Call for Papers: International conference:

Call for Papers: International conference:

In-person and virtual conference.

“The imaginative literary mind is as boundless as it is borderless and bountiful in its way, finding ways of powerfully creating anew the already imagined with the unimagined or unimaginable.”
Alexis Wright [1]

This international conference seeks to offer new perspectives on Alexis Wright’s novel Carpentaria, and at the same time to provide insights for lectures and students who are working on the novel as part of the French Agrégation exam.

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Australia. She is an activist for Indigenous rights and the author of three novels, a collection of short stories and several works of non-fiction. She holds the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne and is currently a Chief Investigator for the ARC Other Worlds – Forms of World Literature Research Project. Wright has won both the Miles Franklin Award (in 2007 for Carpentaria) and the Stella Prize (in 2018 for Tracker). Carpentaria (2006) is her second novel. It takes place at the beginning of the 21st century on Waanyi land, in and around the small fictional town of Desperance.

Carpentaria is a vast saga set in the extraordinary natural world of the coastline of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and whose complex structure interweaves a multitude of different narrative threads, tracing the often tense relationship between the descendants of the white people who founded Desperance, the two Indigenous groups who live on the outskirts of the town on opposite sides, and the security guards of the nearby multinational mine. The choice of a narrative technique inspired by Indigenous storytelling, which is sometimes solemn, often humorous, and at times irreverent, mixes the tragic and the grotesque in a passionate denunciation of contemporary issues.

Topics may focus on, but are not restricted to:

  • Magic realism, Indigenous realism, multi-realism, ancestral realism (Kareva-Mateata-Allain)
    Sovereignty, Land Rights, Native Title, custodianship
    Resistance and decolonisation
  • Eco-literature
    Narrative techniques: narrative fragmentation, narrative empowerment, orality
  • Polyphony and the Carnivalesque
  • Apocalyptic literature (‘living-in-crisis’ Beck, Heise)
  • Humour
    Competing stories and narratives
  • Individual and collective trauma
  • Bio- and thanatopolitics (Foucault, Murray)
  • Dispossession and marginalisation
  • History and memory

Contributors are invited to send a title and an abstract (300 words) together with a short biography by 1 September 2021 to:

Acceptance will be notified by 15th September 2021.
A selection of articles will be published in the on-line peer-reviewed journal Motifs.

The conference will include:

  • An online conversation with Alexis Wright about Carpentaria
    • Keynote speaker: Dr Jeanine Leane, The University of Melbourne
    • a poetry morning featuring First Nations writers, including Romaine Moreton and Ali Cobby Eckermann, reading and performing their work
    • an awareness-raising workshop led by Géraldine Le Roux on marine debris recycling inspired by Ghost Net art.

This conference will be followed by the conference on Indigenous Environmental Artistic Practices organised by l’Université de Bretagne Occidentale.
The programme includes:

  • A conversation with Indigenous Wiradjuri writer Tara June Winch who will be talking about her novel The Yield/La récolte which won the Miles Franklin Award.
    • An online conversation with Alexis Wright about her novel The Swan Book.

We would be most grateful if you could help us make sure Covid19 safety and health regulations are respected by filling out this short questionnaire so we know whether you plan to attend in person or online:

This conference is organised in partnership with the IUF, the research group CECILLE (Université de Lille), the Menzies Centre (King’s College, London), the Société des études des pays du Commonwealth, Université de Toulon, the research group CLIMAS (Université de Bordeaux-Montaigne), the research groups HCTI and CRBC and the UFR Lettres (Université de Bretagne Occidentale) and with support from the Australian Embassy in France.
Local organizing committee (Université de Bretagne Occidentale): Anne Le Guellec (Département d’anglais), Géraldine Le Roux (Département d’ethnologie / James Cook University), Jean-Marc Serme (Département d’anglais), Annabelle Thomas (Département d’ethnologie)

National and international organizing committee: Susan Barrett (Université de Bordeaux-Montaigne), Salhia Ben Messahel (Université de Toulon, Chair of the European Association for the Study of Australia), Béatrice Bijon (Menzies Centre – King’s College London – ANU), Marilyne Brun (Université de Lorraine), Estelle Castro-Koshy (James Cook University), Narjis El Qarchaoui (Université de Toulon), Temiti Lehartel (RMIT – Université de Montpellier), Laura Singeot (Université de Paris Saclay)
Scientific committee: Susan Barrett (Université de Bordeaux-Montaigne), Salhia Ben Messahel (Université de Toulon, Chair of the European Association for the Study of Australia), Marilyne Brun (Université de Lorraine), Estelle Castro-Koshy (James Cook University), Mylène Charon (Université de Cergy-Pontoise), Temiti Lehartel (RMIT – Université de Montpellier), Anne Le Guellec (Université de Bretagne Occidentale), Jean-François Vernay (Global Institute, Sydney)
[1] Alexis Wright, “A Self-governing Literature”, Meanjin, Winter 2020,