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Bernie Goldie Bernie Goldie
08/07/2015

Australia’s literary culture at the forefront during convention

Australia’s literary culture will be at the forefront of the inaugural Australian Literary Studies Convention being held at UOW from 7-11 July.

The landmark literary studies event will bring together for the first time several of the major Australian literary studies organisations to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of literary studies in this country. The convention has attracted 225 paper givers and about 250 delegates.

The convention will serve as the 2015 annual conference for the Australasian Association for Literature (AAL), Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) and Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association (AULLA). It is being hosted by the English and Writing Program within UOW’s Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts.

Keynote speakers are Dr Tony Birch from Victoria University; Professor Carolyn Dinshaw from New York University; Professor Rita Felski from the University of Virginia; and Professor Susan Martin from La Trobe University.

Dr Birch is the author of the books Shadowboxing (2006), Father's Day (2009), Blood (2011), shortlisted for the Miles Franklin literary award, and The Promise (2014). His new novel, Ghost River, will be released in October this year.

Professor Dinshaw has been interested in the relationship between past and present ever since she began to study medieval literature. In her most recent book, How Soon is Now? Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time (2012), she looks directly at the experience of time itself, as it is represented in medieval works and as it is experienced in readers of those works.

Professor Felski’s primary interest is in rethinking questions of theory and interpretation. She has long-standing interests in feminism, theories of modernity, and genre (especially tragedy).

Professor Martin teaches Australian and Victorian literature and culture, and is a specialist in nineteenth-century Australian fiction.

On 7 July, Dr Birch presented the Barry Andrews Memorial Lecture entitled: ‘The sky lay flat upon the earth and covered it like a blanket’: Climate change, Indigenous knowledge and the privilege of apocalyptic fantasies.

Aunty Barbara Nicholson also presented a Welcome to Country ahead of the lecture.

The convention's convener, Professor Leigh Dale, said the overall convention theme of “networks” drew attention to the ways in which literature is, and has long been, a meeting point for intersecting lines of thought and feeling about the world.

Full details of the convention program including abstracts of the papers to be delivered can be viewed online

Photo: Dr Tony Birch (right), the author of the books Shadowboxing (2006), Father's Day (2009), Blood (2011), shortlisted for the Miles Franklin literary award, and The Promise (2014) and Dr Barbara Nicholson (left). The landmark literary studies event will bring together for the first time several of the major Australian literary studies organisations to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of literary studies in this country. The convention has attracted 225 paper givers and about 250 delegates.

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  • Photo shows (right to left), Dr Tony Birch, the author of the books Shadowboxing (2006), Father's Day (2009), Blood (2011), shortlisted for the Miles Franklin literary award, and The Promise (2014) and Dr Barbara Nicholson. The landmark literary studies event will bring together for the first time several of the major Australian literary studies organisations to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of literary studies in this country. The convention has attracted 225 paper givers and about 250 delegates.