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Writing conference dedicated to Indigenous writer


Sharlene King
17 November 2011
The 2011 Australasian Association of Writing Programs Conference, set down for Byron Bay from November 23 to 25, will be dedicated to Bundjalung woman and acclaimed author and historian, the late Dr Ruby Langford Ginibi.

Southern Cross University’s School of Arts and Social Sciences is hosting the 16th annual Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) Conference, under the theme ‘Ethical imaginations, writing worlds: Ethical concerns and their implications in literature and writing’.

“We are proud to be able to dedicate this conference to Dr Ruby Langford Ginibi and her extraordinary work in the field of writing, ethics and the rights of Indigenous Australians,” said Dr Janie Conway-Herron, conference convenor and a senior lecturer at the University’s School of Arts and Social Sciences.

“Aunty Ruby, who passed away last month, devoted her writing life to 'edumacating others' (Aunty’s words) about the lives of Indigenous Australians,” she said.

“A prolific writer of nonfiction books, essays, poems and short stories, her contribution to the academy has been recognised by a Doctorate of Letters from Southern Cross University, and an inaugural Doctorate of Letters from La Trobe University.”

The conference opens at 9am Wednesday, November 23, with a dedication ceremony to Dr Langford, followed by a keynote conversation between award winning Indigenous writers and commentators Rhoda Roberts and Melissa Lucashenko entitled ‘What’s the Good of Writers? Literature and Story in a Globalised World’.

The University’s Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples is proudly hosting the opening session which will be chaired by Gnibi academic programs coordinator Rachel Lynwood.

Over three days the AAWP Conference will cover 44 sessions exploring particular aspects of the nexus between writing and ethics.

The sessions will be presented by more than 140 academics from a wide range of international and national universities, from professors of writing through to aspiring PhD students presenting papers on various research interests that focus on ethical engagements in writing.

Highlights include author John Danalis and publisher Louise Thurtell in conversation about 'Walking the Tightrope Back to Country'; as well as keynote addresses from award winning author and human rights advocate Arnold Zable ('Imagination and the Power of Story'), and internationally renowned academics and writers Professor Andrew Melrose ('Here comes the bogeyman … speaking the silences and the hidden child') and Professor Stephen Muecke ('Multirealism and Research-led Writing Pedagogies').

The Australasian Association of Writing Programs is the peak advisory body for the coordination of teaching and research in creative writing programs in Australian universities.

Professor Jen Webb, chair of the AAWP Committee of Management, said: “We are delighted that the focus of this year’s conference is one of such enduring importance: the standards we apply in making works of creative writing, and the terms and politics of such work.

“In setting the theme, ‘Ethical concerns and their implications in literature and in writing’, the conference convenors have invited us all to participate in that ancient conversation about the politics of representation, and the problem of rights, ethics and morals in creative expression.”

Tickets are still available for most sessions, starting from $50, and can be purchased at the conference registration desk.

The venue for the AAWP Conference is the Byron Community Centre, 69 Jonson Street, Byron Bay NSW 2481.

The public is also welcome to attend a poetry night, featuring local, national and international poets at the Byron Bay Brewery on Thursday, November 24 starting at 7pm. Tickets are $20.
Photo: Dr Janie Conway-Herron, AAWP conference convenor.