Please note: the conference is in BUILDING 2 on the UC Bruce campus. 
Watch this space for information updates. 

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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Tuesday, November 29 • 9:00am - 10:00am
Sisters in Crime :: 2A4

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Janice Simpson: In the layers of a tiger’s eye: mapping adoption stories

What began as a project examining abandonment, and possibly the role of inherited psychological trauma in explaining why many adoptees report higher than usual levels of emotional distress about trust, security and the capacity to fully engage with others, has transformed into an exploration of the meanings and symbols adoptees attach to their conception and birth. My reading of the literature revealed several things:

  1. adoption is largely silent in Australian histories and social commentaries, even those authored by feminists;
  2. adoption literature and research focuses in the main on the experiences of relinquishing mothers; and
  3. that most (if not all) adoptee stories are grief and identity stories, focusing on abandonment, trauma, loss and commodification.

Largely unexplored are the meanings attached to conception and birth in adoptees’ narratives. Making use of the significant bodies of literature about how place defines, influences and shapes peoples’ lives, and the literature that suggests ways of coming to terms with the experiences of being an outsider, I am creating a map tracing the stories of 10 adoptees from conception to their current tracks upon the Australian continent. The form of this work about place and memory and the ties that bind and identify is experimental, drawing on the practice of fictocriticism and various iterations of the essay.

Phillipa Martin: Writing a reflexive crime novel using real life and fictional adaptations

This paper looks at how crime fiction authors borrow not only from real life but from the crime fiction canon when creating new works. Drawing on academic research and other novelists’ methods, it discusses reflexivity, self-consciousness, intertextuality, embedded text and mis en abyme within the crime fiction genre and how these features relate to ‘theft’. As a hybrid paper that includes creative extracts, it also examines the author’s use of these tools, and therefore authorised and unauthorised theft, to write a PhD novel, ‘My Killer Secret’.

Leigh Redhead: The Mystery of the Stolen Sleuth – Tart Noir as Homage to Trixie Belden.

The Trixie Belden Mystery series, about a tomboyish girl detective, was published in the US from 1948-86. Trixie was very different to the more popular Nancy Drew, who was traditionally feminine, upper middle class and perfect in every way. Tart Noir is a subgenre of crime fiction that became popular in the 1990’s, and featured flawed female protagonists who were working class, operated outside of the conventional social order, and transgressed traditional gender roles. Neither ideologically sound feminist detectives, femmes fatales or scientific investigators in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, Tart Noir protagonists displayed prodigious appetites for food, sex and danger. They solved crimes through a combination of physical action and intuition, rather than science and ratiocination. This paper will argue that these characters pay homage to girl detective Trixie Belden, using her influence to explore contemporary discourses on third wave feminism and to accurately reflect the complexity of female experience. It will also discuss the use of homage more broadly in crime fiction. How does an author decide which conventions to appropriate, and which to discard?  And how does a crime writer, particularly of detective fiction, successfully use pastiche without tipping over into parody?


avatar for Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams

Associate Professor of Creative Writing, University of Canberra
Associate Professor Jordan Williams is a poet and multimedia artist who teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Canberra. She researches the materiality of poetry and the use of ‘play’ in creative writing interventions for wellbeing and health. She has led... Read More →


Phillipa Martin

University of Adelaide
Phillipa (PD) Martin is the author of five crime fiction novels featuring Aussie FBI profiler Sophie Anderson — Body Count, The Murderers’ Club, Fan Mail, The Killing Hands and Kiss of Death. These novels met with international acclaim and were published in fourteen countries... Read More →

Leigh Redhead

University of Wollongong
Leigh Redhead is a postgraduate student at the University of Wollongong, where she is completing a PhD on Australian noir fiction and writing a ‘Hippy Noir’ set in an alternative community in rural Australia. She is also the author of Peepshow (2004), Rubdown (2005), Cherry Pie... Read More →

Janice Simpson

HDR Student, RMIT
Janice Simpson is a PhD candidate in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT, Melbourne. Her creative practice research is focused on whether the place of conception and birth is significant for adoptees. She is exploring forms of the lyric essay and where that might lead in... Read More →

Tuesday November 29, 2016 9:00am - 10:00am
2A4 Building 2, UC

Attendees (5)