Professor Alexis Wright talks fragile times with top Australian authors in new web series


State Library Victoria and the Faculty of Arts today launched Signposts: Stories for our Fragile Times, a new web series shining a light on the role of Australian literature in times of crisis.

The series will be hosted by award-winning Indigenous novelist and Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature Professor Alexis Wright, who will lead intimate conversations with leading names in Australian literature.

Signposts looks at how writers are responding to recent challenging events affecting Australia, exploring how literature and storytelling can guide us forward as a nation. It will unearth themes of fragility, resilience and the role of imagination and creativity in times of crisis.

In the first episode, Professor Wright will speak with acclaimed author, Nicholas Jose, discussing the fascinating history of the Song Cycle of the Moon Bone, a story of renewal: of life, of nature, and of people. With the symbol of the cyclical moon at its heart, the Song Cycle and its translated poem have been offering lessons on resilience and return for generations.

The second episode, to be released in early July, will feature 2019 Miles Franklin Award recipient Melissa Lucashenko.

Professor Wright said Signposts will offer a space for Australian writers to explore how they are navigating a volatile environment and coming to terms with their role in it.

“Writers are storytellers; their words echo universal felt experiences, adding meaning and purpose at times that feel bereft of both. As Australians navigate the fragility of this time and work to rebuild a more solid future, local writers will play an important role in telling those stories.

“I’m proud that through Signposts we will highlight a diverse range of voices from across Australian Literature, offering valuable discourse about the power of creativity in a crisis,” said Professor Wright.

State Library Victoria CEO, Kate Torney said the series is an opportunity to further support and celebrate Australian literature.

“The Boisbouvier Chair is a vital position within the Australian literary community, and we are incredibly proud to have Professor Wright in its seat. As the only author to have won the Miles Franklin Award and Stella Prize, Professor Wright gives voice to our experience on a global scale, and we are excited to hear her in conversation with other leading voices from across the country.

“Signposts further cements the Library’s special relationship with the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Arts. Both institutions share a passion for Australian stories and authors, and together, we are committed to bringing these aspects of our culture to life through projects such as this,” added Ms Torney.

There will be three episodes in the series, published on the Faculty of Arts website and State Library Victoria website in the first weeks of June, July and August.

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About Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria and The Swan Book, Wright has published three works of non-fiction: Take Power, an oral history of the Central Land Council; Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory; and Tracker, an award-winning collective memoir of Aboriginal leader, Tracker Tilmouth. Her books have been published widely overseas, including in China, the US, the UK, Italy, France and Poland. She holds the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne. Wright is the only author to win both the Miles Franklin Award (in 2007 for Carpentaria) and the Stella Prize (in 2018 for Tracker).

About State Library

Victoria Established in 1854 as the Melbourne Public Library, State Library Victoria is Australia’s oldest public library and one of the first free libraries in the world. As the custodian of Victoria’s history, each year the library adds more than 70,000 heritage items to its rich collection of articles, artworks, manuscripts, books, journals, artefacts and much more. The Library currently has almost 2 million visitors through its doors annually, and over 4.3 million annual online visits. The current CEO of State Library Victoria is Kate Torney.