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Narrative Networks

I heard Marieke Hardy's conversation with Dominic Knight on Radio National's Book Show last week She was discussing the art of writing a memoir with Dominic and two other guests, Tanveer Ahmed and Benjamin Law. Part of the conversation was about "how many youthful indiscretions can you reveal without being disowned by your family? Is it fair on an ex to have the intimate details of your relationship immortalised in print, and should you give them a right of reply?" Marieke was talking about her approach to writing You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead. This approach is discussed by Danielle Binks...

Scholarship

I have a very vivid memory of first hearing the word 'scholarship'. I was sitting on the floor in a morning assembly at the Buckley CP school on my last day as an infant (in 1959). The head of the Infant School was saying goodbye as my class moved to the Junior School. She wished us well and was enthusiastic about the possibility that we might have a scholarship to the Grammar School. I remember being very concerned about this. I had never been on a boat of any kind and the thought of leaving home at 11 to go sailing was...

Sentence and Form

Stanley Fish was a guest on Radio National's Book Show this week. The subject of the interview was his book How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One (Harper Collins, 2011). The podcast of his interview can be found here. Amongst many fascinating points I was moved by the discussion of a sentence from Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail: But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and...

Thinking About Words

Last Wednesday staff from Sport Studies at the University of Canberra met the poet Harry Laing at the Old Cheese Factory at Reidsdale to develop our writing skills as part of the Faculty of Health‘s 2010 Writing Week. I have been thinking about the workshop a good deal since then. On one of my journeys into the University of Canberra I caught a Book Show discussion of Paul Celan.The program note included the quote "There is nothing in the world for which a poet will give up writing, not even when he is a Jew and the language of...

Coincidence, Serendipity and Synchronicity

An item on Radio National's Book Program introduced me to Shane Maloney and Chris Grosz's Australian Encounters. It is a "little book of literary trivia about chance meetings, and some influential ones too, between writers, politicians, artists, singers and activists." Subjects in the book include Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, Donald Bradman and Boris Karloff, Margaret Fulton and Elizabeth David, Michael Hutchence and Kylie Minogue, Nana Mouskouri and Frank Hardy, Martina Navratilova, Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Brian Burke, Henry Kissinger, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Menzies, Helena Rubinstein, and many more according to news of the...

Writing Week at the University of Canberra 2010

Today is the start of Writing Week in the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra. We had a preliminary event last week with Robert Brown. His writing workshop provided an excellent stimulus for disciplined writing for publication. This is the Faculty's second writing week. There are some blog posts about the 2009 Writing Week in this blog. This year the Faculty has scheduled no meetings for the week in order to create time for writing. On Wednesday staff from Sport Studies are meeting the poet Harry Laing at the Old Cheese Factory at Reidsdale to develop our writing skills....

Zines

There I was driving into Canberra and by happenchance listened to an eight-minute piece The Zine Bus on Radio National's Book Show. I discovered that as "part of the recent Emerging Writers Festival held in Melbourne, a bright double-decker London bus trundled around Melbourne filled with eager Zinesters displaying their words and drawings". Radio National's Book Show notes that: The Zine scene has its origins in the 1980s punk movement as well as in fan magazines. Zines are photocopied publications ranging in size, shape and style but what they all have in common is that they are handmade. They can have...

Writing Reviews

I listened to a delightful Radio National Book Show program on Tuesday. Ramona Koval was in conversation with Michelle Kerns and Laura Miller about cliches in book reviews. I am conscious that I need to monitor my own writing in this post (I note that I have used 'delightful' in my first sentence) but am relieved that both Michelle and Laura are self-confessed serial cliche users! Their conversation was vibrant and I was hoping it might go on longer. By the end of their twenty-two minutes together I was thinking about how their insights and advice might be applied to...

Speaking About Performance: Hearing Other Narratives

Back in 1988 Donald Polkinghorne produced the delightful book Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences. In his preface to the book he observes that "practitioners work with narrative knowledge. They are concerned with people's stories..." In Chapter Two he notes that "Narrative is the fundamental scheme for linking individual human actions and events into interrelated aspects of an understandable composite." His insights resonated with qualitative research I was doing in the 1980s and have informed my work ever since. They added to my reading of Miller Mair's work at that time too. I have been prompted to revisit their ideas about...

Copyright, Copyleft, Copyfight and Digital Sharing

This week (1 June) Radio National aired a discussion about copyright on the Book Show program. This is the podcast of the discussion between Lynne Spender and Morris Gleitzman (chaired by Ramona Koval). The discussion was prompted in part by Lynne Spender's article in the Meanjin Quarterly (June 2009). The discussions resonated with me in a number of ways particularly in the context of some reading I have been ding about copyleft. Morris Gleitzman will be responding to Lynne Spender in a subsequent edition of the Meanjin Quarterly. This post is a placeholder for some of the issues that have...