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Please note: the conference is in BUILDING 2 on the UC Bruce campus. 
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DAILY FORECAST (care of Describing Things in Canberra):  

Wednesday Canberra weather: regardless of any thing Neil Finn may have said, you don’t really have your own personal weather bubble. You can easily test this by travelling from the Woden Valley to the northside on foggy morning. Or getting on a plane in December and flying to Helsinki.

So those of you who are in Canberra today will probably experience much the same weather as each other. Warm to hot and slighty sticky. The weather equivalent of spilling cocoa on your new trousers.

Chemical interventions such as deodorant, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and anti-histamines are strongly indicated. Consider long before you commit to opaque tights, however hairy your legs are. Once the sun is over the yard arm, applications of gin and tonic may be beneficial.



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Monday, November 28 • 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Memoir :: 2A13

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Jeremy Fisher: Lenora Jane Frayne
‘Lenora Jane Frayne’ comprises two small sections from a larger work of creative non-fiction and fiction based on my research into my family history. Much of this larger work is based on traditional research and conforms to the tenets of biographical writing in that statements are supported by facts and evidence. Some sections of the larger work, however, are purely imagined, though inspired by known facts and historical evidence. They are my attempts to cast light where my traditional research provided none. On one hand I have stolen the identity of family members I never knew and used them in fictional narratives; on the other hand I have used what facts I could uncover from historical sources to create a biographical narrative. ‘Lenora Jane Frayne’ offers an example of the imagined as well as a more traditional biographical sketch.

Katrin Den Elzen: Ticking the Box
This creative piece, Ticking the Box, is a short memoir depicting my grief as a young widow and portraying aspects of the journey of recovery from that loss. The opening scene shows having to tick the box ‘widowed’ for the first time on an official form shortly after my husband’s death and then explores my response to the unwanted identity of ‘young widow’. This includes the first solo visit for dinner at the home of a befriended couple, conveying the awkwardness felt by all. A flashback takes the reader back to when my husband and I first met each other in Egypt, where we were both traveling as young backpackers. It depicts the first days spent together against the stunning backdrop of the temples in Luxor and concludes with the buying of an artefact, which now sits on my bedside table, a tangible connection to the past. The text explores how to integrate the memories of the past, of twenty years spent together, into the future in a way that offers the past as well as the future its own space. This work explores issues of identity, grief and premature loss. It recognises the dead as vulnerable subjects and strives for an ethical representation of the deceased. 

Nicole Crowe:  Spitting Distance

This short story is a non-traditional research output produced as part of a PhD in creative writing that explores the narrative possibilities of humour in the ethical representation of family members in regional Australian family memoir.
     While offering a counterpoint to the recent shift towards trauma narrative in Australian autobiography (McCooey 27), this short story explores how techniques of humour can be employed to navigate the very real challenges around representing living family members in narrative.  

Simone Lyons: Relational lives: the dog memoir within the personal memoir

The dog holds a special place as companion, worker and icon in Australian culture and the nation’s rural heritage. Representations of dogs in Australian art, literature and other media reflect the interwoven lives of dogs and Australian people, and reinforce the dog’s iconic status. Dogs are also portrayed as valued workers and companions in many recently published memoirs of rural Australians.
Relational narrative – that is, narrative about related others in the autobiographical writer’s life – is a common feature of contemporary memoir. It enables the writer to relate their own story through other characters, and can offer a more extensive account of the writer’s life events and defining relationships. Rural Australian memoirs frequently include relational narrative in which the related others are the writers’ dogs.
This paper examines how dogs’ life stories are incorporated as relational narrative in rural Australian memoirs. It draws on memoirs published since 2001 – such as Kerry McGinnis’s Heart Country (2001) – to illustrate that the dog’s and writer’s portrayed life experiences can be intertwined in such a way that the dog’s memoir is embedded in the personal memoir. The findings of this paper will relate to and extend scholarship on Australian life writing and, more specifically, relational narrative.

Linda Devereux: A Bit Scottish
There is very little research on the effects of overseas missionary work on the children of missionaries. These children may spend many years living in challenging cross cultural settings. Some experience multiple separations from parents, siblings and loved ones to attend boarding schools or further education, while a number are caught up in violent civil wars or experience other trauma such as regular exposure to the effects of extreme poverty. ‘Home’ can be a slippery construct. This creative piece, taken from a longer life-writing project, examines how memory triggers, in particular photographs and landscapes, contribute to developing an understanding of who we are and where we belong. 

avatar for Debra Wain

Debra Wain

Deakin University
Debra Wain holds a BA(hons) in Creative Writing. She is a current PhD candidate and sessional academic in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University. Debra is undertaking creative practice research into women, food and culture through her creation of a collection of short stories and a ficto-critical exegesis.


Nicole Crowe

James Cook University
Nicole Crowe is a James Cook University PhD candidate, majoring in creative writing. Her thesis explores the narrative possibilities of humour in regional Australian family memoir. Her creative writing has been featured in LiNQ, Bumf, The Suburban Review, Talent Implied, Stilts Journal, Cuttings Magazine, Spook, and was longlisted in 2015 for the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers.

Linda Devereux

Head, Academic Language and Learning Unit, UNSW Canberra
Linda Devereux spent her early childhood years in Africa where her parents were medical missionaries in an isolated Baptist Missionary Society hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Caught up in post-colonial violence, the family returned to Scotland before moving to Australia where Linda currently lives and works.  Linda is the head of the Academic Language and Learning Unit at UNSW Canberra. Her doctoral work, a creative... Read More →

Katrin Den Elzen

Curtin University
Katrin Den Elzen holds an MPhil and currently undertakes a PhD in Creative Writing at Curtin University, which entails a creative component and an accompanying exegesis. She is writing a grief memoir about the loss of her husband and the rebuilding of her life and identity. Her exegesis investigates how memoirists textually negotiate the experience of young widowhood, and specifically, how they rebuild the fragmented self in the text. Katrin... Read More →
avatar for Jeremy Fisher

Jeremy Fisher

Senior Lecturer, Writing, University of New England
Jeremy Fisher is Senior Lecturer in Writing at the University of New England after a 40-year career as writer, editor, publisher, and award-winning indexer. A former executive director of the Australian Society of Authors, he remains a strong advocate for authors’ interests. Concerned that authors can profit from the digital economy, he maintains a close interest in this area. A former director of the Australian Copyright Council; currently a... Read More →

Simone Lyons

PhD candidate, University of New England
Simone Lyons is a PhD candidate in Writing at the University of New England. She is researching the role of the dog in 21st-century rural Australian memoirs.

aawp2016 pptx

Monday November 28, 2016 2:30pm - 3:30pm
2A13 Building 2, UC

Attendees (5)