19 Jul Symposium: Call for Papers
Call for Papers: JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, The University of Adelaide
Political Lives: Political Biography, Memoir and Australian Democracy
Date: Monday and Tuesday, 4-5 December 2023
Confirmed Speakers Include
The JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice is pleased to call for papers for a symposium on
political biography and memoir in Australia as part of a series of events to celebrate the
twentieth anniversary of the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to John Coetzee.
Coetzee’s interest in censorship, citizenship and social justice, and his creative engagements
with genre (including auto- and autrebiography), have been features of his career. In this
spirit, we welcome papers on all aspects of Australian political memoir and biography.
Biography is one of the most potent arts of democracy because as a genre of writing it links
the individual to the body politic and to history. Biography is currently one of the most
popular genres of publishing, with political biography and memoir amongst the most
popular of forms. Moreover, in the academy, the status of biography has transformed over
the last twenty years or more, with historians embracing the genre, and a wealth of new
infrastructure embedding biographical enquiry in Australia. The biographical turn has also
brought the two disciplines of history and literary studies closer together and enriched their
This symposium seeks to explore the purpose and practice of both political biography and
memoir in Australia and their relationship to democratic institutions, political careers,
legacies and public culture. Questions of independence arise in biographical writing as do
ideology, censorship and defamation: these are live issues for political biographers and their
readers. We invite papers on any aspect of political memoir, on the making of political
biography, its methodologies and practices, as well as the evolving approaches to the
understanding of political power and to personality, whether in relation to living subjects or
those from earlier historical periods.
Abstracts are invited for papers of 20 minutes or panels of 90 minutes.
Please send abstracts to Professor Anne Pender
by 29 September 2023 at [email protected]