AustLit logo
Contemporary Australian Writing (LIT302)
Semester 2 / 2013


y separately published work icon El Dorado Dorothy Porter , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2007 Z1362160 2007 single work novel crime detective thriller (taught in 10 units)

'There is a serial killer stalking the streets of Melbourne. The victims are killed gently, lovingly, a gold mark traced on their forehead. This killer doesn't hate children. This killer believes in childhood innocence at any cost...El Dorado is the story of a friendship under siege, and the very long shadows that jealousy and betrayal can cast.' - back cover

y separately published work icon Carpentaria Alexis Wright , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2006 Z1184902 2006 single work novel (taught in 47 units) Carpentaria's portrait of life in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance centres on the powerful Phantom family, whose members are the leaders of the Pricklebush people, and their battles with old Joseph Midnight's tearaway Eastend mob on the one hand, and the white officials of Uptown and the neighbouring Gurfurrit mine on the other. Wright's storytelling is operatic and surreal: a blend of myth and scripture, politics and farce. The novel is populated by extraordinary characters - Elias Smith the outcast saviour, the religious zealot Mozzie Fishman, leader of the holy Aboriginal pilgrimage, the murderous mayor Stan Bruiser, the ever-vigilant Captain Nicoli Finn, the activist and prodigal son Will Phantom, and above all, Angel Day the queen of the rubbish-dump, and her sea-faring husband Normal Phantom, the fish-embalming king of time - figures that stand like giants in this storm-swept world. (Backcover)
y separately published work icon The Boat Nam Le , Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2008 Z1495449 2008 selected work short story (taught in 42 units)

'In the magnificent opening story, "Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice," a young writer is urged by his friends to mine his father's experiences in Vietnam - and what seems at first a satire on turning one's life into literary commerce becomes a transcendent exploration of homeland, and the ties between father and son. "Cartagena" provides a visceral glimpse of life in Colombia as it enters the mind of a fourteen-year-old hit man facing the ultimate test. In "Meeting Elise" an ageing New York painter mourns his body's decline as he prepares to meet his daughter on the eve of her Carnegie Hall debut. And with graceful symmetry, the final, title story returns to Vietnam, to a fishing trawler crowded with refugees where a young woman's bond with a mother and her small son forces both women to a shattering decision.' (From the author's website.)

y separately published work icon The Best Australian Essays : A Ten Year Collection Collingwood : Black Inc. , 2011 Z1774371 2011 anthology essay (taught in 3 units) The Handbag studio / Thomas Keneally -- The tall man / Chloe Hooper -- The one day / David Malouf -- A city obsessed / John Birmingham -- Arrayed for the bridal / Helen Garner -- Big Louis / Inga Clendinnen -- On becoming a Mormon for a while and other madnesses / M.J Hyland -- Patrick White: the final chapter / David Marr -- The great generation of Australian policy / Clive James -- Arthur Boyd: a life / Barry Humphries -- The first sense / Robyn Davidson -- Into a liquid ether / Christos Tsolkas -- Unforgiven / Craig Sherborn -- "What're yer lookin' at yer fuckin' dog?": violence and fear on Zizek's post-polictical neighbourhood / Kevin Brophy -- Bradman the liberator / Frank Devine -- Late starter / Jessica Anderson -- From the red country / Alan Frost -- Flames of death / Gary Hughes -- The inferno / Christina Kenneally -- He and his Man: the 2003 Nobel lecture / J.M Coetzee -- The good old books / Peter Porter -- The experience of literary translation / Simon Leys -- Like love in a marriage / Anna Goldsworthy -- The long fall into steel / Brenda Walker -- Ebony: the girl in the room / Anne Mann -- Shoulder-deep in the entrails / Shane Maloney -- White guilt, victimhood and the the quest for a radical centre / Noel Pearson -- Pearson's gamble, Stanners dream / Robert Mann -- Out of control: the tragedy of Tasmania's forests / Richard Flanagan -- September 11 / Gay Alcorn and Mark Riley -- Darwin's big idea / Nicholas Rothwell -- The lady or the tiger? / Tim Flannery -- The grand illusion / Robert Dessaix -- Tourism / Benjamin Law -- Trouble on the night shift / Anna Krien -- Silent country: travels through a recovering landscape / Tim Winton -- Home truths: revisiting Wake in fright / Kate Jennings -- Quod Potero Sedulo / David Foster.
y separately published work icon The Turning Tim Winton , Sydney : Picador , 2004 Z1146280 2004 selected work short story (taught in 12 units)

The Turning comprises seventeen overlapping stories of second thoughts and mid-life regret set in the brooding small-town world of coastal Western Australia. Here are turnings of all kinds - changes of heart, nasty surprises, slow awakenings, sudden detours - where people struggle against the terrible weight of the past and challenge the lives they've made for themselves.

These elegiac stories examine the darkness and frailty of ordinary people and celebrate the moments when the light shines through.

form y separately published work icon Samson and Delilah Warwick Thornton , ( dir. Warwick Thornton ) Scarlett Pictures CAAMA Productions , 2009 Z1561915 2009 single work film/TV (taught in 9 units)

'Samson and Delilah tells the story of two Aboriginal teenagers in a remote community. They live in a sparse environment but one that absorbs all manner of cultural influences, where dot painting and country music exist side by side. Samson gets through his days by sniffing, while Delilah is the caregiver for her nana before taking a moment for herself to listen to Latino music. Their journey ranges across many of the most urgent issues concerning Indigenous people in Australia, homelessness, poverty, domestic violence and substance abuse, but it does so with tenderness, dignity, and even humour.'

Source: Adelaide Film Festival website, Sighted: 23/02/2009

y separately published work icon The Best Australian Poems 2011 John Tranter (editor), Collingwood : Black Inc. , 2011 Z1812782 2011 anthology poetry (taught in 1 units) 'In The Best Australian Poems 2011, renowned poet John Tranter selects the finest poems written by Australians over the past year. The vibrant and unforgettable voices of established poets blend seamlessly with the fresh voices of emerging poets in this sublime collection.' (From the publisher's website.)


This subject aims to provide students with an opportunity to study some of the most recent Australian writing. It is intended that this subject will complement the Australian Literature subject.

Other Details


The subject will cover the following topics:

The major developments in Australian poetry and prose since the 1970s with special reference to: Tradition and experiment; The migrant experience in literature; Black Australian voices; Women's voices in contemporary Australian writing; Post-modernism and other forms of cultural discourse as seen in contemporary Australian writing.

Offered in: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Current Campus: Wagga Wagga
Levels: Undergraduate