Michelle Cahill is a Goan-Anglo-Indian poet and author who lives in Sydney. Her first collection of short stories is Letter to Pessoa (Giramondo). She received the Val Vallis Award, the Hilary Mantel International Short Story Prize and has been shortlisted in several prizes including the ABR Elizabeth Jolley Prize. Her most recent poetry collection is The Herring Lass (Arc, UK.)
All essays by Michelle Cahill
Interceptionality, or The Ambiguity of the Albatross
My activism has been a way of protecting my creativity; it is a way of nourishing and reviving what withers, interiorly, when we are silenced by ideologies, or when we become centred ourselves within cultural frames.
The Hate Race
by Maxine Beneba Clarke
Published August, 2016
The Annihilation of Caste
by B.R. Ambedkar, with an introduction by Arundhati Roy and annotations by S. Anand
Published November, 2015
True Colours: The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke
What was it like growing up black in Kellyville in suburban Sydney in the 1980s? In her memoir, Maxine Beneba Clarke unflinchingly reveals the co-dependency of victims and perpetrators; the self-hatred resulting from the hatred of others that racism creates in the struggle to culturally dominate and to be supreme. The Hate Race presents both narrator and reader with a mirror in which the reflections are often disturbing and violent.
Who is lobbying for migrant writers?
‘It’s been my experience that the Australian literary world and the journalists who cover it overlook the more complex perspectives and needs of those who are marginalised in our literary communities.’ Michelle Cahill on the myopia of the current arts funding debate.
The Secret Maker of the World
by Abbas El-Zein
University of Queensland Press
Published February, 2014
The vanishing of expression, voice and authorship is integral to El-Zein’s writing. There are arguments being made in The Secret Maker of the World for the aesthetic, ethical and political aspects of the encounter between world and text, though without any kind of polemic. We sympathise with the characters’ flaws and vulnerabilities, but we are never asked to excuse them.
All essays featuring Michelle Cahill
Letter to Pessoa
by Michelle Cahill
Published September, 2016
Letters to Who? On Michelle Cahill
‘Pessoa’s heteronyms owed their existence to his theosophical beliefs, modernist aesthetics and his translation work as much as to his bicultural upbringing. In Letters to Pessoa, Michelle Cahill anchors his spirit figures in history and her own life. At the same time, the kaleidoscope of identities assumed in relation to the canonical names they write to are merely spectral mediums: they do not cohere into a stable entity, nor do they have any direct tie to the author. They do, nonetheless, allow her to work with and through aspects of her postcolonial, diasporic selves. Her family’s origins in Goa, once a colony of Pessoa’s Portugal, and her own birth in Kenya, another ex-colony of Britain, like Pessoa’s Natal, make her another potential avatar of his many heteronyms, as he becomes one of hers: another figure for whom writing offers both exile and private homeland.’