'With a population base of some 20 million people in the early years of the twenty-first century, Australia is widely recognised as ‘punching above its weight’ in the field of international literature in English. When questions of literary merit are raised, Patrick White’s Nobel Prize for literature in 1973 is often cited together with David Malouf’s Impac award, Thomas Keneally’s and Peter Carey’s Booker prizes, Kate Grenville’s Orange prize and the Queens’s gold medal for poetry to Judith Wright, Les Murray and Peter Porter. Although some of these authors are discussed in the present book, readers will also encounter a variety of other Australian writers, living and dead, from colonial to post-colonial times, including :Louis Becke, Jack Davis, Yasmine Gooneratne, Ee Tiang Hong, Dorothy Hewitt, A D Hope, Clive James, Oodgeroo, John Boyle O’Reilly and Tim Winton. This heterogeneous group includes Indigenous Australians, immigrants, expatriates, long and short term residents and an Irish political prisoner. The main criterion for inclusion in these essays is not the canonical status of authors but their fruitful engagement with themes of alienation and belonging in a changing Australia.'