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NewSouth acquires world rights to Peripathetic: Notes on (un)belonging by Cher Tan

Cher Tan, Photo credit: Su Cassiano

NewSouth is excited to announce the acquisition of Cher Tan’s debut essay collection Peripathetic: Notes on (un)belonging.

An exploration of identity across global and digital territories, the essays bend and break boundaries to resist easy categorisation.

Peripathetic contains work that is self-reflexive, wry, intelligent and restless. It includes a lyric essay on the tropes surrounding the cultural signifiers of ‘normal’ vs ‘weird’; an extended critique on the tensions the term ‘authenticity’ presents; a meditation on the artist as influencer; the existential tensions that are connected to ‘performance’ in everyday life; and an autofictive essay on Tan’s 20-year history of ‘unskilled’ labour that prises apart contemporary ideas of class and capital.

‘What does it mean to inhabit amorphous spaces within societies that strive to put people into boxes? This question has been on my mind for as long as I can remember, and I’m beyond stoked to now be able to collect these thoughts more coherently in an essay collection while remaining fiercely wedded to my wide-ranging interests. This book is a provocation: it wishes to deeply interrogate societal beliefs around selfhood and belonging in a rapidly polarising world without stooping to didacticism. I dedicate it to the many fellow experimental artists, punks, drop-outs and rogue philosophers who came before me.’

Cher Tan

The collection is as non-linear as Tan’s work and life: traversing subjects from technology to late capitalism, interrogating power, borders and capital while considering the ever-evolving facets of identity, self, and culture in a hyper-real world.

‘Cher Tan’s writing is original and entrancing, inquisitive and inventive. Bold in both subject and approach, these essays interrogate identities that we hold onto, and those we resist,’ says NewSouth Publisher Harriet McInerney.

In Peripathetic, Tan has created a collection of essays that blends cultural criticism, experimental writing, autotheory, (inter)net writing and literary memoir, bringing us new ways of viewing familiar artistic territory.

Peripathetic will publish in May 2024.

About the author

CHER TAN is an essayist, critic and editor living and working on unceded Wurundjeri land (so-called “Melbourne”). She previously lived in Kaurna Yerta/Adelaide and Singapore, where she was born and raised. Her work has appeared in Sydney Review of Books, The Saturday Paper, Kill Your Darlings, Cordite, Gusher magazine, Catapult, The Guardian, and The Lifted Brow, among others. She is the reviews editor at Meanjin and an editor at LIMINAL magazine.