New Australian Modernities

New Australian Modernities

New Australian Modernities: Antigone Kefala and Australian Migrant Aesthetics ASAL 2019 mini-conference

UNSW March 15 2019


Convenors Brigitta Olubas and Elizabeth McMahon

Keynote Speaker: Sneja Gunew

This symposium works from the premise that a key Australian literary and aesthetic modernity begins at the mid-twentieth century with the arrival of refugees from the Displaced Persons camps of post-war Europe, and continues through the many subsequent waves of arrivals. It aims to provoke consideration of the wider significance of what were termed “New Australian” arrivals to the intellectual and cultural life of the nation from the mid-century, as an alternative reading of the Australian modernist project in terms of Sneja Gunew’s 1983 designation of migrant writing as a Derridean “dangerous supplement” to Australian literature.

Within this configuration of New Australian Modernities, the symposium invites contributors to examine the important work of Antigone Kefala. Kefala is a significant Australian author who has produced more than a dozen acclaimed works including novels, novellas and poetry. Her significance was acknowledged by the award in 2017 of the Judith Wright Calanthe Poetry Award for her most recent collection Fragments (Giramondo) in the Queensland Literary Awards. A collection of critical writing about her work over four decades was published in 2009 in Antigone Kefala: A Writers Journey (Owl Publishing). This collection brought the range and significance of Kefala’s work back into public view. A decade later, this symposium invites new consideration of Kefala’s work. Contributors are invited to approach her writing in terms of the history of writing by non-Anglo writers in Australia, and also in the context of the recent upsurge of interest in writers from diverse backgrounds. We also invite contributors to explore the milieus within which Kefala worked, and the networks of other artists and writers with whom she was connected.

Please send abstracts by October 31 2018 to: Kate Livett [email protected]

with the subject line: ASAL19KEFALA.