Back in November 2005, Australian creative writer Nicholas Jose observed in an essay retracing the genesis of the PEN anthology project that “An earlier generation’s commitment to putting Australian literature on the world map has waned, leaving it pretty well off the world’s map, except for the representative writer or two who fills the slot. Australian literature has been squeezed by globalisation in the marketplace, intellectual fashion in the academy and opposition to cultural intervention in the public sphere.” (Australian Book Review 276, p.27) In the current debate on the globalisation of Australian Studies, my paper will compare and contrast the various efforts recently made by three American publishers and Antipodes Editor Nicholas Birns to give Australian literature more international visibility.
About the author:
Born in New Caledonia, Jean-François Vernay is the author of Water From the Moon: Illusion and Reality in the Works of Australian Novelist Christopher Koch (New York: Cambria Press, 2007) and of a conspectus of the Australian novel: Panorama du roman australien des origines à nos jours (Paris: Hermann, 2009), soon available in translation. He is also Co-Guest Editor of Antipodes: A North American Journal of Australian Literature. Special Issue: Fear in Australian Literature and Film (June 2009). Vernay has been rewarded with an Excellence Award 2009 by the THESE-PAC jury in the South Pacific-Australasia category for his PhD on Christopher Koch
"First and foremost, I wish to address my heartfelt thanks to Pr. Robert Dixon for granting me a travel scholarship, which made it possible for me to present my paper at this high-caliber international conference. This financial aid is the first I have ever received within the 14 years I have spent researching Australian fiction. As such, I take it as being an additional token of recognition of my work, which – incidentally – is often perceived as that of an outsider.
When reviewing Water From the Moon, my monograph on Chris Koch’s fiction, C.A. Cranston declared it to be “a work by someone situated outside the literary and geographical context of ‘Australia’.” (Cranston 117) Not that she was trying to make an uncharitable observation of any kind, but every time an Australian scholar singles me out as a "French scholar" or anything else along these lines, I always find myself guilty of not having been born and bred in Australia. From such awareness derives the feeling that anyone writing in the field of Australian Studies beyond the boundaries of Australia would lack some kind of legitimacy."
Cranston, CA. ‘Reviews’. JASAL 7 (2007): 116-21. Also available online.To be continued on D-day.
More about the conference:
Reading Across the Pacific: Australian-United States Intellectual Histories