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Writing Australian Nature (ASLT2620 )


y separately published work icon Wonders of a Godless World Andrew McGahan , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2009 Z1604642 2009 single work novel (taught in 7 units) 'On an unnamed island, in a Gothic hospital sitting in the shadow of a volcano, a wordless orphan girl works on the wards housing the insane and the incapable. When a silent, unmoving and unnerving new patient - a foreigner - arrives at the hospital, strange phenomena occur, bizarre murders take place, and the lives of the patients and the island's inhabitants are thrown into turmoil. What happens between them is an extraordinary exploration of consciousness, reality and madness.' (Provided by the publisher.)
y separately published work icon Vertigo : A Pastoral Amanda Lohrey , Melbourne : Black Inc. , 2008 Z1535121 2008 single work novella (taught in 3 units) 'Luke and Anna decide on a sea-change. They leave the city, fleeing a past and a future that fill them with fear. On the coast they discover a natural world that is both destructive and rejuvenating. Events sweep them up and they must confront what they have tried to put behind them.' (Publisher's blurb)
y separately published work icon Dirt Music Tim Winton , Sydney : Picador , 2001 Z918096 2001 single work novel (taught in 15 units)

'Georgie Jutland is a mess. At forty, with her career in ruins, she finds herself stranded in White Point with a fisherman she doesn't love and two kids whose dead mother she can never replace. Her days have fallen into domestic tedium and social isolation. Her nights are a blur of vodka and pointless loitering in cyberspace. Leached of all confidence, Georgie has lost her way; she barely recognises herself.

'One morning, in the boozy pre-dawn gloom, she looks up from the computer screen to see a shadow lurking on the beach below, and a dangerous new element enters her life. Luther Fox, the local poacher. Jinx. Outcast...' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon The Tree of Man Patrick White , New York (City) : Viking , 1955 Z470597 1955 single work novel (taught in 6 units)

'Stan Parker, with only a horse and a dog for company journeys to a remote patch of land he has inherited in the Australian hills. Once the land is cleared and a rudimentary house built, he brings his wife Amy to the wilderness. Together they face lives of joy and sorrow as they struggle against the environment.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon The Hunter Julia Leigh , Ringwood : Penguin , 1999 Z129151 1999 single work novel (taught in 23 units)

'An unnamed man, M, arrives at a remote house on the fringe of a vast wilderness and soon disappears into a world of silence and stillness. His one mission: to find the last thylacine, the fabled Tasmanian tiger. She is said to have passed into myth but a sighting has been reported... Uncompromising and compelling, Julia Leigh's stunning first novel does not give up any of its secrets easily. The Hunter is a haunting tale of obsession that builds to an unforgettable conclusion.'

Source: Libraries Australia (Sighted 18/03/2011).

'While on his mission, the hunter lodges with a grief-ridden family of outcasts whose father has mysteriously vanished after sighting the Thylacine. The hunter succumbs more than he'd like to the family's scant charms and when tragedy strikes has to further purge his psyche to focus upon his elusive quarry. There is something tantalizing at large here as well as the mythical beast in this soul-stalking story about a group of doomed creatures whose unfortunate extinction is never really in doubt.' - Reviewed by Chris Packham, naturalist and broadcaster

Source: British Union Catalogue (Sighted 14/10/2011)


How does Australian writing engage with Australian nature? What roles have writers (in tandem with artists, photographers and others) played in shaping consciousness of the environment - its wonders, complexities and layered human histories? This unit introduces relevant conceptual frames to examine Australian literary and cultural depictions of, and engagements with nature and the environment in a range of Indigenous and non- Indigenous texts. Can literature transform the way we think about and care for the world in which we live.

Andrew McGahan, Wonders of a Godless World


Oral presentation - 1000words, Portfolio -2000 words, Essay - 1500 words

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Levels: Undergraduate