Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL)

(Status : Public)
  • Event: Wasafiri Launch of Unsettled Poetics: Contemporary Australian and South African Poetry

    6pm for 6.30pm start, 5 December, Linkway, 4th floor, John Medley Building, University of Melbourne

    Wasafiri, the Magazine of International Contemporary Writing invites you to the official Australian launch of Unsettled Poetics: Contemporary Australian and South African Poetry. To be launched by Paul Carter, with readings by Kate Fagan, Michael Farrell, Fiona Hile, Gig Ryan, Ann Vickery.

    Wasafiri is a major platform for international writing, and this is the first time it has featured either Australian or South African poetry. This special issue includes new work by thirteen Australian and South African poets, including Ali Cobby Eckermann, Kate Fagan, Antjie Krog, Michael Farrell, Natalie Harkin, Rustum Kozain, Ingrid de Kok and Mxolisi Nyezwa, as well as essays, interviews and reviews, bringing together 24 contributors from both countries. Together they explore the way in which poetic craft inhabits and unsettles the process of colonial conquest and its aftermath in their respective countries.

    Ben Etherington, the editor, will introduce the issue. All welcome, please RSVP to Ben Etherington (

  • Call for Papers: Association for the Study of Australian Literature 2017 Conference: Looking In, Looking Out: China and Australia

    11-14 July 2017, Melbourne

    The 2017 ASAL conference will ask its presenters to continue to think about Australian literature at home and in the world following on from recent conferences highlighting the worlding of Australian literature, the centrality of indigenous literature, and the changing imperatives and pressures in the teaching of Australian literature in Australia and beyond. This conference asks contributors to look inwards and outwards: examining the continuing fascination with place, context and locality in the face of the global.

    One of the highest concentrations of Australian Studies centres in the world is in China. This conference invites Chinese and Australian scholars of Australian literature to come together with other international scholars of Australian literature to examine the teaching and study of Australian literature in the context of this transnational interest.

    Offers for single 20 minute papers considering any and all aspects of ‘Australian’ literature broadly conceived are welcomed. Conference themes include:

    • Literature and landscape
    • Cross cultural teaching
    • Theorising diaspora
    • Theorising transcultural literary production
    • Teaching Australian literature in China/Australia/ the world
    • Chinese Australian writing
    • Children’s literature
    • Translation of Australian children’s books in China
    • The idea of place in Australian literature
    • Translating Australian literature
    • Literature in translation
    • Reading Chinese literature in Australia
    • Reception of Australian literature
    • Studying literature in China and Australia –similarities and differences

    Please submit the following to with subject heading “ASAL Conference”:

    1) Title of Paper

    2) 250 word abstract

    3) Name, position, organisation and brief biography (100 words maximum).

    Deadline for abstracts: 31 January 2017

    A PDF flyer is available here

  • Event: Project Launch: Literary Knowledge in the Making of English Teachers

    5:30– 7:00 PM, Fri, December 2, 2016, Frank Tate Room, Level 9, 100 Leicester Street, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne

    Which texts have had the greatest impact on your life?

    How many of these did you study at secondary school?

    What do you hope your students will get from your literature teaching?

    What keeps your interest in this area alive?

    Investigating Literary Knowledge in the Making of English Teachers is a groundbreaking four year national research project about how literary knowledge is understood and how literature is experienced by Australian students and teachers. The project is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant.

    Come along to the project launch to hear from the research team and discuss English teaching and the role of literature in subject English.

    For further information about the project please email Dr Lucy Buzacott (

    Please see the event page here for further details:

  • The Colin Roderick Award

    The 2016 Shortlist (and winner) for best book published in Australian which deals with any aspect of Australian life, in 2015, is now public:

    Jones, Gail. A Guide to Berlin. * Winner

    Niall, Brenda. Mannix.

    Harding, Leslie and Morgan, Kendrah. Modern Love.

    Collins, Christie. The End of Seeing.

    Kinsella, John. Crow’s Breath.

    Winton, Tim. Island Home.

