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Brigitta Olubas Brigitta Olubas i(A35058 works by)
Gender: Female
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1 y separately published work icon Shirley Hazzard : A Writing Life Brigitta Olubas , Peter Rose (interviewer), Southbank : Australian Book Review, Inc. , 2023 25906490 2023 single work podcast interview

'Shirley Hazzard is widely regarded as one of Australia’s finest novelists, even though she published only four novels during her long lifetime. Now, Professor Brigitta Olubas from the University of New South Wales has written the first major literary biography of the writer in Shirley Hazzard: A writing life (Virago/Farrar, Straus and Giroux). In this week’s ABR podcast, ABR Editor Peter Rose interviews Professor Olubas about her study of the ‘complex, alluring, peripatetic artist’. Listen to the interview here.' (Production summary)

1 5 y separately published work icon Shirley Hazzard : A Writing Life Brigitta Olubas , New York (City) : Farrar Straus and Giroux , 2022 25261970 2022 single work biography

'The first biography of Shirley Hazzard, the author of The Transit of Venus and a writer of "shocking wisdom" and "intellectual thrill" (The New Yorker).

'Shirley Hazzard: A Writing Life tells the extraordinary story of a great modern novelist. Brigitta Olubas, Hazzard's authorized biographer, has drawn, with great subtlety and understanding, on her fiction (itself largely based on Hazzard's own experience); on an extensive archive of letters, diaries, and notebooks; and on the memories of surviving friends and colleagues to create this resonant portrait of an exceptional woman.

'This biography explores the distinctive times of Hazzard's life, from her youth and middle age to her widowhood and years of decline, and traces the complex and intricate processes of self-fashioning that lay beneath Hazzard's formidable, beguiling presence. Olubas shows us the places of Hazzard's life, of which she wrote with characteristic lyricism: her childhood in Depression-era Sydney; her youth in postwar Hong Kong, New Zealand, and London; her years in New York in the 1950s, working at the United Nations and The New Yorker. Olubas also describes Hazzard's long marriage to the writer Francis Steegmuller and their deep involvement in postwar Naples and Capri. Rare photographs from Hazzard's collection and elsewhere accompany the text.

'Hazzard was the last of a generation of selftaught writers, devotees of a great literary tradition, and her depth of perception and expressive gifts have earned her iconic status. Brigitta Olubas has brought her brilliantly alive, enhancing and deepening our understanding of the singular woman who created some of the most enduring fiction of the past sixty years.

'As Dwight Garner wrote in The New York Times, "Hazzard's stories feel timeless because she understands, as she writes in one of them: 'We are human beings, not rational ones.'" Here, in Shirley Hazzard, is the story of a remarkable human being.'  (Publication summary)

1 1 y separately published work icon Antigone Kefala : New Australian Modernities Elizabeth McMahon (editor), Brigitta Olubas (editor), Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2021 23256375 2021 anthology criticism

'Antigone Kefala is one of the most significant of the Australian writers who have come from elsewhere; it would be difficult to overstate the significance of her life and work in the culture of this nation. Over the last half-century, her poetry and prose have reshaped and expanded Australian literature and prompted us to re-examine its premises and capacities. From the force of her poetic imagery and the cadences of her phrases and her sentences to the large philosophical and historical questions she poses and to which she responds, Kefala has generated in her writing new ways of living in time, place and language. Across six collections of poetry and five prose works, themselves comprising fiction, non-fiction, essays and diaries, she has mapped the experience of exile and alienation alongside the creativity of a relentless reconstitution of self. Kefala is also a cultural visionary. From her rapturous account of Sydney as the place of her arrival in 1959, to her role in developing diverse writing cultures at the Australia Council, to the account of her own writing life amongst a community of friends and artists in Sydney Journals (2008), she has reimagined the ways we live and write in Australia.'

