Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Beginning Honours

One of my long term goals is to be integral in generating a larger writing and publishing scene in Western Australia.  Basically because I don't want to move.

For those of you who don't live here, let me explain.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Australia became a federated nation but the centre of the world was still pretty much London.  It was the done thing to buy English products and send your sons to English boarding schools.  The birth of Australian Literature, as a thing (and let's just say it's a thing, we can debate the thinginess of it some other time) pretty much coincided with the birth of the nation.  So, our first major novel then is Miles Franklin's My Brilliant Career which was published in 1901.

We had a few publishers over here back then, one of which being Angus and Robertson.  But they weren't interested in Franklin and so she published through a firm based in Edinburgh, thanks to that lovable drunkard Henry Lawson.

From then on, we were what Richard Nile has called in his book The Making of the Australian Literary Imagination, culture takers rather than culture makers.  Basically, we sent our books off to London (i.e. that place where all that is good and civilized is born), the London publishers made their changes, published them, and sent them back.  Not only did we import our own culture, we allowed it to be moderated.  And there was nothing the Poms loved more than thinking of us as Wild Colonials.  (Okay, I'm sure there are things that they love more, like fish and chips, and lager, and crisps and stuff.  Maybe Big Ben.)

I see a contrast between early Twentieth Century Australian publishing and Western Australian publishing now.  We have a good industry here.  We're doing the best we can.  We have writer's festivals (this weekend, YAY), a publishing house, journals (largely online), courses at our unis etc etc etc.  But I think that we could be more, and I am going to see to it.  Because if you want to get published under one of the bigger names, i.e. the ones with international offices, you have to send your work, or yourself, over east to that behemoth SydneyMelbourne.

What I hope to achieve with my Honours is to a) raise an awareness that there is such a thing as Western Australian Literature that is distinct within the category of Australian Literature b) establish that on the whole, W.A. Literature is awesome and c) make myself imminently hirable so that I can learn to edit and publish books (as well as write my own) and then create publishing opportunities left, right and centre for people like me.

There is a catch, however.

I am dead frightened that I am going to fail.  This week, I have gone from being the one of the smart fish in the big pond to being one of the more average fish in the teeny tiny brains trust fish tank.  Where the fish all wear monocles and bow ties, and say "indubitably" a lot.  This kills my will to learn.  My attitude is, if you can't be the best, what's the point.  This is bad.  Bad, Elimy, bad.  So I am pushing on.

I will keep you informed, hopefully without boring you to death.  Please send me your questions, comments and support.  Much love.

P.S. You may have noticed I deleted some blog posts from earlier this month,  I felt I was veering away from the point of this blog, and also that some of you may have been screaming NO ONE CARES at your computer screens.  If you liked hearing about my shoes etc, you can let me know, I can always post more.

Your continuing readership is heart warming. Have a great day.

1 comment:

  1. You'll have big fish to fry soon enough darlin' :) Don't let the big fish scare you! (and I'm done with the fish metaphor now).

    I think you should take on the idea in your head that if its worth the heartache, worth the struggle, and the reward at the end of the tunnel, then you push on.

    You'll get there Em. You will show the literary/publishing world that WA has potential to churn out some literary marvels like yourself. :)

    And I like hearing about shoes and how to read a book in the pool. Don't delete! Embrace!


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