The Faculty partnered with the Association for the Study of Australian Literature to present a day devoted to the celebration of David Malouf and his writing – a precursor to his 80th birthday in 2014. The Symposium was held at ACU North Sydney Campus on 31 May 2013 and attracted some one hundred registrants.
Papers covered a range of aspects in Malouf's work: his juvenilia (Dr Yvonne Smith), his early poetry (Associate Professor James Tulip), the role of the suburb in Johnno (Dr Brigid Rooney), queer sound in Blood Relations (Dr James Marland), history as fiction in Ransom (Ms Kate Matthew), patrimony in 12 Edmondstone Street (Dr Stephen Mansfield), queer epiphanies in Malouf's fiction (Dr Damien Barlow), and the characteristics in Malouf's work that set him apart from other writers (Professor Nicholas Jose).
The conference papers will be included in an edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (JASAL), to be edited by Michael Griffith and Elaine Lindsay (co-organisers of the Symposium).
The Symposium had an international aspect with a tribute from noted literary theorist and author, Ihab Hassan, and a Skype interview with Irish writer Colm Toibin, recorded with Michael Griffith. David Malouf was present throughout the day, conversing with speakers and registrants alike. The afternoon ended with Malouf reading a selection of his poetry and responding to the papers in a wide-ranging conversation with Professor Ivor Indyk and the audience.
The David Malouf Symposium offered readers, academics, teachers and students a unique opportunity to spend a day in the company of one of Australia's foremost authors, discussing his work and realising, as Dr Smith subsequently noted, 'a better sense of researching in a broader community'.
Feedback from participants
'A great conference ... I found it very stimulating and rewarding both intellectually and socially.'
(Dr Damien Barlow, La Trobe University).
'It was marvellous ... sincere thanks and congratulations ...on a well-conceived symposium.'
(Professor Nicholas Jose, University of Adelaide).'
Congratulations on a superb symposium. The day went seamlessly and the quality of most of the papers was excellent. The Skype interview with Colm Toibin was a bit of a highlight. Well done. Your care in planning and organisation paid off. It was a wonderful tribute to David and a great day all round.'(Dr Bernadette Brennan, University of Sydney, President, Association for the Study of Australian Literature).
Call for Papers
Further papers on Malouf, his writing and its reception are now invited for possible inclusion in JASAL. Reference to the Symposium website will provide an idea of areas already covered.
Professor Gail Crossley, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, David Malouf and Professor Wayne McKenna, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Group photo of the speakers and organisers - left to right: Stephen Mansfield, Michael Griffith, Ivor Indyk, Elaine Lindsay, Bernadette Brennan, David Malouf, Nicholas Jose, Kate Matthew, James Marland, Yvonne Smith, Brigid Rooney, James Tulip