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Australian Fiction (58320 )
Semester 2 / 2010


A Happy Story Helen Garner , 1985 single work short story (taught in 1 units)
— Appears in: Postcards from Surfers : Stories 1985; (p. 103-106) My Hard Heart : Selected Fiction 1998; (p. 289-291) The Penguin Book of the Road 2008; (p. 370-374)
y separately published work icon The Summer Exercises Ross Gibson , Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2009 Z1553941 2009 single work novel (taught in 3 units)

'A civilian chaplain records whispered confessions and low urgings into a notebook during his summer tenure at Central Street Police Station. His Summer Exercises are habitual - five times a day - his terseness can generate feelings so sharp that sometimes a great notion gets pared clean with a meagre swatch of syllables.

'Constructing this notebook of a sharp observer, author Ross Gibson builds a world: Sydney in 1946 - sordid and bruised after decades of depredations. A war will take your innards out. In The Summer Exercises, Gibson uses approximately 175 carefully selected black and white photographs from the collection of the Justice & Police Museum taken during the years immediately after World War II.

'These photographs, generated by NSW Police in the course of their investigations between 1945-1960, form a visual reference for richly imagined and experimental storytelling to take place. Anchored in the realities of 1940s Sydney police investigative procedure, the work is an artistic re-invention of history as it happened.' (Publisher's blurb)

y separately published work icon Bush Studies Barbara Baynton , London : Duckworth , 1902 Z820571 1902 selected work short story (taught in 12 units)

'Bush Studies is famous for its stark realism—for not romanticising bush life, instead showing all its bleakness and harshness.

'Economic of style, influenced by the great nineteenth-century Russian novelists, Barbara Baynton’s short-story collection presents the Australian bush as dangerous and isolating for the women who inhabit it.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

y separately published work icon Tirra Lirra by the River Jessica Anderson , South Melbourne : Macmillan , 1978 Z300858 1978 single work novel (taught in 19 units)

'Liza used to say that she saw her past life as a string of roughly-graded balls, and so did Hilda have a linear conception of hers, thinking of it as a track with detours. But for some years now I have likened mine to a globe suspended in my head, and ever since the shocking realisation that waste is irretrievalbe, I have been careful not to let this globe spin to expose the nether side on which my marriage has left its multitude of images.

'Nora Porteous has spent most of her life waiting to escape. Fleeing from her small-town family and then from her stifling marriage to a mean-spirited husband, Nora arrives finally in London where she creates a new life for herself as a successful dressmaker.

'Now in her seventies, Nora returns to Queensland to settle into her childhood home.

'But Nora has been away a long time, and the people and events of her past are not at all like she remembered them. And while some things never change, Nora is about to discover just how selective her 'globe of memory' has been.

'Tirra Lirra by the River is a moving account of one woman's remarkable life, a beautifully written novel which displays the lyrical brevity of Jessica Anderson's award-winning style.' (Publication summary)


This subject combines the in-depth study of Australian literature with the practice of literature. It examines key tropes in Australian fiction over the past 100 years with particular emphasis on 'the city', 'the outback', and 'the road'. It also explores the ways in which indigenousness, diaspora, class and gender have influenced and continue to shape Australia's literary identity.

This subject is being taught for the first time semester 2, 2010 as part of the new 'Reading Australia' submajor. Texts yet to be finalised.


Three pieces of assessment including a major project of 3000 words.