Source : publisher's blurb

1 “Only for Love” : Expatriatism, Amateur Reading and Shirley Hazzard’s Post-war World Brigitta Olubas , 2020 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 20 no. 2 2020;

'Alongside Shirley Hazzard’s largely European literary coordinates are also to be found traces of other more obscure figures, and of her persistent return to other sites and cultures. If the biographical narrative of her expatriatism arcs from Sydney to Manhattan via Naples and Capri, then Hiroshima, which she visited briefly in 1947 at age 16, and which reappears in her writing as a chronotope of post-nuclear modernity, is a trace of other possible expatriate trajectories. This essay examines this chronotope through and in light of Hazzard’s long-standing friendship with two US-born scholars of Japanese literature: Ivan Morris, one of the founders of US Amnesty International, and Donald Keene, a Japanese citizen resident in Tokyo until his death in 2019, and will examine the ways these friendships and the careers of these two fellow writers, both also expatriate for much of their lives, bore on Hazzard’s understanding of her own place in the world.' (Publication abstract)

1 6 y separately published work icon The Collected Stories of Shirley Hazzard Shirley Hazzard : Collected Stories Shirley Hazzard , Brigitta Olubas (editor), Sydney : Virago , 2020 19857977 2020 selected work short story

'The collected short fiction of a master prose stylist

'Twenty-eight works of short fiction in all, Shirley Hazzard's Collected Stories is a work of staggering breadth and talent. Here, Hazzard's short-story collections, Cliffs of Fall and People in Glass Houses, are presented in their entirety alongside uncollected stories, concluding with two previously unpublished stories found in typescript among her papers.

'Taken together, Hazzard's short stories are masterworks in telescoping focus, "at once surgical and symphonic" (The New Yorker), ranging from quotidian struggles between beauty and pragmatism to satirical sendups of international bureaucracy, from the Italian countryside to suburban Connecticut. In an interview, Hazzard once said, "The idea that somebody has expressed something, in a supreme way, that it can be expressed; this is, I think, an enormous feature of literature." Her stories themselves are a supreme evocation of writing at its very best: probing, uncompromising, and deeply felt.' (Publication summary)

1 “Where We Are Is Too Hard” : Refugee Writing and the Australian Border as Literary Interface Dorothy Green Memorial Lecture Brigitta Olubas , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 19 no. 2 2019;

'Over the past decade Australia’s policies on border protection have achieved a certain dark notoriety, in their often-vexed (although perhaps not vexed enough) reception both at home and abroad. While there has been extensive, if not necessarily efficacious, public debate about the legal and political dimensions of these policies, together with some coverage of their human, most often medical, consequences for refugees and asylum-seekers, there has been less opportunity for us to attend more closely to the statements and self-expression of those who have been caught up most directly and intensely in those policies.

'Testimonial accounts by detainees from Australian offshore centres are now beginning to be published and made available to the wider Australian public, as in the 2017 publication, They Cannot Take the Sky: Stories From Detention, (ed Michael Green, André Dao et al) along with manifestos, such as that by Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish journalist, currently held on Manus, who has been detained since 2013. In addition to these, in 2017, Island magazine published “Chanting of Crickets, Ceremonies of Cruelty: A Mythic Topography of Manus Prison,” an extract from Boochani’s forthcoming book, No Friend But The Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison, described by the publishers as “a lyric first-hand account” of his experiences.

'These works – testimonials, manifesto, poetic novel/memoir – don’t simply provide an account of the lives and experiences of the refugees and asylum seekers; they also delineate a relationship with the Australian public. They imagine or posit a dialogue with us. In this paper, I want to propose that we approach the dialogue being proposed by the asylum-seeker writings as a mode of literary engagement. To put this another way, I’m proposing that these works demand attentive reading from us, not only in our responsibilities as citizens but also and most particularly as literary readers or scholars. In thinking about literary reading as a point of necessary public interface, I am responding to line of thought proposed by Boochani in his resonant account of the task of writing the truth of refugee detainment in his essay in They Cannot Take the Sky, where he argues that literary language is fundamental to the expression of difficult truths: “I publish a lot of stories in the newspapers and in the media about Manus, but people, really, they cannot understand our condition, not in journalistic language. Where we are is too hard. I think only in literary language can people understand our life and our condition.”' (Publication abstract)

