student profile: Ms Cheryl O'byrne


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Daughters Writing Mothers in Contemporary Australian Auto/biography�

Supervisors: Rebecca JOHINKE

Thesis abstract:

This project explores the ways contemporary Australian auto/biographies represent the mother-daughter relationship. I examine texts such as �em�Poppy�/em� by Drusilla Modjeska, �em�The Lost Mother: A Story of Art and Love�/em� by Anne Summers, �em�Boy, Lost �/em�by Kristina Olsson, �em�One Life: My Mother’s Story�/em� by Kate Grenville and �em�After�/em� by Nikki Gemmell. Each of these auto/biographies was written in the aftermath of the mother’s death. None of the daughter/writers claims a factual recount of the mother’s story; instead each has, to some extent, as Olsson puts it, “conjured it, guessed it.” The project examines the ways the texts engage self-reflexively with this tension between fact and fiction, between what is known and what is sought for, and considers how this interplay creates a productive site for writing the mother and the self.

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