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Letter from the Editor

Welcome to the May 2014 issue of Transnational Literature, which rounds off our sixth year of publication. We have a broad range of offerings for you, as always: contributions from every continent: articles, review essays, poems, stories, creative non-fiction, and book reviews.

I am delighted to welcome a new member of the editorial team this year. Patrick Allington has taken over as Book Reviews Editor, bringing to the task a wealth of experience as an editor and critic. I am also most grateful for the support of all our editors. The journal has grown well beyond the scale where one person can deal with everything.

While this issue has no special theme, it is striking that many of the peer-reviewed articles are concerned with gender issues. Muneer Aram Kuzhiyan discusses the treatment of the concept of the veil in a novel by the Malayalam writer Khadija Mumthas, while Anna Royal looks at marginal characters central to Sharni Mootoo's first novel, Cereus Blooms at Night. Robyn Greaves devotes overdue attention to Australian novelist Marion Halligan, and Aloka Patel turns her attention to an Alice Munro short story, 'Walker Brothers Cowboy', as a coming of age narrative. The other two peer-reviewed papers in this issue include one by Wei H. Kao, concerning plays by diasporic Irish dramatists, and the other, by Kenneth Usongo, on the use of both African and Western rhetorical devices in a novel by Cameroon writer Shadrach Ambanasom. In addition, we have a wide-ranging review essay on World Literature by Russell McDougall, and a passionate speech by Satendra Nandan given at the launch of A Country Too Far, a collection of writings about asylum seekers in Australia.

More than thirty book reviews of creative and critical books, biographies, histories and memoirs are included in the May issue. We also include a translation of two poems by Karen dissident Tee Noe.

In the creative section we have several prose works by Australian writers, covering topics as diverse as Christmas holiday work in the Adelaide Post Office, the difficulties of coming to accept the Sudanese neighbours, and ethnographic research in Bangladesh. There is a poignant first-person account of euthanasia in an unusual setting, as well as a powerful story by Indian writer Sunil Sharma and a creative non-fiction piece by USSR-born US resident Dmitry Shlapentokh. Eight poets have contributed to the May issue. Our poetry editor, Heather Taylor Johnson, writes, 'The poems are a really diverse bunch, ranging from the musings of travellers past and present, migrants considering home through the ocean's scape, migrants considering home through the fence boundaries of the desert, migrants considering home through lineage, and a bird as a symbol of all of the above. What captures these poems most for me would be a line from Libby Hart's poem, which reads: "each country carries your suitcase of songs", so that the emphasis then is not on the displacement of the subject, but rather on the possibilities of belonging.'

What better note to conclude on? Please enjoy our May issue.

Gillian Dooley

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