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Issue Details: First known date: 2015... 2015 Giving This Country a Memory : Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'This collection is a collaborative cross-racial project that brings Anne Brewster, a white scholar of Aboriginal literature, into conversation with Aboriginal writers about a range of issues that arise directly from their work. Brewster explores the various contexts in which these writers write and in which non-Aboriginal readers read Aboriginal literature. The interviews are accompanied by a survey essay (by Brewster) on each writer’s work which aims to introduce readers to the main themes and issues of each writer.

'The book represents a range of writers. It includes highly acclaimed writers whose works are widely recognised (Kim Scott, Doris Pilkington Garimara, Melissa Lucashenko) and other writers whose works are on the ascendancy (Romaine Moreton and Jeanine Leane). Leane and Moreton have attracted some scholarly attention - for example by being set on educational syllabi and having scholarly work published on it – and their reputation continues to grow nationally and internationally. The book includes interviews with a number of emerging writers whose work is powerful and compelling but has not yet been taken up widely either because it is new (Marie Munkara) or because there has been a lack of confidence on the part of readers in taking up authors outside the present canon (Alf Taylor).

'The interviews make a unique contribution to the understanding of Aboriginal literature and of how these writers developed as writers. While many Aboriginal writers write in part for their own communities, they have expressed their strong desire that their work circulate widely among non-indigenous audiences. This book will facilitate the dissemination of Aboriginal literature and will make use of the valuable literary and cultural resources of the writers themselves in order to enrich and expand the understanding of that literature.

'In these interviews the writers talk about the development of Australian indigenous literature and the conditions which have given rise to their writing. They talk about their childhoods, family histories and the regions in which they have lived. They talk about their education and the books they have read; about the importance of humour, the reasons for their choice of a particular genre and what aesthetic and cultural work they see it as undertaking. They talk about how they conceive of their audiences and issues pertaining to cross-racial scholarship. These are all issues which allow readers to understand their work better. This understanding is further enhanced by the survey essays on each writer’s work.

'Aboriginal literature is a growing field with a rapidly expanding global audience. Unfortunately many students and scholars read only the most recognised and acclaimed writers and betray some hesitation in approaching newer authors. While this book represents three widely recognised writers, it widens the canon of Aboriginal literature by introducing readers to four lesser-known but equally important writers.

'Non-indigenous readers are sometimes unsure about the ethics of cross-racial reading and research - how to approach Aboriginal literature, how to read it, teach it and write about it. By providing rare and valuable insight into the writers’ creative process, into the ways in which they conceive of their audiences and readerships, and into their aspirations for cross-racial understanding, the interviews clarify uncertainties and provide direction for non-Aboriginal readers. They contribute to widespread discussions about the ethics of cross-racial reading, research and scholarship. They provide a timely addition to cultural debates within the public sphere beyond the academy and enable us to better comprehend the turbulent times in which we live.

'This book serves to broaden and deepen current scholarship on the literary works but also to introduce readers to writers they might not have read before. They are both accessible and scholarly. The book also fills a gap by focusing areas of that has been neglected. For example while Lucashenko’s novel Steam Pigs has attracted a lot of critical attention, her second adult novel Hard Yards remains largely unnoticed, a situation this book aims to correct.

'Giving this Country a Memory is an important book for all literature and Australasian collections and well as those of global Indigenous literature.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Notes

  • Discusses the following authors:

    Chapter 1: Kim Scott

    Chapter 2: Romaine Moreton

    Chapter 3: Jeanine Leane

    Chapter 4: Melissa Lucashenko

    Chapter 5: Marie Munkara

    Chapter 6: Alf Taylor

    Chapter 7: Doris Pilkington Garimara

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Amherst, New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Cambria Press ,
      2015 .
      image of person or book cover 1610555571871362681.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 300p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Launched at Gleebooks on Saturday 5 December 2015
      ISBN: 9781604979114
      Series: y separately published work icon Cambria Australian Literature Series Susan Lever (editor), Cambria Press (publisher), Amherst : Cambria Press , 2008- Z1869108 2008 series - publisher criticism

      The Cambria Australian Literature Series focuses on critical studies of writing by Australians, with a particular emphasis on contemporary Australian fiction. In recent decades Australian fiction publishing has outstripped critical study, with the work of many important writers receiving little more critical attention than newspaper and journal reviews, with occasional articles in scholarly journals or collections by diverse critics. This series gives an opportunity for sustained consideration of a writer’s full career. In each book, an individual critic engages with the work of a writer, assisting other scholars, students and general readers in understanding its complexities. Each book seeks to find an appropriate, original and lively approach to the writer in question. In particular, the series places the writing not only within Australian culture but also in the context of international developments in the novel.

