What Happens to Women’s Voices During a Pandemic?

Join us for this week’s CuSPP Seminar (taking place via zoom)

Thursday 27 May, 4.30 – 6pm (see CuSPP email or contact monique.rooney@anu.edu.au for zoom link).

‘What Happens to Women’s Voices During a Pandemic? Studying the Impact of COVID-19 on Women Writers in Australia’

Presented by Rebecca Clode, Alice Grundy, Melinda Harvey and Julieanne Lamond

This paper presents the preliminary results from our ANU Gender Institute-funded research into the effects of COVID-19 on the ability of women writers in Australia to have their work published and read. In a context in which feminist literary activism has made measurable improvements to the attention women writers receive in Australia, we ask: what happens to these gains when a global pandemic hits? We know the social effects of COVID-19 are disproportionately impacting women in terms of employment, the home and education. Some are calling its economic effects a ‘pink recession’. What about the literary sphere? With feminist non-profit organisation The Stella Prize, we are collecting data to quantify the gendered impact of the pandemic across three interrelated groups of writers: creative writers (including playwrights); cultural critics/journalists, and literary studies academics. In this paper, we present the results of our data collection and interviews for 2019 to 2020, and pose questions about how to ensure that the literary culture that emerges from the pandemic is one in which women’s voices are heard and valued. 

Rebecca Clode is an experienced theatre director and dramaturg and is the Ethel Tory Lecturer in Drama at Australian National University.

Alice Grundy is a book editor and PhD candidate at Australian National University. Her thesis looks at editorial intervention in the work of contemporary Australian women writers.

Melinda Harvey has published widely as a book critic for over a decade and is a judge of the Miles Franklin Literary Award. She is Lecturer in Literary Studies at Monash University.

Julieanne Lamond is a Senior Lecturer in Literary Studies at Australian National University. She is a judge of the Patrick White Award and editor of the journal Australian Literary Studies. 


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