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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 • 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Borrowing From the Past :: 2A4

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Lynnette Lounsbury: Finding Kerouac

‘Finding Kerouac’ represents a response to the theme of the conference  - Authorised Theft – through two extracts from the novel We Ate the Road like Vultures. The novel is a revisionist history of the later life of writer Jack Kerouac and explores the ways in which fans respond to the writers they love, and the way their language in turn is an evolution, a reflection and a ‘theft’ of the works of these writers. Sixteen-year-old Lulu inserts herself into the world that she has read about, unmasking Kerouac in his hiding place and becoming a part of the imagined life of the writer she admires. The novel follows her journey to find Kerouac living out his days incognito in Mexico, and then to find herself, by convincing him to go ‘on the road’ one last time. The narrative demonstrates the hyper-real nature of revised and imagined history, and is at once real and imagined. Reality and identity is examined as something fluid - something that can change according to the belief surrounding it - with religion as the metaphorical backdrop. ‘Finding Kerouac’ presents two sections of the first chapter of the novel describing the search for, and discovery of Kerouac and the ways in which the believable are stretched to accommodate this fantastical re-versioning of events. Lulu discovers the writer’s house in Mexico but finds that her discovery of Kerouac’s hiding place triggers a violent episode that resulting in a death. The second extract describes her realization that Neal Cassady too, is alive and living with Jack in the old hacienda – a verbal war that shows both her love for Kerouac’s words and her frustration with them. 

Olga Walker: Fallen Angels: The Lost Warriors of the 1916 Proclamation

The scope of Irish Studies research is a vast cornucopia of stereotypes, topics, debates, discourses and fissures where writing as an act of homage and as an act of theft can occur. Irish migration narratives are not an unknown field of scholarly study and research into women’s lived experiences is a matter of continuing interest.

This paper argues that, despite some of the Irish official documentation about female Irish migrants (which can be seen as an act of theft), the POBLACHT NA hÉIREANN (Irish Proclamation) is one document that can be seen as an act of homage. Viewing POBLACHT NA hÉIREANN in this way allows my project to (re)locate Irish women (including Irish female migrants) within the ‘Ireland’ of promised equal rights and equal opportunities for all its citizens. To do this, my research project recognises, and will call for the recognition of the sacrifices Irish female migrants made, big or small, willingly or unwillingly, for the ‘Ireland’ that followed enactment of the 1937 Irish Constitution, and the continuing struggle for gender equality in Ireland. Gender equality was promised in 1916 and 1922, but in practice it never happened; the earlier ambitious promises were progressively watered down by the time of the 1937 Constitution. It is in this intersection between the many questions that remain unanswered about Irish women and Irish female migrants, and the call to recognise their contribution to Ireland, where the magic and the ‘once upon-a-times’ can begin.


Catherine Padmore: Resisting Hilliard: Constructing historical fiction by reading against the grain

The first English-born artist to excel at miniature painting was Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619), who trained as a goldsmith before going on to paint Elizabeth I and her successor, James. Hilliard documented his process and influences in his unpublished Arte of Limning. This manuscript, according to Thornton and Cain, combines “more formal and rhetorical passages with personal observations, outbursts and what amount to grumblings on subjects where his feelings are roused or his professional pride is touched” (1992: 11). What emerges from the manuscript are resonant fragments of Hilliard’s inner world, as experienced in his fifties. Writers developing novels based on Hilliard’s life might take these at face value, assuming a close correlation between what he felt and what he wrote. With respectful nods to founding feminist critics Judith Fetterley and Adrienne Rich, I have chosen to read Hilliard’s treatise against the grain when constructing my own narrative about his life. I am more interested in how his statements might function as distractions or dissemblings. What might this document suggest about his younger self? What might it hide? The lacuna at the centre of his text is striking—Hilliard does not reveal how he made the shift from goldsmith to painter, nor who taught him the closely guarded secrets of the illuminator’s workshop. The name most compelling in its omission is Levina Teerlinc (1515?-1576), a Flemish woman appointed as royal paintrix to the English court from Henry VIII to Elizabeth and thought by many to be the most likely candidate for the transmission of these techniques. She remains largely unknown outside of art-history circles. This paper examines Hilliard’s manuscript for evidence of a working relationship between the two, producing a resistant reading which argues for his debt to a marginalised female painter.

