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Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL)

(Status : Public)
  • Hydra, Greece
  • Half the Perfect World: Post-war Literary Expatriation and Sociability

    Monday 26th of September – Wednesday 28th of September 2016

    Bratsera Hotel, Hydra, Greece

  • Convenors

    Paul Genoni, Curtin University (

    Tanya Dalziell, The University of Western Australia (

  • Program

    Draft conference program is available for download.

  • Overview

    This conference, taking its title from a Leonard Cohen song about the Aegean (Greek) island of Hydra, explores the theme of post-war literary sociability in a spectacular location where it was famously practiced.

    From 1955-1964 Hydra was home to the Australian authors George Johnston and Charmian Clift, who played a central role in the island’s expatriate community. Its ‘members’ at various times included Australians Sidney and Cynthia Nolan, Cedric and Pat Flower, Nancy Dignan, Rodney Hall, and Mungo MacCallum, and numerous non- Australians including New Zealand novelist Redmond Wallis; Norwegian novelist Axel Jensen and his wife Marianne; Greek-American painter Demetri Gassoumis and his wife Carolyn; American queer novelist Gordon Merrick and his partner Charles Hulse; American photographer James Burke; English journalist and author Christopher Booker, and Canadian poet and aspiring novelist and songwriter, Leonard Cohen.

    This conference will present new interpretations of post-World War II expatriation, cultural endeavour and social exchange. While papers on the Hydra expatriates have been particularly encouraged, we have also welcomed contributions that consider other aspects of post-World War II literary and artistic expatriation, and/or that focus on the emergence of increasingly transnational creative communities and economies, both real and imagined; counter-cultures of literary or artistic endeavour; literary utopianism; ‘islanded’ creativity; and other aspects of post-war literary and cultural sociability.

  • Registration

    Delegates (Conference Attendance, Welcome Event, Conference Dinner, Museum Visit) $260

    Guests (Welcome Event, Conference Dinner, Museum Visit) $100