vendredi 24 juin 2011

2011 Miles Franklin winner: Kim Scott

ASAL would like to congratulate Kim Scott on winning the 2011 Miles Franklin prize for his third novel (and second to win the Miles Franklin) That Deadman Dance. The novel has also been shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal (along with Peter Boyle, Apocrypha; Peter Goldsworthy, Gravel; Kirsten Tranter, The Legacy, and Chris Womersley, Bereft). The winner of the Gold Medal will be announced at the opening of the ASAL Conference on Tues July 5th. The venue is the State Library of Victoria, which is, coincidentally, where Kim received his Miles Franklin Prize yesterday. Kim has attended and addressed previous ASAL conferences.

Excerpt from The Australian.

“The Trust Company, which runs the prize on behalf of the Miles Franklin estate, is doing a fine job of reinvigorating a literary event that had become a little stale. Holding this year's awards ceremony in Melbourne, the first time it had travelled outside Sydney, was an overdue move. It will be good to see the big night held in other cities in future. A new website ( looks sharp and should become the main online reference for the prize. Increasing the prize money to $50,000 was a good decision but perhaps more can be done.” […] “And there is a case for making the prize tax-free, as are the rich Prime Minister's Literary Awards. Trust Company boss John Atkin plans to take this up with Arts Minister Simon Crean, and he deserves a good hearing.”


Caroline Verge le 15 août à Nouméa

Anita Heiss nous annonce que si vous souhaitez rencontrer Caroline Verge, juriste spécialiste de l'audiovisuel, elle sera disponible le 15 août à Nouméa pour vous rencontrer et donner de bons conseils gracieusement pour l'adaptation d'un de vos livres à l'écran.

Do you want to turn your book into an Australian film? Caroline Verge, Australian film lawyer will be in Noumea on August 15 and is giving FREE advice on how to go about it.

You can email her directly to book a space in the meeting:


dimanche 19 juin 2011

Exhibition: David Aspen

"I think most painters ... genuine painters or obsessives, were never really satisfied with anything they did. This is why it’s possible ... if they can last long enough, you know, last out ’til they’re 75 – they’re still tottering around, still trying to put paint on canvas. Most other people have given up". David Aspden

More than 70 works, spanning four decades, from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales are the subject of a major exhibition, David Aspden: the colour of music and place opening on 28 July. 'This is the most comprehensive exhibition of this artist’s work to date,' states curator Anne Ryan.

Aspden was from a generation of young Australian painters who came to prominence in the 1960s. Outward-looking and adventurous, they embraced the spirit of the age in which local artists and collectors increasingly valued experimentation and individual expression and looked to international centres, particularly the United States, for inspiration and acceptance. The decade concluded with the groundbreaking National Gallery of Victoria exhibition The field in 1968, which sought to confidently assert that the work of this generation should be seen as the definitive voice of its age. Aspden had two works in this show: Fifth force 1968 and Field 1, the painting that lent the exhibition its name.

David Aspden was born in England in 1935 and came to Australia as a teenager with his family in 1949. They settled in Wollongong, and it was here that he first determined to become an artist, immersing himself in the local art scene. However, the limitations of this small city soon became apparent and Aspden moved to Sydney in 1964 – by then a vibrant centre for contemporary painting. Over the subsequent four decades he developed a distinct voice to become a major Australian abstractionist.

Aspden has been described as a composer of paintings, a fitting analogy for a man who surrounded himself with music – mostly jazz and classical – in his daily life. For Aspden painting was an act of immersion. He had an intuitive facility for bringing together the disparate elements of form and colour – from the ‘hard-edge’ paintings that established his reputation in the 1960s through to the more nuanced colour abstracts of the 1970s to 2000s in which his artistic vision found its purest expression.

Aspden was sustained by three major inspirations – colour, landscape and music.

As early as 1965 there was general public appreciation for Aspden’s flair for colour. For Aspden, colour, music and landscape were intertwined; they were the muses that drove him and shaped his sensibility.

Aspden’s earliest paintings were landscapes but coastal subjects were of recurring interest to him as well. He lived by the water at various times in his life, most intimately when he moved to a warehouse in Balmain on the edge of Sydney Harbour in 1978.

Aspden conceived and created paintings as exercises in form, colour and materials, translating into paint a germinating idea or sensation. He responded to colour in an emotional way and commented in 1965 that 'the important things are the relationships between things, not the things themselves’.