Thornton, R.K.R. and Cain, T.G.S. 1992 ‘Introduction’ to Hilliard, N, The Arte of Limning. Carcanet Press, Manchester, pp, 9-38.

Melanie Myers: Tales of a Garrison Town: Writing into the ‘Feminine Ensemble’ Tradition of the Home-Front Novel

William Hatherell (2007) categorises the ‘home-front novel’ of World War II as a subgenre of Australian War literature. More specifically, within this subgenre, are what Hatherell calls the ‘ensemble novels’. These include the classic Come in Spinner (1951) by Dymphna Cusack and Florence James, Soldiers’ Women (1961) by Xavier Herbert, and the Brisbane-set Time Out for Living (1995) by Estelle Pinney. The ‘ensemble’ in each case is comprised of a small group of white, heterosexual women, whose differences – and intertwining plot trajectories – are contrasted and played out along the lines age, class and marital status. The intention of each novel is to detail, according to the authors’ gendered standpoints, the social disruption of an Australian city in wartime with an emphasis on the impact brought about by the ‘friendly invasion’ of American servicemen during World War II. Tales of a Garrison Town is a self-conscious work of historical fiction – or what Hutcheon dubbed, historiographic metafiction –which acknowledges, through intertextual references (both overt and subtle), the home-front ensemble novel as its precedent. Beginning with Taylor’s (1983: 6) premise that, ‘In no other Australian city [Brisbane] was the reaction to the uncontrollable forces and rapid impact of the invasion of the American forces as completely and keenly felt’, TOAGT re-imagines the Brisbane home front as a site of historical and narrative contention, entwining themes of gendered resistance, place, collective memory, nostalgia, and the connection of history to the literary (Hutcheon 1995). In this paper, I use a practice-led methodology to reflect on the process of (ironically) embedding and referring to the historical texts (that is, newspaper articles, oral histories, photographs, ephemera, music, artefacts, memoir, popular histories and academic research), while also responding and paying homage to the narrative tradition of the home-front ‘feminine ensemble’ novel. 

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 the creative writing stream of two Defence ARRTS programs designed to promote the health and wellbeing of injured and ill Defence personnel.


Lynnette Lounsbury

Avondale College of Higher Education
Lynnette Lounsbury is a lecturer in Communication and Ancient History, and a creative arts practitioner at Avondale College of Higher Education. She is the author of the young adult novel Afterworld (Allen & Unwin, 2014) and her second novel We ate the Road like Vultures (Inkerman & Blunt) was published in April 2016. Finding Kerouac is an extract from that novel.
avatar for Melanie Myers

Melanie Myers

HDR Student; Sessional lecturer/tutor, University of the Sunshine Coast
Melanie is a doctoral candidate at the University of the Sunshine Coast where she teaches Creative Writing and Drama. Her doctoral thesis, Tales of a Garrison Town, is an examination of, and a creative response to, the tropes, themes and gendered discourses of the Australian home-front novel of World War II. She has been published in Kill Your Darlings, Arena Magazine, Overland [online], WQ Magazine and Hecate. She has been shortlisted for the... Read More →

Catherine Padmore

La Trobe University
Dr Catherine Padmore has taught at La Trobe University since 2005. Her novel, Sibyl’s Cave (Allen and Unwin, 2004) was shortlisted for The Australian/Vogel Award and commended in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Catherine has been awarded two retreat fellowships at Varuna. Her creative works are published in Island, The Journal of Australian Writers and Writing, The Big Issue, The Australian, Dotlit and Antithesis, and in the... Read More →

Olga Walker

HDR Student, University of Canberra
Following a career in financial management in the private sector, and as a financial analyst with the Department of Defence, Olga Walker is now a PhD Candidate with the University of Canberra. She graduated with a BA Arts (Community, Culture and Environment), and has undertaken the following postgraduate studies: Grad.Cert. (Public Sector Management); Grad. Dip. Arts (English), Grad. Dip. Arts (Research), and an MA (English).

Tuesday November 29, 2016 1:30pm - 2:30pm
2A4 Building 2, UC

Attendees (8)