Department of English


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Title:Collected Poems of Francis Webb

Collected Poems of Francis WebbAuthor: edited by Dr Toby Davidson, Department of English

'The Book Show' 15/3/11 on Webb (15 mins), featuring a recording by the man himself and a review by Geoff Page.



Abbas El-Zein: Interpreting Oneself: On Memoirs, Essays and Travel Writing

Abbas Elzein

If autobiography is conceived of as a structured exploration of one's self and if the 'self' is shaped in large parts by the bigger forces of culture and history, the 'memoir' opens up onto other genres. Abbas El-Zein reflects on the way his memoir Leave to Remain took shape and solidified, with the writing skirting other genres in the process. Abbas spoke to an appreciative audience of students and academics on May 11, 2009 as part of the Department of English Research Seminar Series.

Download or listen to talk (MP3) (33.9 MB)

Gina Mercer "Intimate In-Fluences: A Poet with a Few Questions about Voice"

Gina MercerAs a roving poet, audiences often ask me questions revealing a deep concern about how writers 'find' voice. These can seem naive questions in the wake of postmodernist theories but they recur, which suggests they cannot be dismissed with a simple wave of the theoretically sophisticated hand. In this paper Gina Mercer will tease out these questions and what might be going on behind them. She will particularly consider how a writer might think about them in the light of Seamus Heaney's exhortation to poets to give the reader 'aural gooseflesh' with every poem or utterance. Gina is a widely published poet and novelist, and is editor of the literary journal Island magazine. Her books include Parachute Silk, The Ocean in the Kitchen, Handfeeding the Crocodile, Seasoned with Honey, Night Breathing, Janet Frame - Subversive Fictions, and (co-editor) Postgraduate Research Supervision - Transforming (R)Elations.

Gina is Writer-in-Residence with the Department of English with generous support from the Copyright Agency Limited.

Download or listen to talk (MP3) (11.5 MB)

Download or listen to Q&A (MP3) (22.97 MB)

Professor John Stephens Once upon a time...

John Stephens

Professor John Stephens talks about books for children, their readers, and Australian writers. He even answers the sticky question, 'What should a child get out of a book?' This interview was recorded after John received 11th International Brothers Grimm Award in 2007 for his research in children's literature.

Download or listen to mp3 (10.6 MB)


How To Talk to Girls At Parties

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman read from a new short story 'How To Talk to Girls At Parties' one rainy evening to an enthusiastic audience of 250. Invited to Macquarie University as a guest of the Sydney Writer's Festival and sponsored by the Department of English, Gaiman gave a brilliant reading of his never-before-heard coming-of-age/science fiction short story. The reading was hosted by Professor John Stephens, and was followed by a Q & A session from the audience.

Download or listen to mp3 (11.34 MB)

Andrew O'Hagan

Andrew OhaganDirect from London to Australia as the department's Writer in Residence, before his appearances at the 2007 Sydney Writers' Festival, Andrew O'Hagan inspired an audience of over 100 here at Macquarie on 21st May 2007. Speaking as both a novelist and non-fiction writer O'Hagan discussed the relationship between writing and editing, read a scurrilous dialogue between young Mark and the priest David from Be Near Me, and from his London Review of Books essay, 'Disgrace Under Pressure' on Tony Blair and what's inside European lads' magazines.

Download or listen to mp3 (28.69 MB)

Mermaid of Cockatoo

Jane MesserDuring the early years of European habitation Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour was a grim place of incarceration and punishment - for convicts, for orphaned and wayward girls, for homeless and orphaned boys. Marina is 14 years old and dreams of escape from the island prison. She's a keen and sensitive observer of the privations and sorrows which surround her but has a rich inner life in which freedom is just out of reach, just over the waters. Perhaps the mermaids of her imagination will help her reach the further shore. Ella Cook is Marina. With music arranged and composed by Coralie Joyce. Sound engineers - Steven Tilley and Michelle Goldsworthy. Produced and directed by Jane Ulman. Written by Jane Messer Originally Broadcast on Airplay, ABC Radio National, Sunday 18 February and Friday 23 Febrary 2007, and first published in Best Stories Under the Sun 2 - Traveller's Tales, 2005.

Download or listen to mp3 (31.8 MB)

Writing Verbatim Theatre

Alana ValentineAs part of her residency here, playwright Alana Valentine talked in our English Research Seminar series about how she goes about writing verbatim theatre, including talking to Rabbitohs fans and opponents for her play Run Rabbit Run and working with indigenous women for Parramatta Girls. Hear about current debates and questions that surround contemporary Australian theatre writing.

Download or listen to mp3 (8.88 MB)


The Ballad of Desmond Kale

Roger McDonald novel won the 2006 Miles Franklin Award, and here Roger talks frankly to a Macquarie audience about the real and imaginary characters that compelled the writing of the novel, and the surprising alchemy possible with Australian wool.

Download or listen to mp3 (23.57 MB)