David Aspden: the colour of music and place is dominated by Aspden’s vibrant acrylic paintings on paper and also includes a selection of key paintings. It is a celebration of an extraordinary collection of work which resulted in large part from the generous gift of works by Aspden’s widow Karen, following the artist’s death in 2005.

On view: 28 Jul – 4 Sep 2011
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney

Admission: Free

mercredi 15 juin 2011

Request for information on the teaching of Australian Literature for the TAL database

Kerry Kilner would welcome information from ASAL members and friends regarding details of Australian literary texts being taught in second semester 2011, for the Teaching Aust. Lit database

The TAL database aims to record details of all Australian texts being taught in Australian and international universities and the contexts in which they are being taught. The database provides information about the ways that all forms of Australian texts – film, print, and digital – are being used in teaching. The establishment of the database was funded by AustLit and the ALTC under the project which Philip Mead, Alice Healy and Kerry Kilner were involved in 2008/09. They undertook a survey of the experiences of teaching and learning activities in Australian literature, publishing a report and launching the database. They are taking a longitudinal approach to the project so that they can see how or whether things change over time as well as creating another useful resource for teachers in the field.

Alice and Kerry will be presenting on the TAL project at ASAL 2011.

Please send details to:

Chris Wallace-Crabbe becomes a Member of the Order of Australia

ASAL congratulates Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM on becoming a Member of the Order of Australia
Congratulations to Chris Wallace-Crabbe on the recognition he received through his inclusion in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List ‘For service to the arts as a leading poet, critic and educator, and as an ambassador and advocate for the humanities both nationally and internationally, and through support for emerging writers.’

Adam Chang paints J.M.Coetzee

Sydney artist Adam Chang has won the 2011 Archibald People’s Choice Prize for his portrait of acclaimed novelist and academic J M Coetzee.

J M Coetzee migrated from South Africa to Australia in 2002 and became an Australian citizen in 2006. Currently an honorary visiting research fellow in the English Department at the University of Adelaide, Coetzee was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature and has the rare distinction of winning the Man Booker Prize twice, in 1983 for Life & times of Michael K and in 1999 for Disgrace.

Coetzee and Adam Chang are both supporters of Voiceless, the independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to alleviating the suffering of animals in Australia. They hold similar values concerning the protection of animals and are also united by their spirit of compassion and kindness towards their fellow human beings.

While Coetzee is a very private person, Chang was fortunate to enjoy an afternoon with him in Adelaide and found that his eyes reveal a deep serenity and an insight into the human condition, qualities the artist has attempted to capture in this portrait. In contrast, the strong, red brushstrokes act as a powerful symbol of both artist’s and subject’s sensitivity to, and experience of, the violence and discrimination that exist in our world.

Chang (Hong Jun Zhang) was born in Shanghai in 1960 and is now based in Sydney. He researched world painting at Shanghai University from 1989 to 1993. Since the early 1980s, he has been represented at major national exhibitions throughout China. Awards include the 1992 Shanghai Art Prize. Chang migrated to Australia in 1997. He has twice been selected as a finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, where he was highly commended by the international judge in 1998 and voted as a favourite portrait in 2000. He recently held a solo exhibition called Mao, terracotta warriors & myself, which showcased his new, strong and resonant experimental work. This is his fifth time as a finalist in the Archibald Prize.

Adam Chang receives $2500 and a $1000 ANZ Visa Debit Card.

Each year a voter for the Archibald painting that receives the most votes is selected to win a prize – this year, $2500 plus a $1000 ANZ Visa Debit Card and one nights accommodation at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth. The lucky winner is Ruth Anstice from Mosman.

This is the 23rd year of the People’s Choice, with 22 593 people voting. Jenny Sages’ portrait of her late husband Jack was the second most popular painting.

lundi 13 juin 2011

Profil du blogueur

Jean-François Vernay est un chercheur franco-australien. Né en 1974 en Nouvelle-Calédonie de parents franco-australiens, il a fait la grande majorité de ses études dans son pays natal avant de mener ses recherches à Melbourne (Australie) et à Toulouse (France) pour son mémoire de maîtrise intitulé : Tricks and Tricksters in Peter Carey's Illywhacker sous la direction du professeur Xavier Pons (Université Toulouse-Le Mirail, 1996) et pour son D.E.A : Illusion et réalité dans l’œuvre romanesque de Christopher Koch : L’étude du double chez les personnages (Toulouse-Le Mirail, 1997).

