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Since 1956, Westerly has been publishing lively fiction and poetry as well as intelligent articles. The magazine has always sought to provide a Western Australian-based voice, although its contributors and subject matter have never been geographically exclusive. It covers literature and culture throughout the world, but maintains a special emphasis on Australia, particularly Western Australia, and the Asian region.
It is published at the Westerly Centre (formerly the Centre for Studies in Australian Literature) in English and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia, with assistance from the Western Australian State Government by an investment in the project through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and the Australian Federal Government through the Australia Council for the Arts. The magazine is published twice a year in July and November.