    The Colin Roderick Award is dedicated to the memory of Professor Colin Roderick (1911 - 2000), founder of the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies based at James Cook University. Professor Roderick was a writer, editor, academic and educator. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Foundation, commemorated with a town-hall style symposium at James Cook University in which Professors Carole Ferrier and Leigh Dale, as well as Associate Professor Katherine Bode and writers Sarah Holland-Batt and Ariella Van Luyn addressed issue of the Stella Count and the profile of women writers in Australia.

    The Award, commenced in 1967 as $500 prize (generous for its day) is now worth $20,000. Coupled with the silver H.T. Priestley Medal it recognises the best original book of the previous year. In 2016, the judges read over 150 entries submitted from publishers across Australia, in the areas of history, fiction, literary journalism, poetry, biography and memoir, politics, and more.

    Publications entered for the Award may be in any field of Australian writing, whether verse or prose, but must be published in Australia (they may be printed elsewhere) and deal with an aspect of Australian life.

    For further details please see:

  • The 2016 ASAL Patron’s Lecture: Maggie MacKellar: My Brilliant Career and the Wobble of Fiction: a Journey along the Boundary between Autobiography and Fiction

    7 pm Tuesday 13 December 2016, Academy Gallery, Inveresk Campus, University of Tasmania

    In 1902 Miles Franklin's first and most famous novel was published. My Brilliant Career was a fictional autobiography and it was hard to say whether the book was more notorious because its author was a woman, whose heroine rejected a good marriage, or because many of the characters were uncomfortably recognizable for Miles' family and acquaintances. Miles scoffed at those unsophisticated readers who insisted her novel was not fiction. It would seem over one hundred years later in the age of the publishing success of Ferrante, Knausgaurd, Garner and Solstad not much has changed. Readers are still eager for the immediacy of the personal story, and writers continue to mine their personal histories for the seeds of larger stories. Having written both history and memoir, Maggie MacKellar is interested in the arbitrary boundaries between fiction and nonfiction. More broadly she asks what can fiction do that nonfiction can't, and why, in this age of multiple truths are such definitions even necessary?

    Maggie MacKellar lives on the east coast of Tasmania. She is the award winning author of two books on the history of settlement in Australia and Canada, Core of my Heart, My Country and Strangers in a Foreign Land, and two bestselling memoirs, When it Rains and How to Get There. Her essays have been published in Island, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper, The Good Weekend, and Best Australian Essays. Her first novel will be published by Random House in 2017.

  • Shortlist for the Voss Literary Prize 2016 announced

    Stephen Daisley Coming Rain

    Lisa Gorton The Life of Houses

    Gail Jones A Guide to Berlin

    Mireille Juchau The World Without Us

    Leah Kaminsky The Waiting Room

    Charlotte Wood The Natural Way of Things

    The Voss Literary Prize is an award dedicated to the memory of Vivian Robert de Vaux Voss (1930-1963), an historian and lover of literature from Emu Park in Central Queensland who studied History and Latin at the University of Sydney and modern languages at the University of Rome. His will stipulated that a literary award be established to reward the best novel from the previous year. The executors of the estate have appointed the Australian University Heads of English, the peak body for the study of English at Australian Universities, to oversee and judge the award.

  • Call for Papers: Living together on this Earth: Eco-Sustainable narratives and environmental concerns in English literature/s

    19 - 21 April 2017, University of Udine Contact: Giovanna Sgro, DILL – Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature, Comunicazione Formazione e Società, Università di Udine

    The ANDA association (Associazione Nazionale dei Docenti di Anglistica) is pleased to announce a three-day conference on “Living together on this earth: eco-sustainable narratives and environmental concerns in English literature/s” to be held at the University of Udine on 19-21 April 2017.

    The conference aims at exploring and discussing the place of eco-sustainable narratives in English literature/s and the way they may contribute to our understanding of environmental issues, stimulate positive thinking, create a caring economy and foster alternative perspectives for the future of our mother earth. If the eco-degradation of the planet is a plague which dramatically and increasingly afflicts the world today and, as such, it is at the very centre of the contemporary political and intellectual debate and of creative writing, environmental concerns, inextricably intertwined with questions of rights and identity, can be seen as a fil rouge running across many anglophone literary texts throughout the centuries. Believing in the power of the creative word to promote social change by encouraging mutual understanding and respect for the Other and for the environment, we welcome papers on ecosustainable narratives from all Anglophone areas and historical periods.