Il retourna ensuite au pays où il vit actuellement. En 2002, il devint le Directeur fondateur de la publication Correspondances océaniennes qui était à l’époque la seule revue pluridisciplinaire en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Il dirigea cette publication postcoloniale pendant 6 ans, une publication qui sensibilisa le lectorat océanien et international sur les grands enjeux culturels qui ont laissé leur empreinte sur la région Pacifique et l’Australie. Parmi les 12 numéros thématiques de Correspondances océaniennes au contenu très éclectique, on compte la femme, la jeunesse, la nature, la mémoire, les littératures, le corps, la création, les images, l’Australie, les départs, l'insularité, et les inscriptions.

C’est avec succès que Jean-François Vernay soutint sa thèse de troisième cycle en 2004 sous la direction de Xavier Pons à l’université Toulouse-Le Mirail. Dans la foulée, il publia sa première monographie universitaire en août 2007 chez Cambria Press : Water From the Moon: Illusion and Reality in the Works of Australian Novelist Christopher Koch. La publication de Correspondances océaniennes fut interrompue en 2007 pour permettre à Vernay de se consacrer à une nouvelle aventure éditoriale. En janvier 2007 il initia le projet « La peur dans la culture australienne » en vue de diriger avec la participation de Nathanael O’Reilly un hors-série dans la collection de la revue savante new-yorkaise Antipodes: A North American Journal of Australian Literature qu’ils ont intitulé Terror Australis Incognita ? Fear in Australian Literature and Film, un numéro qui vit le jour en juin 2009.

Les prestigieuses presses universitaires Hermann (éditions) ont publié en février 2009 dans leur collection Savoir Lettres créée par Michel Foucault, la deuxième monographie de Monsieur Vernay sur le roman australien. Panorama du roman australien des origines à nos jours est déjà traduit en langue anglaise.

The Great Australian Novel reviewed in The Australian

"THERE is an appealing concept behind The Great Australian Novel. French literary critic Jean-Francois Vernay has distilled nearly two centuries' worth of literary history into what he characterises as a "cinematic essay".

Beginning in the early 19th century, he works his way chronologically through the main developments in Australian fiction, periodically interrupting his narrative to provide what he describes as "close-ups", "low angle shots" or "panoramic views" of key authors and texts.
The book can be read as an accessible introductory guide and as a concise critical essay that outlines some of the main themes and controversies that have shaped Australian literature.
Many of the tropes Vernay explores are familiar, though acquire a certain novelty by virtue of being reinterpreted from the perspective of a critic who is not Australian. His study considers the mythologisation of the bush, the cultural anxieties that accompanied a burgeoning colonial literature, the tensions that arose in the mid-20th century between the competing aesthetics of social realism and modernism, depictions of suburbia, the rise of feminism in the 1970s, indigenous writing and Australia's long history of literary hoaxes. He also finds room to discuss various forms of generic writing, including early colonial romances, war novels and pulp fiction.
In the second half of the book, Vernay teases out a number of ideas that, though not necessarily groundbreaking, are perhaps less conventional, less immediately associated with the traditions of Australian literature. In the vogue for what came to be known as grunge fiction in the 90s, he sees a parallel with the "decadent" literature that flourished in Europe in the late-19th century; and the pages in which he discusses some recent examples of speculative fiction and the emergence of a distinctively Australian version of the psychological novel are among the most interesting in the book."

Source: The Australian, June 2011. 11/06/2011.

vendredi 10 juin 2011

Era Rankings are dropped, by Jill Rowbotham

End of an ERA : journal rankings dropped - Jill Rowbotham, The Australian, 30 May 2011.

JOURNALS will no longer be assigned rankings in a radical shake up of the Excellence in Research for Australia initiative, announced by Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Minister Kim Carr today.
JOURNALS will no longer be assigned rankings in a radical shake up of the Excellence in Research for Australia initiative, announced by Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Minister Kim Carr today.

The ranking of journals as A*, A, B and C was the most contentious aspect of the ERA exercise devised and administered by the Australian Research Council, with the first results published in January.
``I wished to explore ways in which we could improve ERA so the aspects of the exercise causing sector disquiet, especially issues around the ranked journals list, could be minimised or even overcome,'' Senator Carr said in a ministerial statement.
He chastised the research community, saying: ``There is clear and consistent evidence that the rankings were being deployed inappropriately within some quarters of the sector, in ways that could produce harmful outcomes, and based on a poor understanding of the actual role of the rankings.
``One common example was the setting of targets for publication in A and A* journals by institutional research managers.
``In light of these two factors - that ERA could work perfectly well without the rankings, and that their existence was focussing ill-informed undesirable behaviour in the management of research - I have made the decision to remove the rankings, based on the ARC's expert advice.''

