Borderlands goes west…
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Our lead researcher Dr Glenn Morrison flies to Perth this week to present preliminary findings from The Borderlands Project at the 23rd annual conference 2018 of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs.
“Writers and educators are gathering from across Australia to compare notes,” says Dr Morrison. “As part of our research we’ve been talking with editors of prominent literary journals and a number of writers interstate.
“Most people we talk with are surprised the Northern Territory does not have a literary journal of its own.
“In Perth, I’ll be arguing that we definitely should have one and that it should publish material that is uniquely Territorian in feel, writing shaped by our diverse characters and on issues defined by our challenges.”
In fact, Dr Morrison argues that with interest in both the Territory and Territory literature growing so rapidly, Indigenous writers on the rise, and more and more pressure to Develop the North—but with precious few closely examining the push—the need has never been greater.
“One direction emerging from the research is to focus the journal away from the academic sphere and toward an informed but general audience, with a focus on issues, sure, but also on storytelling.
“It may be that an online incarnation of the journal can publish oral storytelling, interviews, stories in other languages, while a print version focusses on essays, fiction, poetry, that sort of thing.”
According to ABS figures, one quarter of Territory households speak a language other than English at home.
Which means there may well be important stories remaining hidden from the mainstream simply because they are told in another language.
“The possibilities are exciting, especially online, though we are envisaging platforms of both print and digital.
“But it will be important to clearly define exactly what the journal does not do, as well as what it does.”
The Perth conference is called Peripheral Visions and explores ways of writing beyond and outside the obvious, with a particular focus on writing from Australia’s regions.
The conference runs from 28-30 November.