    Possible topics of discussion are:

    • space, place and the identity question;
    • the imagination of place (and the reinvention of an eco-sustainable world);
    • environmental (in)justice;
    • gender difference and environmental representations;
    • nature and culture;
    • ethics of relation between humans and animals;
    • environment (in)balance of power in the globalized world;
    • ecological concerns in local and glocal contexts;
    • literature and environmental studies;
    • bio-imperialism;
    • ecology and critical language awareness.

    Abstracts of not more than 500 words should be submitted for review by 15 January 2017 to:

    Prof. Antonella Riem (

    Prof. Maria Renata Dolce (

    Papers selected for inclusion will be notified by 2 February 2017. No registration fee required.

    For any further information please contact the conference organisers: Prof. Antonella Riem, ( Prof. Maria Renata Dolce, ( Dr. Loredana Salis (

  • The latest issue of the Journal of the European Association for Studies of Australia -JEASA 7.1 (2016) has recently been published

    You can find the links to individual articles, an interview, and book reviews under the following link:

  • Call For Papers: Excess, Desire and Twenty-First Century Women’s Writing

    8–10 February, 2017, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane

    Far from being in excess, are studies of gender in twenty-first century women’s writing dwindling, no longer “in vogue?” And yet, at the same time, we are told, public conversations about gender and sexuality are “too much,” “over the top,” out of bounds and out of touch. With a desire of adding to or redressing this feminist excess, Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation, in association with the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association, invites proposals for conference papers dealing with the notions of excess and desire as they are developed in twenty-first century women’s writing.

    Jennifer McWeeny reads two female characters in de Beauvoir’s L’Invitée (1943) as “one woman who has multiple, contradictory, excessive selves” (2012). Monique Wittig made a similar claim about the division of the I (j/e) in The Lesbian Body (1973), arguing that “[t]he bar … is a sign of excess. A sign that helps to imagine an excess of ‘I,’ an ‘I’ exalted;” Teresa de Lauretis adds that we might think about excess precisely “as a resistance to identification … [o]r of a dis-identification with femininity” (Lauretis 2007). French feminist theory frequently deals with female “symbolic excess,” disruption and desire (see also Rosemary Hennessy 1993,Mary Russo 1995, Karen Kopelson 2006): bel hooks interprets desire as “yearning” for a better world: post-racism, post-exploitation. We invite abstracts which consider excess and/or desire in these ways, or others, including (but not limited to):

    • Female embodiment, both abled and disabled
    • Jouissance and enjoyment
    • Food, eating, consumption
    • Speaking out, current feminist discourses in the public sphere and excess and/or desire as feminist critique
    • Excess(es) of trauma and violence
    • The grotesque and the carnivalesque
    • The excess or uncanniness of literary language
    • The excess of theory
    • Desire, yearning and capitalism’s negative excess(es)
    • Desire and revolution
    • The “proper” and the ladylike
    • Excess affect
    • Comparison with antecedents in the pre-21st Century
    • Cross-cultural/transnational excess and/or desire

    Confirmed attendees so far include Sneja Gunew, Susan Sheridan, Gina Wisker, Sanjukta Dasgupta, Devaleena Das.

    Send abstracts of 250 words (for 20 minute papers) and brief biography to Prof. Carole Ferrier ( and Dr Jessica Gildersleeve ( by 18 November 2016.


  • The Retrospect: Australian Women's Writing: A Symposium

    1.00 pm – 7.30 pm Thursday, 3 November 2016, State Library of NSW, Dixson Room

    In collaboration with the State Library of NSW and the Sydney Review of Books, the Writing and Society Research Centre are pleased to present a one-day symposium on Australian women's writing.