Senator Carr said lists of journals would still be important, and each journal would be provided with a publication profile, that is, an indication of how often it was chosen as the forum of publication by academics in a given field.
``These reforms will strengthen the role of the ERA Research Evaluation Committee members in using their own, discipline-specific expertise to make judgments about the journal publication patterns for each unit of evaluation.''
ARC chief executive Margaret Sheil said the change empowered ``committee members to use their expert judgement to take account of nuances in publishing behaviour''.
``This approach will allow experts to make judgements about the quality of journals in the context of each discipline,'' Professor Sheil said.
Other changes announced include: increasing the capacity to accommodate multi-disciplinary research and investigating strategies to strengthen the peer review process, including improved methods of sampling and review assignment.


More news:

jeudi 2 juin 2011

A Piece by Sylvia Petter

Sylvia Petter is an Australian writer now living in Vienna. Her latest collection of stories, Back Burning, was published by IP, Australia in 2007. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from UNSW (2009) and is revising two novels dealing with belonging and dislocation. She has a website at and blogs at Merc’s World

I would like to thank Sylvia for sending me her creative piece and giving me the opportunity to showcase her writings on my blog. Kind regards JF

My French Connection

My French connection is a bit all over the place. It started in primary school at Loreto Normanhurst in the late fifties in a lesson where we learnt “Kel er 8 til?” Then followed French at Hornsby High, which saw me sent from class for being a chatterbox, but not in French. The chatterboxing continued at UNSW when it became too much for our lecturer, Ross Steele, who exploded at a fellow student, Sophie, and me in the language lab. Parbleu! Apart from discovering Apollinaire (Alcools), Rimbaud (Le Bateua ivre), Genet (Les Paravents), Giraudoux (La Guerre de Troye n’aura pas lieu), and many others, Sophie Elias-Varotsis now living in Paris, became a lifelong friend.

But there were other connections. I had always dreamt of living in a garret in Paris long before Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge. In 1974, I spent three months there looking for work, living in the banlieue. It was a far cry from my uni French which had a hard time adapting to the speed of the spoken language, and French tests at Mururoa and the ensuing Australian boycotting of all things French didn’t help my work permit prospects. So I went to Geneva with more fluent French, a crush on Françoise Giroud (Jenny Marx ou la Femme du diable) and enamoured of Jacques Prévert (Paroles – “Je suis comme je suis” and “Le Cancre”).
I adapted quickly to Swiss French, but since I had not studied La Methode à Mimile I only first recognized the function of le toubib when seeing the 1979 film of the same name, starring Alain Delon. My fluent French had become peppered with franglais, and so it stayed until the 90s when I joined the Geneva Writers’ Group to reclaim my mother tongue from a trilingual mishmash of French, German and English and write stories. In 2000, my first collection of stories appeared as one of the first eBooks in the UK. Through a contact in Geneva I was introduced to Marianne Camus of the University of Lyon who was organizing a series of colloquia on the theme, Création au feminin. Marianne translated several of my stories into French and included a paper and a story (Grandir) in Création au féminin : Volume 3, Filiations (EUD, 2007).
In 2007, I was back in Sydney where I met up with Jean-Francois Vernay at the NSW State Library and offered him one of my stories in translation by Marianne Camus for his Noumea-based cultural journal, Correspondances Oceaniennes. My collection, Back Burning, was due to be published by IP, Queensland, and some of the stories had a French connection: “The Tschusch”, inspired by Le Pen but transferred to Austria and Jörg Haider; “Blind Date”, inspired by Sophie; “No Man’s Land”, inspired by a story told to me in a café in France profonde. But I only had one story translated, “Le Passé recompose” Unfortunately, “Le Passé recompose” didn’t ever make it to Noumea, but it can be seen at Stories in French on my blog.

This year I met up with Jean-Francois Vernay on LinkedIn and Facebook and he invited me to send him a post. So now it’s almost like coming full circle – a Frenchman almost in Australia and an Australian all over the place in “francophonia” et alii. Such “recurring superpositioning” as Sophie would call it, is an important facet of my writing life and feeds my stories and novels in progress.

More on her website and blog: