Connecting Writers, Publishers and Students

UNSWriting brings together the flow of ideas and high calibre writing and connects writers, publishers and students through special events, workshops and public talks. Immerse yourself in the writing community with our regular events, or catch up on past events with our podcasts. We’re here to keep you in the loop. 

UNSWriting Series 2019: Myth, Memory and Imagination: Women Writing Non-Fiction

How is the recent wave of non-fiction written by women pushing the limits of the form? Women's work has long been underrepresented in the area of non-fiction writing, but a new generation of writers is pushing back, creating greater diversity in the non-fictional landscape. This series explores the ways in which women are reinventing the genre of non-fiction on their own terms, through the form of the memoir, the lyric essay, nature writing, history and biography – rearticulating the ways in which the personal and the political overlap in the contemporary moment.

Director of UNSWriting
Dr Stephanie Bishop
Email: stephanie.bishop@unsw.edu.au

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Past Events

Find more information on our most recent events below or catch up on what you've missed by listening to the podcasts.

SAM Seminar: Writers on the Craft of Writing

Wednesday 24 July, 2019
G17, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Sydney

As part of the SAM Seminar Series, Stephanie Bishop and Michelle de Kretser will be talking to each other about the craft of writing, with special reference to their most recent novels, Man Out of Time and The Life to Come. This free-wheeling conversation about writers’ practice will range over subjects such as reading, revision, the creation of interiority, the crafting of sentences and narrative time.

The School of the Arts and Media acknowledges the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund for supporting this project.

The New Essay: Illness, Place and Reinvention

Tuesday 16 July, 2019
Io Myers Studio, E8 Theatres, UNSW Sydney

Fiona Wright and Jessica Friedmann are two of our most celebrated new wave essayists. Their work fuses traditional aspects of memoir with critical investigations associated with the essay. In their books, they explore the experience of illness, recovery, the meaning of making art, and the feeling of foreignness associated with one’s own body.

Wright’s collection of essays Small Acts of Disappearance is a compelling account of her experience of living with an eating disorder that escalates to life-threatening anorexia. Her writing is a combination of memoir and literary observations; detailed, humorous and hauntingly honest. Similarly in Things That Helped, Friedmann navigates us as readers through the experience of post-partum depression after the birth of her son. Powerful and moving, her writing touches on race, gender and sexuality as well as motherhood and depression.

This talk will explore the common themes in their writing and ask how Wright and Friedmann are reinventing these nonfictional forms. In what ways is contemporary memoir evolving? And how does the writing of memoir result in a new kind of essay?

Writing Contemporary Australia: Michelle de Kretser and Roanna Gonsalves in conversation with Suneeta Peres da Costa

Thursday 28 March, 6.30pm
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Sydney

Australia is changing more rapidly than politicians and public discourses can keep up with. However within the worlding of fiction, writers are able to explore and navigate the currents of everyday life as it plays out around us. Migration and movement across worlds is a common experience although it unfolds differently for different people.

How does fiction enable us to understand the world we live in? What forms of belonging does it explore?

A panel with writers Michelle de Kretser and Roanna Gonsalves in conversation with Suneeta Peres da Costa.

Supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund

The Art of the Sentence:
A Masterclass with Michelle de Kretser

Thursday 21 March, 1pm
Webster Room 332, UNSW Sydney

Sentence after sentence after sentence … is how a book is built. All prose writers, from the most acclaimed to the newest, work with sentences. In this workshop, we’ll discuss examples of good sentences and those that require more work. We’ll consider word choices and syntax, and look at sentences that work hard. Writing exercises will help you come up with stronger, livelier sentences.

This workshop will be best suited to emerging writers who want to take their prose to the next level. Participants are asked to bring a print out of 500 words of their own prose to the masterclass as well as a pen and paper.

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and lives in Sydney. She went to university in Melbourne and Paris, and is an honorary associate of the English Department at the University of Sydney. Michelle’s fiction has won numerous awards, including the Miles Franklin. Her longform essay On Shirley Hazzard will be published in October 2019. Michelle is currently the UNSW Copyright Agency Writer-in-Residence in the School of the Arts and Media.

Brian Castro Patrons Lecture:
Detours and Divagations: Consciousness, Otherness and Hospitality

Thursday 14 March, 6.30pm
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Sydney

Winner of the Prime Minster's Literary Prize, Brian Castro, will deliver the 2019 ASAL Patrons Lecture: Detours and Divagations: Consciousness, Otherness and Hospitality.

Brian Castro was educated at the University of Sydney and has worked in Australian, French and Hong Kong universities as a teacher and writer. He is the author of eleven novels and a volume of essays on writing and culture. His novels have won a number of state and national prizes including the Australian/Vogel literary award, the Age Fiction Prize, the National Book Council Prize for Fiction, four Victorian Premier's awards, two NSW Premier's awards and the Queensland Premier's Award for Fiction, and he is the recipient of the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for poetry. He has delivered keynote addresses at major conferences in Shanghai, Vienna, Paris, Toulouse, Hong Kong and Kyoto, as well as in Wagga Wagga (for the 2013 ASAL annual conference). He has been a Literature Board member on the Australia Council. For many years he was the literary reviewer for Asiaweek magazine. In 2005 he held the position of Macgeorge Fellow, and in 2007-8 he was the Professorial Research Fellow in Creative Writing, both at the University of Melbourne. He is currently Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide and is a member of the management committee of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, a centre for cross-disciplinary linkages and research into creativity.

New Australian Modernities:
Antigone Kefala and Australian Migrant Aesthetics ASAL 2019 mini-conference

14 - 16 March
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Sydney

This symposium works from the premise that a key Australian literary and aesthetic modernity begins at the mid-twentieth century with the arrival of refugees from the Displaced Persons camps of post-war Europe, and continues through the many subsequent waves of arrivals. This conference has three associated public events, including a Masterclass with keynote speaker Prof. Sneja Gunew, a Writers' Panel, and the 2019 Patron's Lecture delivered by Brian Castro.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Sneja Gunew (University of British Columbia)

Conference Convenors: Brigitta Olubas and Elizabeth McMahon

Writing War: Kassem Eid and Mohammed Hanif

Wednesday 6 March, 6.30pm
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Sydney

The UNSW Centre for Ideas & UNSWriting present Writing War with Kassem Eid and Mohammed Hanif, straight from Adelaide Festival Writers' Week.

The challenge of writing about war is to take stories and experiences that are almost beyond language and put them down on paper. Take part in an intimate evening showcasing recent work by two extraordinary writers, who will discuss how and why they grapple with writing about the harrowing reality of war.

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