    The symposium brings together leading scholars and award-winning writers from across Australia to register and explore the contributions and legacy of nineteenth-century Australian women's writing.

    Speakers will consider a variety of Australian female writers publishing throughout the nineteenth century, as well as the broad range of genres within which these writers worked, including poetry, science fiction, the short story, and crime fiction.

    The symposium will also include a special session on women's children's literature and education both past and present in Australia with author and NSW Ambassador for the Stella Prize Schools Program, Emily Maguire.

    Confirmed speakers include: Prof. Susan K. Martin, (La Trobe), A/Prof. Tanya Dalziell (UWA), Prof. Elizabeth Webby (USyd), Dr. Lucy Sussex (La Trobe) and Dr. Anne Jamison (WSU). The symposium will conclude with a roundtable discussion to reflect on the ongoing influence and legacy of Australia's nineteenth-century women writers.

    The roundtable includes contemporary writers Fiona Wright, Jessica White and Maggie Mackellar who will discuss their own recent re-encounters with Barbara Baynton, Rosa Praed and Ada Cambridge for a forthcoming series of retrospective reviews in the Sydney Review of Books.

    Registration is free but places are limited. To register, please email:

    For further details please see:

  • ASAL 2017 Conference: Australia in/and/with China: Looking In, Looking Out.

    July 11 - 14, 2017, Melbourne (La Trobe, Deakin & Melbourne Universities)

    The ASAL 2017 conference, themed Australia in/and/with China: Looking In, Looking Out, will be held from July 11-14, 2017, in Melbourne with La Trobe, Deakin and Melbourne Universities.

  • Call for papers: ASALvets

    ASALvets will be meeting again on Kangaroo Island, from 3-7th April, 2017. We will fit our papers around trips to various important places, such as wineries and restaurants. Chris Carter will be arranging our accommodation and tours.

    General enquiries to Susan Lever ( Proposals for papers should be sent to Sue Sheridan (

    Papers and presentations are welcome on any subject, but you may like to consider something related to the area. Kangaroo Island is the setting for several nineteenth and twentieth-century novels, and its literary associations include the fact that Patrick White and Manoly Lascaris spent several summer holidays at American River with Geoffrey Dutton and his family. If you consider Kangaroo Island as part of the Southern Ocean coast, literary links could extend to novels of the Coorong and the Murray mouth (like Lucy Treloar’s recent Salt Creek, Colin Thiele’s Storm Boy, Nancy Cato’s All the Rivers Run). Other places with literary associations are David Unaipon’s birthplace, Raukkan (Point McLeay), Robe (Adam Lindsay Gordon’s residence for a while), Mount Gambier (where Catherine Martin grew up) and, nearer to Adelaide, Encounter Bay, Victor Harbour and Goolwa.

  • The Voss Literary Prize Longlist Announced

    Adrian Caesar: The Blessing

    Stephen Daisley: Coming Rain

    Lisa Gorton: The Life of Houses

    Gail Jones: A Guide to Berlin

    Myfanwy Jones: Leap

    Mireille Juchau: The World Without Us

    Leah Kaminsky: The Waiting Room

    Malcolm Knox: The Wonder Lover

    Ilka Tampke: Skin

    Charlotte Wood: The Natural Way of Things

    The Voss Literary Prize is an award dedicated to the memory of Vivian Robert de Vaux Voss (1930-1963), an historian and lover of literature from Emu Park in Central Queensland who studied History and Latin at the University of Sydney and modern languages at the University of Rome. His will stipulated that a literary award be established to reward the best novel from the previous year. The executors of the estate have appointed the Australian University Heads of English, the peak body for the study of English at Australian Universities, to oversee and judge the award. The award for the best novel from 2016 will be announced on 6 December at the annual meeting of the AUHE. The short list will be announced on 7 October 2016.

  • Event: Seminar Series: Francis Webb: God’s Fool: A Survey of this Australian Catholic poet’s work by his biographer.

    10am – 12 noon, 7 – 24 February, 2017, Level 5, 141 Harrington Street, Sydney.

