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Roderick Memorial Lecture

On 14th October the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies proudly presented the 2021  Colin Roderick Memorial Lecture. The Lecture featured a conversation with author Tony Birch and JCU academic Roger Osborne.

‘What did you do in the boat’: the universality and cultural specificity of writing and story’

Tony will initially focus on the influences of his development as a reader and the impact of literature from other places. ‘I want to talk about my reading history as a means of developing my interests in writing and storytelling. I also want to discuss the vital need to ensure that stories about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need to be owned and told by specific nations and local mob. I want to provoke a discussion, not of censorship or 'culture wars', but of ethics and the potential for cooperation and mutual respect.’

Tony Birch is the author of three novels: the bestselling The White Girl; Ghost River , which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing; and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of Shadowboxing and three short story collections, Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People. In 2017 he was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award. Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio, a regular guest at writers’ festivals, and a climate justice campaigner. Tony has recently released a new poetry collection, Whisper Songs, with a new book of short stories, Dark As Last Night, due out in August 2021(both with UQP).

Roger Osborne is a Senior Lecturer in English and Writing at JCU. His research on the trans-national nature of Australian print culture has been published widely, and his co-authored book, Australian Books and Authors in the American Marketplace 1840s-1940s, the first of two projected volumes, was published by Sydney University Press in 2018. His textual and cultural history of Joseph Furphy's Such is Life will be published by Sydney University Press in 2021.

In conversation with Tony Birch

The Foundation of Australian Literary Studies hosts an annual public lecture in memory of the late Professor Colin Roderick, CBE.  The event series provides a platform for celebrated Australian authors to share their stories that have influenced their writing.

The lecture is typically held in Winter each year and members of the public are encouraged to attend.

The series has hosted the likes of Bri Lee, Anna Goldsworthy, Drusilla Modjeska and Graeme Blundell. See the full list of previous visitors.

The event series is proudly supported by:

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