Recent Italian-Australian narrative fiction by first generation writers
The publication in 20085 of the English version of Emilio Gabbrielli's (2000) novel Polenta e Goanna and the new re-introduced edition of Rosa Cappiello's Oh Lucky Country in 2009 constitutes something of a landmark in Italian-Australian writing. Cappiello's novel is now the second most-published work by a first generation Italian-Australian writer after Raffaello Carboni's (1855) Eureka Stockade. Although Italians in Australia have been writing about their experiences since the mid 1800s and have produced texts such as those by Salvado (1851), Ercole (1932) and Nibbi (1937),a coherent corpus of Italian-Australian writing has developed only after the post-World War Two migration boom which saw some 360,000 Italian-born migrants entering Australia between 1947 and 1972. While the majority have contributed in some way to Australia's economic development (see Castles et al 1992) only a few hundred have written about their experiences, producing memoirs, (auto)biographies, poetry, theatre and narrative fiction. Although this writing has made relatively little impact on mainstream Australian literary culture and has attracted relatively little attention it deals with political, social and cultural issues and an alternative perspective of Australia from the periphery that makes it worthy of critical attention.