    One two hour seminar each week for four weeks on Tuesday 7, 14, and 21 February and Friday 24 February, 2017 from 10am – 12 noon. With his characteristic capacity to engage and draw forth the best from the participants Michael will unveil the depth and insights of Francis Webb – the subject of his Doctorate. Webb has been acclaimed by Sir Herbert Read as being “One of the greatest poets of our time … one of the must unjustly neglected poets of the century.”

    Michael is Associate Professor in Literature at Australian Catholic University, has a special interest in the relationship between the Sacred in Literature and the Arts, has co-curated a number of recent conferences: Writing the Sacred (2102), Addressing the Sacred (2013) and Grounding the Sacred (2015). On 6 July 2017 at the ACU Strathfield campus Michael is hosting an event: Awakening the Sacred with Fr Lawrence Freeman, Rachael Kohn and Professors David Tacey and Sasha Grishin. Please assist us by registering before classes commence.

    Please see for further details.

    For more information please email:

  • Call for Papers: Writing from Below: Queer Science Fictions

    Incited by recent conversations and controversies concerning queers and queerness in popular science fiction, we are joined by special guest editor Nike Sulway (Rupetta, 2013; Dying in the First Person, 2016) for a special themed issue on queer science fiction. The future beckons with a queer fist, and we need you to write it.

    We seek critical and creative works in any publishable format or medium on any aspect of queer science fiction and/or its critique in art, society and culture. We seek to make visible the invisible queer pasts, presents, and futures of science fiction, to critically and creatively cultivate science fictional possibilities pressed into service for the coming of future actual and imagined queer bodies, lives, relationships, communities. Do not be limited. Like your forebears: Be brave. Play with form, style, and genre. Invent, demolish, reimagine. We welcome submissions from across (and outside of, against and up against) the disciplinary spectrum, inside and outside of conventional academia. Topics might include (but should not be limited to):

    • Representations of queerness in science fiction, across various mediums
    • The history of queer science fiction, its legacies and our inheritances
    • The future of queerness: what will queer be (if it persists) in future science fictions
    • Hope, hopelessness, and queer science fictional futures
    • Dystopian and utopian representations of futuristic queerness
    • Bodies and texts in science fiction: non-human queerness, post-humanist queerness, queerness without bodies
    • Dildos and deathrays: sex, sexuality and technology
    • Queers Destroy/Destory Science Fiction: canons and cannons

    We are open for submissions until 7 November 2016.

    We are also seeking reviews of contemporary science fiction film, television, theatre, live or recorded music, artwork or exhibition, etc. We typically publish longer review-essays of between 1000 and 2000 words, and again encourage generic and stylistic experimentation. If you’re interested in reviewing for Writing from Below, please contact our managing editor.

    Please visit the Writing from Below website for more detailed submission guidelines and procedures, and to submit your work:

    For more information, any editorial enquiries, or questions about unusual submissions, please contact our managing editor, Quinn Eades (

  • Call for Papers: Rencontres: A Gathering of Voices of the Vietnamese Diaspora

    1-2 December, 2016, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

    Literature of the Vietnamese diaspora in the English and French speaking worlds, as well as scholarship on Franco- and Anglophone Vietnamese writing, flourish for the most part in separation from one another. At present, no substantial work brings these voices into dialogue. This two day colloquium seeks to facilitate such an exchange through a gathering of writers and scholars of the Vietnamese diaspora, its literature and artistic production.

    We will host author readings by French, New Caledonian and Australian writers of Vietnamese origin in a public reception in the early evening on 1 December prior to an academic colloquium to take place all day on December 2.

    The following writers will present their work at the public lecture: Anna Moï, Thanh-Van Tran-Nhut, Marcelino Truong (France), Jean Vanmai (New Caledonia) Chi Vu, Hoa Pham (Australia).

