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Issue Details: First known date: 2019... 2019 There Is No Axe' : Identity, Story and a Sombrero
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'In a 2016 Meanjin essay one of this country’s most celebrated writers, Alexis Wright, asked us a fundamental question in relation to storytelling and the role of the writer. ‘What happens when you tell somebody else’s story?’ she asked, in a thoughtful piece of writing that did not demand that white Australia not engage with the story of Aboriginal people (as some have concluded). In addressing the question, Wright asked of each of us, Aboriginal and ‘settler’ both, that we give deeper consideration to the act of telling stories and take greater responsibility for the decisions we make as writers. We may make a choice to respond to individual creative impulses, or choose to restrain ourselves from acting on those impulses in favour of making decisions of greater cultural value. Wright was clear about the consequences of the stories of Aboriginal people being told by others: ‘We do not get much of a chance to say what is right or wrong about the stories told on our behalf … it just happens, and we try to deal with the fallout.’' (Introduction)


  • Editor's note: This was originally presented at the State Library of Victoria in November 2018 as the inaugural Writers Victoria the State of the (Writing) Nation oration.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Meanjin vol. 78 no. 1 Autumn 2019 16531898 2019 periodical issue

    'We were just a little surprised when the Australia Council said yes. But then a year later—as you were—they said no.

    'Three years back, when the council redrew the map of arts funding, Meanjin lost its rolling three-year key organisation grant, a pattern that had allowed if not luxury then a degree of certainty. Money was the root of it all: the council’s budget had been gutted and cuts had to be made. Whatever discomforting ripples were felt through opera, ballet and theatre companies had become a toxic trickle by the time the tide of change made its way down the funding food chain to bodies whose business was literature.' (Jonathan Green, Introduction)

    pg. 26-32
Last amended 16 May 2019 06:07:12
26-32 There Is No Axe' : Identity, Story and a Sombrerosmall AustLit logo Meanjin