For many of us, the Commonwealth is associated, for better or for worse, with the old days of British colonial rule: cricket whites, tea plantations, ‘God Save the Queen’.
But whatever our collective ideas around this unusual global entity are, they likely won’t last much longer. The member states have a combined population of 2.4 billion people and more than 60 per cent of those people are aged under 30. The Commonwealth is young, it’s growing and it’s changing.
So, what exactly does the Commonwealth mean, and what does it do in 2018? What do we share with the other 51 countries – including Tonga, Pakistan, Barbados, Canada and Mozambique – in this sprawling, disparate global club? And will this organisation ever wield any real power or influence?
On the opening night of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, we’re presenting a group of Griffith Review writers from around the world to look into these questions. They’ll discuss the Griffith Review’s Commonwealth Edition and talk legacy and law, history, health and human rights in the Commonwealth today.
Dymocks Camberwell will be our bookseller at this event.
Julianne Schultz is the founding editor of Griffith REVIEW and chaired the Creative Australia stream of Australia 2020 Summit.
Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm is a writer, poet and spoken-word performer of Canadian-Chippewas of Nawash First Nation descent. She is the founder and managing editor of Kegedonce Press, a publishing house that develops, promotes and publishes the work of Indigenous writers nationally and internationally. Her latest collection of short stories is The Stone Collection (HighWater Press, 2015).
Annie Zaidi writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry and scripts.
She is the editor of Unbound: 2,000 years of Indian Women’s Writing (Aleph, 2015) and the author of Gulab (HarperCollins, 2014); Love Stories # 1 to 14 (HarperCollins, 2012); and Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales (Tranquebar, 2010).
She is also the co-author of The Good Indian Girl (Zubaan, 2011). Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean (Allen & Unwin, 2015), Mumbai Noir (Akashic, 2012), Walking Towards Ourselves (Hardie Grant, 2016) and Women Changing India (Zubaan, 2013).
Timmah Ball is an emerging writer, urban researcher and cultural producer of Ballardong Noongar descent. She has written for Meanjin, Westerly, Right Now and Etchings Indigenous. She is currently using zine-making to critique mainstream publishing conventions, and will produce Wild Tongue zine as part of Next Wave Festival in 2018.