    Topics of interest for scholarly papers include, but are in no way limited to:

    • Connections /comparisons between Vietnamese diasporic literatures and arts
    • Diaspora Literary Studies
    • 1st, 1.5 and 2nd generation writers of the diaspora
    • Narratives of refugee experience
    • Narratives of migration and exile
    • Trends in genre
    • Positions on “Vietnamese Francophone", "Vietnamese Australian", "Minority" or "Ethnic" literatures.
    • Post-colonial literature
    • The Vietnam War in literature and artistic production

    Please send an abstract of up to 250 words to Alex Kurman ( by 15 September.

  • Call for Papers: Independent Publishing Conference 2016: ‘Publishing: A Solitary and Social Enterprise’

    Wednesday 9 to Saturday 12 November at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne.

    All accepted presenters will be invited to submit content for possible publication by Monash University Publishing in a book of essays resulting from the conference. Reading is often a solitary act; publishing, on the other hand, is undeniably social. News of published work circulates through social networks, both digital and analogue, transforming publications into conversations. Distribution networks deliver books to bookstores and libraries that enable both access and engagement in those works. Simultaneously, the same works are delivered globally in digital form, connecting people who have never met in person. Though new technologies have enabled previously muted voices to be heard, the social ills of marginalisation and inequality remain.

    In Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson argues that national identity is built on a communal literary and historical past, a past constructed by the distribution of print material. Publishing, in this formulation, not only trumpets the development of social consciousness, broadcasting the contents of individual and collective minds, but also transforms those individuals and collectives by presenting to them the contents of their own and other minds. Published works reflect the societies that produce them, of course, but they also change societies, both their own and others.

    We are seeking papers that explore the social side of Australian publishing. We want to hear how publishing engages with both society and its constructs. How does publishing engage with and negotiate between different social spaces? How are contemporary social patterns, particularly the growth of online social spaces and hyper-connectivity, influencing the business practices of independent publishers?

    Although our preference is for papers that focus on independent publishing, presentations on all aspects of publishing are welcome. We also encourage papers from related disciplines, such as literary studies, creative writing, and media and communication studies. Possible topics might include:

    • Impacts and uses of social media and other online social spaces
    • Relationships, hierarchies and power in publishing
    • Sociological approaches to independent publishing
    • Social mores, ideology and censorship
    • Publishing and literary communities
    • Publishing and ‘imagined communities’
    • Publishing and publics
    • Publishing as construction of cultures, sub-cultures and counter-cultures
    • Representation of social and political movements in literature
    • Libraries and bookshops as social spaces
    • Author tours, book launches, readings, literary festivals, and other social events

    The 2016 Independent Publishing Conference will run from Wednesday 9 to Saturday 12 November at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne. Academic panels will be held on Thursday 10 November.

    Extended Deadline: 15 August 2016

    We invite proposals by Monday 15 August 2016. Proposals should contain an abstract of 200-300 words. Please include your paper title, institutional affiliation, bio-note and contact details in the abstract. Submissions and enquiries should be sent to Millicent Weber (

    Please see the website for details:

  • Call For Papers: JASAL special issue: Australian Literary Networks

    This issue of JASAL replaces the usual conference issue for 2015 (In 2015 the annual ASAL conference was incorporated into the very successful “Literary Networks” Convention at the University of Wollongong).

    We invite submissions on the theme of literary networks where a network is understood very broadly as a group or system of interconnected people or things. This may mean networks which are exclusively ‘Australian’ as well as those which extend outside the parameters of the national literature; networks which connect Australian writers, readers and texts with writers, readers and texts from other traditions and locations.

    Essays may consider literature’s engagement with any of the following:

    • Acoustics, aesthetics, the visual
    • Affect, emotion, contagion
    • Animals, environment, space/place
    • Appetite, consumption, food
    • Communities of creative practice
    • Communication, technology, transport, trade
    • Festivals, prizes, publishing
    • Film, media, new media, television
    • Gender, sexuality, corporeality
    • Indigeneity, ethnicity, citizenship, diaspora
    • Institutions: writers, students, scholars
    • Neurology, cognition, the body
    • Reading, reception, research

    We welcome submissions of papers developed from the 2015 conference, but we are also interested in new work on the theme. Essays developed from postgraduate papers presented at the conference will be eligible for be considered for the 2016 AD Hope prize for Best Postgraduate Essay.