      Source: Publisher's website.

Works about this Work

Anne Brewster, Giving This Country a Memory: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia Michael R. Griffiths , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 17 no. 2 2018;

'From Barthes to Foucault, declarations of the death of the author have been crucial in defetishizing the singular authority of a work’s originator as the guarantor of that text’s meaning. Writers from colonised backgrounds, however, have often worried about the erasure of identity and cultural specificity implicit in this nonetheless crucial caveat. Postcolonial theorists who have nuanced or challenged the claim of authorial death/absence include Edward Said in his Beginnings: Intention and Method and Édouard Glissant across multiple topoi within his oeuvre.i If the modernist author had to die to reopen the possibility of multiple interpretations, the Indigenous subject has often been absented in advance from any role in the interpretive paradigm surrounding their work. Aboriginal authors in Australia have been conscious of such limits of the ‘death of the author’ thesis for some time, but it seems that this past year heralded a new attention and reorientation in relation to this question. In her keynote, delivered at the opening of the 2015 ASAL Conference, held at UNSW Canberra, Melissa Lucashenko boldly stated: the ‘Aboriginal author is not dead.’ Non-Indigenous scholars of Aboriginal literature will, it seems, need to be increasingly self-conscious of the ethics of methodology today and it is into this situation that Anne Brewster’s new work inserts itself in a timely fashion.' (Introduction)

August in Nonfiction Sarah Burnside , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , August 2016;

— Review of Thicker Than Water Cal Flyn , 2016 single work biography ; Giving This Country a Memory : Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia Anne Brewster , 2015 multi chapter work interview ; Wasted : A Story of Alcohol, Grief and a Death in Brisbane Elspeth Muir , 2016 single work autobiography ; A Long Time Coming : Essays on Old Age Melanie Joosten , 2016 selected work essay
Anne Brewster, Giving This Country a Memory: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia Cornelis Martin Renes , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Journal of the European Association for Studies on Australia , vol. 7 no. 1 2016;

— Review of Giving This Country a Memory : Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia Anne Brewster , 2015 multi chapter work interview
August in Nonfiction Sarah Burnside , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , August 2016;

— Review of Thicker Than Water Cal Flyn , 2016 single work biography ; Giving This Country a Memory : Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia Anne Brewster , 2015 multi chapter work interview ; Wasted : A Story of Alcohol, Grief and a Death in Brisbane Elspeth Muir , 2016 single work autobiography ; A Long Time Coming : Essays on Old Age Melanie Joosten , 2016 selected work essay
Anne Brewster, Giving This Country a Memory: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia Cornelis Martin Renes , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Journal of the European Association for Studies on Australia , vol. 7 no. 1 2016;

— Review of Giving This Country a Memory : Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia Anne Brewster , 2015 multi chapter work interview
Anne Brewster, Giving This Country a Memory: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia Michael R. Griffiths , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 17 no. 2 2018;

'From Barthes to Foucault, declarations of the death of the author have been crucial in defetishizing the singular authority of a work’s originator as the guarantor of that text’s meaning. Writers from colonised backgrounds, however, have often worried about the erasure of identity and cultural specificity implicit in this nonetheless crucial caveat. Postcolonial theorists who have nuanced or challenged the claim of authorial death/absence include Edward Said in his Beginnings: Intention and Method and Édouard Glissant across multiple topoi within his oeuvre.i If the modernist author had to die to reopen the possibility of multiple interpretations, the Indigenous subject has often been absented in advance from any role in the interpretive paradigm surrounding their work. Aboriginal authors in Australia have been conscious of such limits of the ‘death of the author’ thesis for some time, but it seems that this past year heralded a new attention and reorientation in relation to this question. In her keynote, delivered at the opening of the 2015 ASAL Conference, held at UNSW Canberra, Melissa Lucashenko boldly stated: the ‘Aboriginal author is not dead.’ Non-Indigenous scholars of Aboriginal literature will, it seems, need to be increasingly self-conscious of the ethics of methodology today and it is into this situation that Anne Brewster’s new work inserts itself in a timely fashion.' (Introduction)

Last amended 20 Apr 2018 08:46:47
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