Prose and poetry on show as University hosts literary luminaries

4 July 2014

Two cutting edge literary conferences at the University of Sydney next week and a redesign of the Masters of Creative Writing show the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences' critical engagement with the written word.

Experimental: A Poetics Symposium kicks off this coming Monday 7th July and has attracted to Sydney three of the most significant and influential architects of the movement that has come to be known as Language Writing. Carla Harryman, Lyn Hejinian and Barrett Watten will join English poet-critic John Wilkinson and a raft of talented Australian writers such as Astrid Lorange, Gig Ryan, John Tranter, and Ann Vickery.

The conference is convened by poet Associate Professor Kate Lilley, who will also be speaking alongside her esteemed colleagues Dr Melissa Hardie and Dr Peter Minter from our Department of English.

Next week will also see Worlds Within, the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL), come to the University of Sydney, which will discuss the rich interactions and points of exchange between Australian literature and the larger world.

In addition to such themes as suburbia, asylum, Indigenous Australian writing overseas, and massacre in literature, there will be critical discussions of Australian authors both iconic and contemporary, such as Peter Carey, Kenneth Slessor, Christos Tsiolkas and Christina Stead.

"Worlds Within provokes questions about how Australian literature relates to the world," said co-convener Dr Brigid Rooney. "It explores the dynamic relationship between inside and outside the nation, and between local and global contexts."

Award-winning Indigenous novelist Kim Scott will deliver the Barry Andrews Memorial Address on opening night this Wednesday 9th July, which will also include the award of a series of literary prizes including the prestigious Australian Literature Society (ALS) Gold Medal. The shortlist for the ASL gold medal, Australia's oldest literary prize in the field, includes Luke Carman, Hannah Kent, Eleanor Limprecht, Alex Miller, Christos Tsiolkas and Alexis Wright.

"Writers often say they feel especially privileged to receive this particular prize, coming as it does from academic scholars and readers devoted to Australian literature," said Dr Rooney.

The invitation to so many dynamic writers and critical literary thinkers to the University of Sydney coincides with a redesign of the Masters of Creative Writing course, which will be extended from 12 to 18 months to include a focus on practice-led research and research-led practice. Students can still engage with specialisations like literary fiction and screenwriting, as well as innovative core subjects like Literary Culture: Sydney.

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