    Please submit via the JASAL site by 30 June 2016:

    Please prefix your paper title with ALN15.

    Postgraduate essays to be considered for the AD Hope prize, should be prefixed ADH15.

    For further details, please contact the editors, Brigitta Olubas and/or Tony Simoes da Silva

  • Call for Papers: The Literature of Remembering: tracing the limits of memoir

    The genre of memoir is read so widely that it now ‘rivals fiction in popularity and critical esteem and exceeds it in cultural currency’ (Couser 2012, p.3). This call for papers urges scholars from around the globe to find and describe the practice of writing and reading memoir within their own borders as a cultural phenomenon. How does it differ from country to country? How has it evolved? What are the ethical constraints of different countries? Who are each nation's unique memoirists?

    We aim to compile a comprehensive and academically entertaining snapshot of the genre. There is a long and deep history of memoir, most agree, that begins with Saint Augustine’s Confessions. Scholars concur that the contemporary surge in memoir as a favoured genre began in the mid-1990s, with Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, and it has kept building in momentum. Not only are well-known authors rendering their memoirs to acclaim, but seemingly ordinary people finding themselves in extraordinary circumstances, are finding an audience. Sportspeople, politicians, sex workers, trauma victim/survivors, are telling and sharing their stories as a mode of knowing the self.

    Sue Joseph, Bunty Avieson and Fiona Giles, the editors, are seeking scholarly essays for this book (of up to 300 pages) to be published in 2017. We are hoping to work with a major international publisher towards this end. While we welcome papers from all countries, submissions must be in English.

    Section One: The Memoir in History: life-writing throughout the ages:

    Chapters here could focus on:

    • Saint Augustine
    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    • Mary MacLane and the sex memoir
    • Holocaust memoir
    • War memoir

    Section Two: The ethical/theoretical dimensions of memoir: political, fabricated, celebrity:

    Chapters here might look at:

    • The PR of celebrity memoir
    • Consent: whose story is it?
    • Memoir writing about the dead
    • Competing memoir
    • Is memoir literary journalism?
    • Fake memoir

    Section Three: The practice of memoir writing:

    Chapters here might examine:

    • Parental: patriography; matriography
    • Pathography: narratives of illness and death
    • Mis-mem
    • Sports memoir
    • Personal trauma narrative
    • Political memoir
    • Ghosting the memoir
    • Erotica: kiss and tell memoir
    • Travel memoir
    • Memoir and comedy
    • Nobody memoirs

    These subjects are neither prescriptive nor exhaustive. They merely indicate a possible range of topics that might create new ways of understanding the genre. There are clearly many other equally important routes to explore.

    Please send 200-word chapter abstracts to Sue Joseph at by July 30, 2016. Selected contributions (5-6,000 words) will be confirmed by September 30, 2016. First copy will be due by February 30, 2017. The editors will send out for peer review, then return the copy with any suggested changes by April 30, 2017, with the final copy deadline of May 30, 2017.

  • Call for Papers: EASA Conference: Australia–South Asia: Contestations and Remonstrances: Deadline extended

    26-28 January 2017, University of Liège

    This literary and cultural studies conference, to be held at the University of Liège under the auspices of the European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA) and the local postcolonial studies centre CEREP, will seek to draw attention to the multifarious encounters which have occurred between South Asia and Australia from the nineteenth century to modern times. We are particularly interested in papers that tackle aspects of the epistemological differend that may have informed these encounters and their various manifestations, as well as the possibly unsettling impact which specific South Asian perspectives may have had, or still have, on the delineation of an alternative historical narrative for Australia, also in terms of the narrativisation of Aboriginal oppression since European settlement.

