‘Commentators have been pointing out for decades how the children’s and young adult literary landscape has largely reflected one dominant, homogeneous story of privilege and power that rarely admits “outsider” voices.’ So say Ambelin Kwaymullina and Rebecca Lim, editors of a new anthology from Fremantle Press intended to put 17 such ‘outsider’ voices front and centre.
Meet Me at the Intersection grew out of Kwaymullina and Lim’s Voices from the Intersection initiative, which was founded in 2016 to support emerging Australian ‘Own Voices’ YA and children’s authors, illustrators and publishing professionals. The anthology will feature stories and memoir from writers who identify as one or more of First Nations, people of colour, LGBTIA+ or living with disability. The co-editors said they prioritised two things when curating the anthology: ‘to treat each creator with respect and to edit their pieces with their specific background and intersectionalities in mind’ and ‘to recognise the impossibility of confining these unique narratives to hard-and-fast boxes’.
If you are looking for Australian voices you may not have heard about before, keep an eye out for the anthology, which is due for publication in Australia in September.
‘Outsider’ voices and the general theme of diversity were some of the main takeaways from last month’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair reported by Australian publishers, along with the rise (and possible market saturation) of feminist books and the ongoing popularity of middle grade. However, Magabala Books senior editor Margaret Whiskin said Bologna also reminded her that ‘Indigenous voices are still the marginalised of the marginalised’ and ‘there is a still a lot of education to be done’.
As part of that push to find more Indigenous voices, Magabala announced last month a new unpublished manuscript prize for junior fiction and YA. The $10,000 annual Daisy Utemorrah Award will be open to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers, and the award is set to run over three years.