Contemporary Australian fiction is attracting a world audience, particularly in the United States, where a growing readership eagerly awaits new works. In Australian Voices, Ray Willbanks goes beyond the books to their authors, using sixteen interviews to reveal the state of fiction writing in Australia—what nags from the past, what engages the imagination for the future.
Willbanks engages the writers in lively discussions of their own work, as well as topics of collective interest such as the past, including convict times; the nature of the land; the treatment of Aborigines; national identity and national flaws; Australian-British antipathy; sexuality and feminism; drama and film; writing, publishing, and criticism in Australia; and the continuous and pervasive influence of the United States on Australia.
The interviews in Australian Voices are gossipy, often funny, and always informative, as Willbanks builds a structured conversation that reveals biography, personality, and significant insight into the works of each writer. They will be important for both scholars and the reading public.
Ray Willbanks, fiction editor of Antipodes, a North American Journal of Australian Literature, is professor of English at Memphis State University.
"Ray Willbanks has correctly identified Australian literature as some of the finest writing in English today, and, like a twentieth-century Captain Cook, he has crossed the seas and penetrated unexplored territory to get these interviews. Willbanks is an intrepid, innovative pioneer. Words can't express how valuable this book is—and is going tobe."
"[These] interviews are superbly crafted. The dialogue is informed and insightful. [Willbanks] really gets the writers to talk in the most interesting and relaxed manner, revealing not only their personal idiosyncrasies but also their Australianness in a most extraordinary way."
—Desley Deacon, co-director, Edward A. Clark Center for Australian Studies,University of Texas at Austin
"It is people I go to literature for, for stories about what it is to be human ... Australian writers in the past have told us a great deal about the place—the wombat, the bandicoot, the Bunyip, the outback ... Contemporary writers are telling us even more. They are telling us about ourselves."
—from the Introduction