    We are proud to announce that the distinguished novelist Chandani Lokuge has confirmed her participation as a plenary guest speaker. Possible questions pertaining to the conference theme that participants may wish to consider could include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • What are the tensions, discontents and challenges, both old and new, that characterize the relationship between the two regions?
    • How do cultural texts (including literature, film, music, and sporting practices, among other discourses or activities) grapple with the changing relationship between South Asia and Australia in the context of global capitalism?
    • How do cultural texts imagine (or reimagine) the historicity of the ties between the two regions as well as their future?
    • In what ways have Australian and South Asian (mis)readings of each other been encouraged (or, conversely, mitigated) by a common (or not so common) experience of imperialism?
    • How have specific instances of oppression and resistance been contextualized and represented, possibly with reference to Aboriginal histories?
    • How are South Asia and its citizens currently represented by Australia’s white settler culture, notably in today’s contexts of large-scale immigration and the so-called refugee crisis?
    • What are the linguistic dilemmas or difficulties besetting South Asian–Australian cultural intersections, as represented in diasporic and/or in white settler corpuses?

    We welcome abstracts for 20-minute papers on literature, film, popular culture, Aboriginal studies and sociology as well as other related fields of inquiry. Note that, while the ‘South Asian’ region is usually limited (as by the Encyclopedia Britannica) to ‘the Indo-Gangetic plain, peninsular India, and Sri Lanka’, abstracts relating to South East Asia will also be expected. Please email abstracts of no more than 300 words and a 100-word bio-note to the conference email address ( by 15 May 2016.

    Notification of acceptance/rejection of abstracts will be sent by 1 June 2016. All accepted participants will be expected to become members of EASA. Details of EASA membership are available on the association’s website at this address:

    The conference registration fee is EUR 80,00 (and EUR 40,00 for postgraduate students). Postgraduate participation is encouraged and a competition for the best postgraduate paper will be organized. Delegates will be invited to register separately for an optional conference dinner and/or a cultural group outing (to be determined). Selections of the conference papers will be published as a special issue of EASA’s in-house peer-reviewed international journal JEASA or as a volume of essays to be released by the academic press of the University of Liège. Please check the conference webpage at

  • Cultural Studies in Australia and China

    7 July 2016, Shanghai Jiaotong University

    A proposal has arisen from discussions with Professor Peng Qinglong of Shanghai Jiaotong University to hold a one-day symposium/workshop on 7 July to discuss work in cultural/media studies in China and Australia and the potential for building stronger relations and collaboration between researchers in the two countries. At present there is little contact between Chinese cultural/media studies scholars and Chinese Australian Studies scholars, and there is an enormous amount of potential for putting Australian cultural/media studies scholars in closer contact with their Chinese counterparts. One proposal to be discussed is the establishment of a Sino-Australian Cultural Studies Association.

    Professor Peng is keen to involve Australian scholars and researchers in the event and he has approval from his university and funds to cover accommodation and local costs. It is not likely to have formal papers but rather reports on current work and brainstorming about the potential of such an Association. Those attending would also have the possibility of attending the Chinese Australian Studies Association conference which is taking place in Beijing, at Peking University, immediately afterwards, 8-10 July. Please see the website for details:

    If you’re interested in attending the event, or interested in following developments but unable to attend this particular event, please contact David Carter (

  • Australian Studies in China

    Have you ever wondered what to do with all of those Australian journals on your bookshelf?

    ASAL aims to reach out to Chinese scholars by helping to establish or consolidate print-based research collections, particularly journals and magazines such as Australian Literary Studies, Journal of Australian Studies, Meanjin, Southerly, Quadrant etc.

    If you have runs of these journals and magazines that you wish to donate to a Chinese Australian Studies Centre, please contact ASAL Treasurer, Roger Osborne (, who will arrange for their collection and distribution.

  • Teaching Australian literature?: Help keep Aust Lit up to date

    AustLit collects information about the teaching of Australian literature texts at universities and tertiary institutions around Australia and internationally, and links to this information from the work and author records.

    At a glance, AustLit tells you:

    • how, where, and in what context, a particular text is taught
    • what degree or course the text is part of
    • which Australian texts are taught with non-Australian texts in thematically driven courses, such as nineteenth century women’s writing, popular fictions, eco-criticism, drama, life writing, etc.

    So, if you’re teaching Australian texts in your university class, please send AustLit the:

    • titles of set works
    • course code and course title
    • contact details

    to or