Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Australian identity, Australian literature and an Australian republic

On 7 July 2010, David Donovan wrote in Online Opinion that a major reason for an Australian republic is to aid the further development of a distinct and unique Australian identity. This identity comes through the way we think about ourselves and our nation: the stories we tell, the songs we sing, our legends and our myths. From our literature and popular fiction, we can see that Australia has built a narrative about who we are as a nation, and new chapters are being added all the time as the national identity is updated with each new era.

As part of this process, the Australian Republican Movement runs an annual speculative fiction short story competition. Entries close in August for the current installment of this competition. This year, writers are asked to present stories about Australia’s republican future, under the theme “Life and Death in the Australian Republic”.

There is no real tradition of speculative republican fiction in Australia. A great many of Australia’s most important works of fiction look towards our past rather than ahead. Moreover, with some exceptions rather than preferring bright and optimistic tales, the stories with which we seem to most identify have a strong sense of adversity, injustice and persecution at their core.

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