Women Writing: Views and Prospects 1975-1995

18 November 1995
[Group photo]

LEFT: Back row L to R: Virginia Barrett, Efi Hatzimanolis, Elizabeth Weiss, Bronwen Levy, Stephanie Dowrick, Katie Holmes, Jackie Huggins Front row L to R: Sophie Cunningham, Sara Dowse, Anna Couani

This seminar was held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of International Women's Year. The seminar served to remind the audience that the National Library is a custodian of the papers of women writers, some of whom appeared on the program.

Women's writings in the National Library's collections reflect and record a variety of experiences from the letters recording impressions of life in the colonies to the creative works of writers and poets from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Library collects records of The Society of Women Writers (Australia). These collections provide access to the voices of many historically 'silent' women, as well as women who have achieved public prominence.

The National Library of Australia also collects other works of significant Australian women. For example you can access online:

Many of the seminar speakers are distinguished in the fields of creative and academic writing or in publishing and editing. The keynote address by Bronwen Levy examined contemporary women's writing over the previous 20 years. Katie Holmes explored the ways women's writing can challenge our understanding of the past and offer points of departure for future readings.

A panel discussion involving both sides of the publishing industry offered perspectives on the relationships between authors and publishing houses and between authors and readers. Panellists included Stephanie Dowrick, Elizabeth Weiss and Sara Dowse. The formation of women's presses and the movement of feminist books to mainstream presses was addressed.

A second discussion session concentrated on personal perspectives on the practice, the frustrations and the theory surrounding women writing and the new media. Jackie Huggins, Anna Couani and Efi Hatzimanolis offered insights into their own writing and thinking. Virginia Barrett talked about women and the Internet, the explosion of virtual communities and the social paradigms developing in these metaworlds.

The seminar closed with an address by Sophie Cunningham, Trade Publisher with Allen and Unwin. She discussed future perspectives on women, writing and publishing.

To read a paper select its author. Sound files of recordings of the authors speaking at the seminar are being edited and will become available in the near future.

Note that the individual authors hold copyright for their papers. The views expressed in those papers are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Library of Australia.


[Bronwyn Levy]

Bronwyn Levy
Keynote address: Different Views, Longer Prospects

[Anna Couani]

Anna Couani Women Writing

Panel Discussion: Publishing: Fact and Fiction

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