1 'The Chinese Translation and Reception of Elizabeth Harrower's' The Watch Tower Xinpei Yu , Brigitta Olubas , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Southerly , December vol. 78 no. 3 2018; (p. 206-221)

'The larger history of Australia's relationship with China over the past century includes a substantial story of cultural relations and understandings between the two countries. And central to this story is another, of scholarly exchange around literature, conducted through the medium of translation, with all the extentuation, complication and delay that attends the freighting of words, phrases and expressions across the bounds of different languages. This essay considers the development of Australian literary studies in China, as it grew from a condition of estrangement to one of comprehensive interconnectivity in this period, through the story of the translation of one book: Elizabeth Harrower's 'The Watch Tower' (1966). (Publication abstract)

1 [Review] Towards Light and Other Poems Brigitta Olubas , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 78 no. 2 2018; (p. 216-221)

— Review of Towards Light and Other Poems Sarah Day , 2018 selected work poetry
1 Conjuring Brigitta Olubas , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 401 2018; (p. 51)

'Almost twelve years after her death, Bronwyn Oliver (1959–2006) remains one of Australia’s best-known sculptors; her artistic legacy supported by the prolific outputs of an intense and high-profile studio practice across three decades, by public, private, and corporate commissions, and by a string of prizes, awards, and fellowships. She is admired now, as she was throughout her career, as an artist of signal intellectual depth and aesthetic complexity, her work carrying appeal across a broad public.' (Introduction)

1 Networks and Genealogies : Tracing Connections, Inventions, and Reflections across Australian Writing Brigitta Olubas , Antonio Jose Simoes Da Silva , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 17 no. 2 2018;

'This issue opens with JASAL’s second commissioned essay for the Copyright Agency’s Reading Australia project, aimed at producing scholarly essays around key works of Australian Literature for use by tertiary students and teachers. A.J. Carruthers has approached the selected text, Out of the Box: Contemporary Gay and Lesbian Poets, edited by Michael Farrell and Jill Jones, through a broad consideration of a range of anthologies of Australian poetry, and an examination of the nature and function of the poetry anthology more broadly. The essay conceives the project in formal and conceptual terms, while at the same time attending to the demands of particular poems and poets, producing a provocative essay that foregrounds the roles played by ‘inventive poetics . . . in the broader institution of poetry and its multiply-linked communities.’ It concludes speculatively with a sense of a poetic anthology informed by ‘material poetics,’ which might provide the capacity to ‘more deeply theorise shifting historical and formal tendencies in Australian poetry and poetics rather than being burdened with the task of representing a national literature.’ The issue also features the 2015 A.D. Hope prize-winning essay by Shaun Bell. The A.D. Hope judges’ citation commends Bell for bringing fresh attention to the oeuvre of Sumner Locke Elliot, through his innovative re-reading of the primal scene of an emergent writing self in Elliott’s fiction. Working from Lee Edelman’s concept of homographesis, Bell attends to Elliott’s various recastings and reconfigurations of this signature scene, both autobiographical and fictional, real and imagined. Bell argues that Elliott’s fiction rightly belongs neither to any narrowly conceived nationalist literary paradigm nor to the category of the middlebrow to which it is often consigned. Rather he wants us to see that its significance arises from Elliott’s homographetic negotiation of the writing self, and from his vivid illumination of a queer writer’s trials and tribulations in Sydney during the interwar years.' (Introduction)

