Who tells the story of a country? What story does a country’s national literature tell about its people and its identity? Is there such a thing as Australian literature at all?
Australians are striding the global stage with unprecedented confidence in all manner of fields. But if university syllabuses are any indication, it seems that when it comes to Australian literature, the cultural cringe is alive and well.
With major universities offering only the bare minimum in courses on Australian writing and its authors, the Wheeler Centre is filling the breach. Australian Literature 101 is the university education in Australian literature you never had.
In this major new weekly series hosted by Ramona Koval, running in parallel with the university calendar, contemporary writers speak on seminal Australian texts, giving context, sharing their responses and exploring each work’s status as a classic of Australian literature. Join us to be part of a brand new assessment of our national literature.
This week, we look at Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip.
Ramona Koval is a writer, journalist and broadcaster. Her most recent book is By the Book: A Reader’s Guide to Life, published by Text in November 2012. She presents The Monthly Book Podcast and blogs at ramonakoval.com.
She edited Best Australian Essays 2012, published by Black Inc. Books, and was the presenter of ABC Radio National’s The Book Show.
Dr Kerryn Goldsworthy is a freelance writer and critic and former academic who lectured in literature at the University of Melbourne for 17 years.