This is the first published collection of critical essays on the work of Kate Grenville, one of Australia's most important contemporary writers. Grenville has been acclaimed for her novels, winning numerous national and international prizes including the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Her novels are marked by sharp observations of outsider figures who are often under pressure to conform to society's norms. More recently, she has written novels set in Australia's past, revisiting and re-imagining colonial encounters between settlers and Indigenous Australians.
This collection of essays includes a scholarly introduction and three new essays that reflect on Grenville's work in relation to her approach to feminism, her role as public intellectual and her books on writing. The other nine essays provide analyses of each of her novels published to date, from the early success of Lilian's Story and Dreamhouse to the most recently published novel, The Lieutenant.
Her work has been the subject of some debate and this is reflected in a number of the essays published here, most particularly with regard to her most successful novel to date, The Secret River. This intellectual engagement with important contemporary issues is a mark of Grenville's fiction, testament to her own analysis of the vital role of writers in uncertain times. She has suggested that "writers have ways of going into the darkest places, taking readers with them and coming out safely." This volume attests to Grenville's own significance as a writer in a time of change and to the value of her novels as indices of that change and in "lighting dark places."
Sue Kossew is Professor of English at Monash University. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature and New Literatures Review and has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on postcolonial and South African literature.
Acknowledgements Introduction Susan Sheridan: Reading Feminism in Kate Grenville's Fiction Brigid Rooney: Kate Grenville as Public Intellectual Elizabeth McMahon: Author! Author! The Two Faces of Kate Grenville Bill Ashcroft: Madness and Power: Lilian's Story and the Decolonized Body Kwaku Larbi Korang: "Africa and Australia" Revisited: Reading Kate Grenville's Joan Makes History Ruth Barcan: "Mobility is the Key": Bodies, Boundaries, and Movement in Kate Grenville's Lilian's Story Kate Livett: Homeless and Foreign: The Heroines of Lilian's Story and Dreamhouse Alice Healy: "Impossible Speech" and the Burden of Translation: Lilian's Story from Page to Screen Sue Kossew: Constructions of Nation and Gender in The Idea of Perfection Eleanor Collins: Poison in the Flour: Kate Grenville's The Secret River Sarah Pinto: History, Fiction and The Secret River Lynette Russell: Learning from Each Other: Language, Authority, and Authenticity in Kate Grenville's The Lieutenant Bibliography Notes on Contributors Index