11 – 13 February 2015, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales.

This conference considers contemporary Australian literature and politics. Power, in all its forms, must and will be countered by the passion of resistance, defiance, challenge and contest. In this resistance, the literary imagination possesses its own power: the “passion” and ability, through challenge and constructive refusal, to transform social and political relations. The very nature of power necessitates opposition. Equally the relationship between the literary and the political is more nuanced than this stark contrast affirms, for it has been demonstrated that literature is always political in some sense or another. Yet, when this interplay between literature and politics itself is denied or obscured, when “art” is seen to exist for its own sake alone, the effects of “Power” can be destructive. Guest speakers are Helen Garner and Fiona Capp.

For further information please see:

9–11 April 2015, Texas Christian University, Forth Worth, Texas, USA.

The American Association of Australasian Literary Studies (AAALS) invites paper proposals for its 2015 Annual Conference, to be held in Forth Worth, Texas, 9–11 April 2015. Since these dates fall during most Australian universities’ mid-semester break, we hope many Australian scholars will be able to attend. Added incentive for Australian scholars is that there are direct flights available from Australia into Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport. The conference will be held at Texas Christian University. An evening reception will be held on April 9, and conference sessions will take place on April 10 and 11. Papers addressing any aspect of Australian, New Zealand, and South Pacific literary, film, and cultural studies are welcome. Presentations should be 20 minutes long. Proposals from postgraduate students are encouraged.

Please send a paper title and 250-word proposal by 15 November 2014 to Per Henningsgaard (per.henningsgaard@pdx.edu). Please label the subject line clearly.

Australia lost one of its finest writers and intellectuals on Saturday September 6, when Martin Harrison died of a heart attack at age 65. A widely revered poet, critic and teacher, Harrison’s death came as a tremendous shock to many.

Born and educated in England, Martin arrived in Australia in the late 70s after three years in New Zealand. He worked for the ABC for a number of years as a producer and broadcaster of drama, poetry and criticism, and innovative forms of sound-work. Until his death he was a senior lecturer in poetry and poetics at the University of Technology in Sydney, where his cerebral, impassioned and inspirational teaching became something of folklore.

Martin was an astonishing poet, one of the most original and sophisticated in contemporary Australian poetry. Often preoccupied with the interaction of perception with landscape, his work was sustained by an unparalleled openness to varieties of form, language and literary traditions. While his early to middle poetry was distinctively contemplative and conversational, an ecstatic love affair that ended in tragedy frames an important turn in his later work, much of which is to be published in a collection forthcoming with UWA Press, Happiness. There are many, including me, who think this later work to be the best he ever produced.

As he was a major innovator of essayistic and philosophical verse, his essays on poetry and poetics are amongst the finest ever written in Australia. Who Wants to Create Australia (2004) is indicative of his profound intellectual sensitivity, and also of his modesty. Something of a ‘speculative critic’, Martin preferred to encourage thought, or to gesture towards new conceptual formations, rather than make bold pronunciations or summations of his own.

Martin had been suffering from serious illness for a number of years, but rarely did his physical malaise seem to impact upon his cognitive brilliance. As late as the Thursday before his death, Martin spoke at a monthly poetics symposium at UTS, where he was typically compelling and entertaining. Such remarkable dedication to the importance of poetry has marked his close friends and readers.

Those who were lucky enough to have spent time with Martin will cherish the memories for ever. I knew Martin for nearly 15 years. In that time I was his student, colleague, drinking partner and travelling companion, as well as a confidant and friend. As he did for so many others, Martin introduced me to a world where poetry is the key to experience, and where attention to poetics is the celebration of our entanglements with the world. I am blessed to have known him.

Stuart Cooke
September, 2014

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for two PhD scholarships in studies on Australian literature at UNSW Canberra. The PhD scholarships are generously funded by UNSW Canberra in support of Associate Professor Nicole Moore’s ARC Future Fellowship and the established research strengths in Australian literature in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Candidates will be supervised by A/Prof. Moore and based at UNSW Canberra. The scholarships cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend equivalent to an Australian Postgraduate Award, with a bonus UNSW Canberra loading.

Projects will build on the research strengths in Australian literature at UNSW Canberra and in the ERA5-ranked English program in the School of Arts and Media at UNSW, working with the ARC-supported AustLit database and the research interests of A/Prof Moore. The substantial holdings in Australian literature in the UNSW Canberra Academy Library and proximity to national cultural institutions in Canberra also support research in the field. These strengths articulate to the current underpinning UNSW research strength in Contemporary Arts and the Humanities.

Successful recipients’ research will address topics related to any aspect of A/Prof Moore’s research, but each scholarship is targeted in differing broad areas as below:


PhD Scholarship in contemporary Australian literary practice and poetics

Aim:  To examine contemporary Australian literary practice and/or poetics with reference to the expansive manuscript holdings on Australian writers in the UNSW Canberra Academy Library Special Collections.

Resources: The UNSW Canberra Academy Library holds a substantial collection of papers and manuscripts from contemporary Australian writers of significance. Projects for this scholarship will draw on these papers to explore any aspect of the relationship between writing practice and literary accomplishment, however conceived, for writers publishing in the last decades of the twentieth century. Finding aids to the collections are available in the Guide to Australian Literary Manuscripts (http://findaid.library.uwa.edu.au/) and details of the holdings can be accessed through the UNSW Canberra Library catalogue.

For further assistance please contact the UNSW Canberra Library: http://unsw2.custhelp.com/.


PhD Scholarship in the history of Australian print culture

Aim: To further research in the literary history of Australian print culture, with possible specific interests in book history and the history of publishing, the history of censorship, gender and sexuality in Australian writing, and/or literary biography.

Resources: Research in this field and areas builds on expertise in book history, bibliography, Australian literary history and book censorship in the English Program at UNSW Canberra and its 25 years of support for the AustLit e-resource. Projects for this scholarship can articulate directly with A/Prof Moore’s work in those areas.

Applicants should hold a high honours degree in literary studies, cultural history or creative writing, or in an arts discipline in a related area. For more information please contact Associate Professor Nicole Moore directly:
Applications for the 2015 round of admissions are open now and close on 31 October 2014 (applications must be received and receipted by this date).

For enquiries regarding the application process and eligibility, please contact the UNSW Canberra Research Studies Unit:


Monday 29 September 2014,
Research Hub, First Floor, Building 19, University of Woolongong

2014 marks a half-century since Thomas Keneally published his first novel, The Place at Whitton. Since then, he has acted, scripted plays and films, written a host of novels, written historical books, won a fistful of prizes, led several campaigns (for improved conditions for writers’, for an Australian Republic, for better treatment of asylum seekers), taught in the US, been translated into over a dozen languages, and had more media appearances than many politicians.

This one-day conference will celebrate and analyse the career of a Living National Treasure.

Tom Keneally will deliver a plenary talk, followed by papers surveying his compendious representations of Australia and its place in the world.

The conference is hosted by the Colloquium for Research In Texts Identities & Cultures, Faculty of Law, Arts & Humanities, University of Wollongong under the auspices of ASAL and as part of Paul Sharrad’s ARC project.

A PDF poster is available here and a PDF of the programme is available here.

To RSVP please contact Ingeborg Van Teeseling: ingeborg@uow.edu.au

or Paul Sharrad: psharrad@uow.edu.ao.



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