
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.