I’ve scheduled this post for Friday afternoon, just before the deep deep slump kicks in, in case, like me, you require a good kick in the proverbial before approaching the weekend proper.

So for a one-off Friday round out, we have some fluff, some tuff and some luff for you all.

Fluff, but good fluff. 

So, Dami Im is going to represent Australia at the 2016 Eurovision Contest. Following up from Guy Sebastian’s excellent showing at fifth place. We wish her the very best, because there’s nothing like timpani heartbeats, references to FaceTime and a good chorus belting – and because good news can be hard to come by over here in the “intersections”.

Don’t question what is European for today, just enjoy the Sound of Silence, and anticipate the outfits she will serve you come May 13 when SBS begins its Eurovision coverage.

Get Tuff

This year’s Stella Prize shortlist has just been announced and while there are always comparisons to be made, particularly in terms of last year’s shortlist, we would certainly like to pass on our congratulations to those writers shortlisted:

  • Six Bedrooms by Tegan Bennett Daylight (Random House)
  • Hope Farm by Peggy Frew (Scribe)
  • A Few Days in the Country: And Other Stories by Elizabeth Harrower (Text)
  • The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau (Bloomsbury)
  • The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin)
  • Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by Fiona Wright (Giramondo)

Separate to the prize, but closely related is next week’s Stella Count Diversity Survey forum. For those not yet aware, as Angela Serrano reported earlier for our diversity series for Writers Victoria

In 2016, the Stella Prize will release its inaugural Diversity Count. Modelled after the annual Stella Count, which tallies the publication and review of women’s fiction and non-fiction books, the Diversity Count will look to statistically collect ‘data about race, disability, non-binary gender identification, and sexual orientation’. Inspired by the VIDA Women of Color Count, which documents the number of publications by self-identified women writers of colour, the methodology of the Stella Prize’s Diversity Count is still being developed, but is likely to solicit data from reviewed book authors who self-identify as being from ‘diverse’ backgrounds.

At the forum on 17 March, people from a range of backgrounds are invited to feedback into the process of the survey’s design, with discussion facilitated by Stella Prize representatives and independent academic, Dr Natalie Kon-yu, who is assisting with the count’s development and implementation.

The purpose of the count is to collect information that “will be used to measure the ways in which these elements (race, disability, non-binary gender identification, and sexual orientation) correlate to the review coverage received by authors from various backgrounds, particularly marginalised groups” (see here for more background).

In the lead up to this event, I’m reminded of Angela’s acknowledgement of the daunting task of data collection and analysis, and the limitations to not only the process but outcome. There are few guarantees as to the ability of the Diversity Count to alter the power dynamics and privilege the research is likely to highlight.

For these and so many other reasons, we would like to encourage Peril readers to contribute to this discussion, and to attend the forum if they wish.

We believe that your insights and experiences as writers and readers can offer critical input into the design, development and delivery of the Stella Diversity Count, whether in terms of offering feedback to refine questions; challenging or strengthening the assumptions that underpin the process; or otherwise.

You can input in person in Melbourne next Thursday, or via online form for written submissions. If you don’t feel that you would like to submit individually, you are also welcome to send us a message via our contact page or get in touch via Facebook or Twitter. The event indicates that children and babies are welcome, and is free, but requires registration.

  • Where:  The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
  • When: Thursday 17 March
  • Price: Free, but RSVP essential. Register here.

Some luff

Here at Peril, we’ve welcomed approaches and contact from the Stella Count, particularly with regards to the opportunities and limitations afforded by the count. We’ll be keen to share more insights after the forum, in a similar way to our forum feedback at the Melbourne Writers Festival in the past.

In the lead up, however, I’m grateful for the strong, lucid voices of so many of Peril’s readers and writers. Cos you guys rock. So often in the course of daily work, I am reminded of Roxanne Gay’s simply put question to Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Discussions about race, particularly in mixed company, are often combative and contentious. How the hell do we talk about race?

For Australia, where the dialogue about race can often be muted and the vocabulary sparse, I am excited to see just how the hell we do it on Thursday. Thanks to you guys for keeping the conversation impassioned, thoughtful and alive.

Author: Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer and community radio broadcaster. Eleanor Jackson is a former Editor in Chief and Poetry Editor of Peril and currently Chair of the Board.

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