Sydney Launch of Mud Map: Australian Women’s Experimental Writing – Text Special Issue 17

TEXT Special Issue No 17 April 2013: Australian women’s experimental writing  Editors: Moya Costello, Barbara Brooks, Anna Gibbs & Rosslyn Prosser. To be launched in Sydney at The Reading Studio Berkelouw Books, 70 Norton Street Leichhardt. 5.30 pm Friday 19 July.

Mud-mapAnna Gibbs, in her introduction to Mud map: Australian women’s experimental writing, writes that the original intention of the collection was to be a “landmark anthology of Australian women’s experimental writing in the vein of thje maps made by collections of the 1970s and 1980s: Mother I’m Rooted (edited by Kate Jennings, 1975)….and F(r)ictions (edited by Anna Gibbs and Alison Tilson, 1982)”. Somewhat surprisingly the editors found it difficult to find a publisher for a contemporary anthology which would seek to expand upon the traditions of the earlier landmark anthologies. (the reasons why contemporary publishers refused to pick up and support the concept of the anthology probably deserves a seperate, in depth, discussion). Faced with this apparent road block the editors opted for a journal publication as a special issue of the online journal TEXT (the Journal of the Association of Australian Writing Programs).

The result is an exciting online anthology of ‘experimental’ writing by MTC Cronin, Jill Martindale Farrar, joanne burns, Jo Gardiner, Loma Bridge, Carolyn van Langenberg, Jenna Sten, Pam Brown, Sal Brereton, Sarah Holland-Batt, Nour Dados, Tiffany Hambley, Ashley Haywood, Teri Hoskin, Kate Lilley, Maria Zajkowski, Linda Marie Walker, Emma Ashmere, Cath Davies, Virginia Barratt, Hoa Pham, Nasrin Matouhchi, Anne Brewster, Jordie Albiston, Karina Barker, Barbara Holloway, Naomi Horridge, Ella O’Keefe, Jyanni N’Steffensen, Gillian Barlow, Robyn Ferrell, Gig Ryan and Kathleen Mary Fallon.

Of particualr interest in Gibb’s introduction is her desciption of what consitutes ‘experimental’ writing. While covering off the convention desciptions “cut-up, collage, appropiation, automatic writing….” and “the body of contemporary work that derives largely from North American  L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E traditions”, shew also hints a broader definition: “What would happen, then, if we took work by women to define  the experimental – if the idea of experimentalism was generated from the work itself rther than any particular pre-given image of the experimental?” Such a discussion on the definition of ‘experimental’ writing, particularly in the Australian contex,  is one well worth having, and one I hope we can return to in Rochford Street Review in a future in depth review of this anthology.

The anthology will be launched in Sydney this Friday.

– Mark Roberts

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