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Giramondo publishes the first title in its new Southern Latitudes series, devoted to writers from the southern hemisphere

A note from Ivor Indyk, Giramondo Publisher

It is extraordinary how devoted we are to the north, when we take our literary bearings in Australia. Of course there is not a lot to the south of us in the way of literary precedents to follow, but to the east and west, in Southern Africa, New Zealand, the South Pacific and South America, there are rich literary traditions, a common historical background in colonisation, an awareness of the complex relationship between our Indigenous and migrant populations, and a shared experience of living in southern latitudes, under southern skies, to the rhythm of southern seasons. This argues for resemblances between the perspectives in our writing.

The spell and the disappointment of the north is explicit in the first title in the series, All My Goodbyes, where the young female narrator leaves Buenos Aires to spend much of her youth in Europe. This is a familiar trajectory, as is her return, not only to the city from which she started, but further south, to a farm in Patagonia. The traditionalism of the old world, ironically portrayed in the intellectual pretensions of her German lover, the sense of cultural superiority, and on the other hand, the combination in her of defiance and self-deprecation, persistence and restlessness, these qualities too appear in our writing. There is something else I admire in Dimópulos, and in Latin American writing, a formal skill in the framing of narrative and in the use of shorter fictional forms like the novella, the concentration and economy of which is conducive to intensity, thought and experimentation.

The aim of Giramondo’s ‘Southern Latitudes’ series is to bring together writers from the southern hemisphere, and to allow their work to strike resonances for Australian writers and readers. Forthcoming titles include the collection of essays Can You Tolerate This? by New Zealand writer Ashleigh Young, a recipient of the prestigious 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize; and the futurist novella Balada by Argentinian writer Marcelo Cohen, translated by Chris Andrews.

Ivor Indyk