1 Addiction, Fire and the Face in The Catherine Wheel Brigitta Olubas , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Elizabeth Harrower : Critical Essays 2017; (p. 101-111)
'My point of departure for this discussion of The Catherine Wheel is the connection (observed, in passing, by D.R. Burns)  between Elizabeth Harrower’s 1960 novel and Henry Handel Richardson’s Maurice Guest, published nearly half a century earlier (1908). The points of similarity between the two novels are instructive: both trace the inexorable decline of moderate talent and ambition in the face of searing obsession; both treat the question of performance, musical or theatrical, which trumps the force of words and language; both displace their narratives away from Australia to northern cities, reflecting in a further shift their authors’ own departures from Australia; and both focus narrative attention on the impossible, liminal promise of youth and talent, on student life, life without parents or family, pursuing a mode of living where adult maturity is barely imaginable. But while both are heavily invested in melodramatic incident, the dramas of The Catherine Wheel are largely internal, unvoiced, or they take place off-stage, or in the novel’s unimaginable future. And Harrower’s characters are remarkable not for their external acts so much as for their interactions; it is in their relationships rather than their individual personalities that we find the crackle and hum, the pyrotechnics promised by the novel’s title. There is also a dramatic scaling back of narrative scope in Harrower’s mid-century setting compared to Richardson’s: we move from Wagner’s Leipzig to Clemency James’ London bedsit, and much of The Catherine Wheel’s action takes place over the telephone, a mediation working as a further and technologically specific kind of displacement. And while Maurice Guest resolves tempestuously with the suicide of its protagonist, Clem’s narrative (as always with Harrower) concludes bleakly, with the opaque, inconclusive conviction that it is “too late”.' (Introduction)
1 The Short Fiction of Shirley Hazzard Brigitta Olubas , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 77 no. 3 2017; (p. 20-25)

'Over a publishing career spanning a half-century from the early 1960s. Shirley Hazzard published four acclaimed novels: The Evening of the Holiday (1961), The Bay of Noon (1970), The Transit of Venus (1980) and The Great Fire (2003). These novels focus on the intertwined matter of low and loss: they rake her readers into complex moral territory, with the certainties and compulsions of sexual and romantic love tested throughout by individual vulnerability. At the same time, and much in the manner of novels written a century earlier, they take up what Harvard referred to as "public themes," that is, the substantial human matter of political and social life, played out against the backdrop of the globalising world of the second half of the twentieth century.' (Introduction)

1 3 y separately published work icon Elizabeth Harrower : Critical Essays Elizabeth McMahon (editor), Brigitta Olubas (editor), Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2017 12996118 2017 anthology criticism

'In 2014, four decades after it was written, Elizabeth Harrower's novel In Certain Circles was published to much anticipation. In 1971, it had been withdrawn by the author shortly before its planned publication. The novel's rediscovery sparked a revival of international interest in Harrower's work, with the republication of her previous novels and, in 2015, the appearance of her first new work in nearly four decades.

'Elizabeth Harrower: Critical Essays is the first collection of critical writing on Harrower's fiction. It includes eloquent tributes by two acclaimed contemporary novelists, Michelle de Kretser and Fiona McFarlane, and essays by leading critics of Australian literature. They consider Harrower's treatment of time and place; her depiction of women, men, and their interactions in the mid twentieth century; her engagement with world history; and her nimble, complex, profoundly modern approach to plot, character and genre. Together they offer new insights into a writer at the crossroads of modernism and postmodernism, and invite readers to read and re-read Harrower's work in a new light.' (Publication summary) 

1 4 y separately published work icon We Need Silence to Find Out What We Think : Selected Essays Shirley Hazzard , Brigitta Olubas (editor), New York (City) : Columbia University Press , 2016 9357161 2016 selected work essay

'These nonfiction works span from the 1960s to the 2000s and were produced by one of the great fiction writers of the period. They add critical depth to Shirley Hazzard's creative world and encapsulate her extensive and informed thinking on global politics, international relations, the history and fraught present of Western literary culture, and postwar life in Europe and Asia. They also offer greater access to her brilliant craftsmanship and the multiple registers in which her writings operate. Hazzard writes about the manifold failings of the United Nations, where she worked in the early 1950s. She shares her personal experience with the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombings and the nature of life in late-1940s Hong Kong. She presents her thoughts on the decline of the hero as a public figure in Western literature. These works contribute to a keener understanding of postwar letters, thought, and politics, supported by an introduction that situates Hazzard's writing within its historical context and emphasizes her influence on world literature. This collection confirms Hazzard's place within a network of writers, artists, and intellectuals who believe in the ongoing power of literature to console, inspire, and direct human life, despite - or maybe because of - the world's disheartening realities.' (Publication summary)

