Alice Grundy’s Exit Seminar: Editing and Publishing in Australia

Thursday 30 June, 4.30-6pm, A. D. Hope G28 (Note change of venue)

Please find link and password for livestream of this seminar here

While many scholars acknowledge that a book’s passage to publication is managed, aided and afforded by the labour of many people, in most literary scholarship such labour is ignored – perpetuating what Jack Stillinger calls ‘the myth of solitary genius’ (1991). My thesis examines the role of editing with two ends: first to reveal the dynamics at work in editorial and publishing practices; and second to better understand some of Australia’s most celebrated texts. Publishing studies is taught at a number of universities but there remains a divide between those who teach in these streams and scholars of literature. In taking six case studies – three fiction, three non-fiction – and through the use of archival research, literary criticism and book history, I demonstrate just how wide-ranging editorial intervention can be and how significant it is for our reckoning with literary production and the resulting texts. By examining Swords and Crowns and Rings by Ruth Park, The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow by Thea Astley and Tirra Lirra by the River by Jessica Anderson I show how editors act as social barometers, as facilitators and inhibitors of creative practice. By examining Don’t Take Your Love to Town by Ruby Langford Ginibi, My Place by Sally Morgan and Bad Manners by Kate Jennings, I show the dangers of good intentions, the power of intellectual engagement and the politics of cutting. This paper offers a new mode for literary and archival scholarship, foregrounding editorial labour to better understand literary work.

Alice Grundy has worked as an editor in trade publishing for over a dozen years, including as Associate Publisher at Brio and Managing Editor at Giramondo. She has taught Professional Editing at UTS and presented workshops and seminars at writers’ festivals around Australia, in India and China. Her articles and reviews have been published in Australian Literary Studies, The Sydney Review of Books, Overland and The Conversation and she has a forthcoming minigraph, Editing Fiction, Three case studies from post-war Australia with Cambridge University Press.

ANU COVID safe event: Social distancing / masks mandatory / COVID safety officer

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