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What have the French ever done for us? Literary soirée

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The University of Adelaide (Napier Lecture Theatre 102)

North Terrace

Adelaide, SA 5005

Australia

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This panel discussion will focus on the enduring legacy of the French literary tradition and on the influence of French Theory on our ways of seeing the world. Acclaimed novelist Brian Castro will talk about his personal connection with French literature and the impact it has had on his own writing. Cultural Studies specialist Stephen Muecke will consider how French Theory has changed our ways of "reading" society and culture. Writer and academic Françoise Grauby has recently published a book exploring the reasons why there is still much resistance to the concept of teaching creative writing in France. In addition to talking about the stubborn persistence in France of the image of the “inspired genius” that emerged in the 19th century, she will address the question of how you position yourself as a (French) writer with respect to that weighty literary tradition.

Notes on the authors

Born in Hong Kong of Portuguese, Chinese and English parentage, Brian Castro lives in Adelaide and is the author of eleven novels and a volume of essays. He has received eight major Australian awards for literature. His latest novel Blindness and Rage was published by Giramondo in April 2017. He is currently Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide and was the 2014 winner of the Patrick White Award for Literature.

Stephen Muecke is Jury Chair of English Language and Literature in the School of Humanities at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He is a writer specialising in cross-generic work; a recent publication is The Mother’s Day Protest and Other Fictocritical Essays (Rowman and Littlefield International, 2016). He also works on cultural theory, with a special edition of New Literary History (“Recomposing the Humanities—with Bruno Latour”), 2016. He has a long record of work with Indigenous people (a new edition of Paddy Roe’s Gularabulu: Stories from the West Kimberley appeared with UWA Publishing, 2016), and current research involves ethnographic documentation of Goolarabooloo county north of Broome, Western Australia, using a ‘multirealist’ approach. He has recently translated two books by Isabelle Stengers: Another Science is Possible, and (Stengers with Tobie Nathan), Doctors and Healers (both with Polity, 2018).

Associate Professor Françoise Grauby (University of Sydney) has published extensively on French literature from the nineteenth century to the present, with a particular focus on the representation of the writer at work. Her latest book, Le Roman de la création, Écrire entre mythes et pratiques/The Novel of Creative Writing: Between Myth and Practice (2015), examines the impact of creative writing programs in France and their growing popularity. She has also worked on various aspects of French culture and literature, including medical discourses and popular beliefs about the body, “autofiction” and Aids literature (Hervé Guibert), crime fiction, and Michel Houellebecq and the author's “posture”. She is the author of two novels published by Maurice Nadeau.

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The University of Adelaide (Napier Lecture Theatre 102)

North Terrace

Adelaide, SA 5005

Australia

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