1 I Think You’re My Wife’ : Translation, Marriage, and the Literary Lives of Shirley Hazzard and Francis Steegmuller Brigitta Olubas , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 75 no. 2 2016; (p. 73-87)
'The focus of this essay is the literary lives and afterlives of author Shirley Hazzard and her husband of 30 years, the late literary translator, biographer and Flaubert scholar Francis Steegmuller.' (73)
1 The Event of Hiroshima in Australian Literature Brigitta Olubas , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 30 no. 2 2016; (p. 256-270)

'This essay examines two very different Australian literary representations of the event and the site of Hiroshima Nam Les short story "Hiroshima" presents the time leading up to the American bombing of Hiroshima through the unknowing eyes of a child , who will witness the event in the final moments of the narrative. By contrast, Shirley Hazzard, in her fiction and her public writing, represents the period after the bombing through the eyes of Europeans—that is to say, Britons and Australian—visiting the ruined city, basing these observations on her oval experience of visiting the site in 1947. My interest in this essay is with the tensions between these two literary events, separated in time and cohering around a bleariest event that happens outside the frame of the narrative in both cases, and the ways they highlight some of the complications of national literary forms and representations. This point is compounded by the divergences between the two earth , both acclaimed in Australia and internationally. Nam Le arrived in Australia with his family as a child, a refugee, while Hazzard left at age sixteen and insists that she has no obvious or literal homeland. The work of both authors is characterised by global topographies and imaginings; however, Le tells us that the diverse locations of his fiction are based in research, while Hazzard's narratives are demonstrably based on her own experiences.' (Introduction)

1 Literature, Literary Ethics, and the Global Contexts of Australian Literature : Teaching Nam Le’s The Boat Brigitta Olubas , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature 2016; (p. 190-198)

‘This essay takes up the question of literary ethics as a mode of pedagogy and considers the way the contexts of writing and reading bear on the larger and historical and conceptual resonances of literary texts. Nam Le's collection of short stories, The Boat (2008), is an exemplary Australian text that speaks to its global and Asian-Pacific contexts, prompting students to engage with their contemporary world first through specific locations and then through the paradigm of what we call "the literary" or "literature," by which I mean an appreciation of the ways that literature and literary reading persist today despite the extraordinary shifts that we have witnessed in media and cultural literacy. I focus on the opening story of the collection, "Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice," because it explicitly addresses the question of literary ethics - that is, what writing and reading mean in the early twenty-first century—first through the protagonist,  a young Vietnamese Australian writer who shares his name with the author, and second through his experience of hearing and reworking a first-person story of trauma told to him by his father. That "Love and Honour" is rich with intertextual associations—notably with the writing of James Joyce, William Faulkner, and Kurt Vonnegut — gives students the opportunity to connect and reconnect with well-known works and to extend their sense of the terrain of the literary.’ (Introduction)

1 Remembering Shirley Hazzard : ‘Art Is the Only Afterlife of Which We Have Evidence’ Brigitta Olubas , 2016 single work obituary (for Shirley Hazzard )
— Appears in: The Conversation , 16 December 2016;
1 Introduction : Australian Literature / World Literature : Borders, Skins, Mappings Brigid Rooney , Brigitta Olubas , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 15 no. 3 2015;

The essays in this issue of JASAL were developed from selected papers presented at the 2014 annual ASAL conference ‘Worlds Within’ held at the University of Sydney.

1 Romulus, My Father and the Australian Literary Imaginary Brigitta Olubas , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: A Sense for Humanity : The Ethical Thought of Raimond Gaita 2014;