Second City

New Essays from Western Sydney

Second City
Luke Carman, Catriona Menzies-Pike
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Second City is a showcase of the diverse literary talents that make Sydney' s Western Suburbs such a fertile region for writers. Beginning with Prime Minister' s Award-winning author Felicity Castagna' s warning about the dangers of cultural labelling, this collection of essays takes resistance against conformity and uncritical consensus as one of its central themes. From Aleesha Paz' s call to recognise the revolutionary act of public knitting to Frances An' s ' counter-revolutionary' attack on the repressive cliches of ' women of colour' , Sheila Pham on the importance of education in crossing social and ethnic boundaries, and May Ngo' s cosmopolitan take on the significance of the shopping mall, the collection offers complex and humane insights into the dynamic relationships between class, culture, family, and love. Eda Gunaydin' s Second City, from which this collection takes its title, is both a political autobiography and an elegy for a Parramatta that has been lost to gentrification and redevelopment. Zohra Aly and Raaza Butt confront the prejudices which oppose Muslim identity in the suburbs, the one in the building of a mosque, the other in the naming of her child. Rawah Arja writes in a comic vein on the complexity of the Lebanese-Australian family, Martin Reyes on the overlay of experiences as a hike in the Dharawal National Park recalls an earlier trek in Bangkong Kahoy Valley in the Phillipines. Finally, Yumna Kassab' s essay on Jorge Luis Borges reminds us that Western Sydney writing can be represented by no single form, opinion, style, poetics, or state of mind.