Books

Leah Jing McIntosh, Cher Tan, Adalya Nash Hussein, Hassan Abul (eds)
Collisions

Kyle Sandilands as prime minister, ethnic suburbs on stolen lands being gentrified and our souls being illegally uploaded to computers: these are just some of the speculative imaginings within the 16 stories of Liminal magazine’s debut anthology, Collisions. Drawn from the inaugural longlist for the Liminal Fiction Prize – Australia’s first literary prize solely for Indigenous writers and writers of colour – this anthology is a testament to the myriad ways minoritised people are able to predict and change our futures.

Collisions is separated into three parts: “Bodies”, “Momentum” and “Contact”. These segments, as co-editor and Liminal founder Leah Jing McIntosh writes, trace “the architecture of a collision”. Such a deliberate outlining is crucial for readers to understand because it documents just how minoritised people are constantly defined through our bodies, how we are forced to move in a colonised continent and how we choose to come together in order to break through imposed barriers.

Thus, it is difficult to spotlight even a handful of the stories in Collisions, as each has unique impact. Elizabeth Flux’s “The Voyeur” is an empathetic tale for those of us who feel lost in our trauma. Claire Cao’s slice-of-life “See You Tomorrow” shows how love persists over time. As a fellow Western Sydney OG, I found my fists clenched as I read Naima Ibrahim’s “Auburn Heights” – a reaction to her prophecy of White gentrification within majority ethnic communities. Jessica Zhan Mei Yu’s “Tongue” holds one of the strongest opening lines in the anthology: “I am Selena Gomez in a red dress.”

It will come as no surprise that Bryant Apolonio’s “Bad Weather” was the overall winner, as it has a highly original narrative structure and voice that span the oft-silenced Filipinx–Australian migrant experience. Bobuq Sayed’s “The Revolution Will Be Pirated”, the short story where Kyle Sandilands is prime minister, is an excellent and terrifying literary spin on Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. The most important stories are those about sovereignty of land and soul: Mykaela Saunders’ “Terranora” and Claire G. Coleman’s “Wish You Were” are must-reads.

This anthology is a refreshing disruption of Australia’s literary mainstream. Co-edited by Leah Jing McIntosh, Cher Tan, Adalya Nash Hussein and Hassan Abul, and chosen by prize judges Brian Castro, Julie Koh and Evelyn Araluen, Collisions is a stunning addition to any reader’s bookshelf.

Winnie Siulolovao Dunn

Pantera, 220pp, $29.99

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 21, 2020 as "Leah Jing McIntosh, Cher Tan, Adalya Nash Hussein, Hassan Abul (eds), Collisions".

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Reviewer: Winnie Siulolovao Dunn