Literature prize goes to VU work on Indigenous Australian narratives

A Victoria University academic has won a prestigious literary award for a major research work that delves into complex issues around contemporary Indigenous Australian narratives.

Professor Michele Grossman’s book Entangled Subjects: Indigenous/Australian Cross-Cultures of Talk, Text and Modernity is the joint winner of the Walter McCrae Russell Award, offered every two years for the best book of literary scholarship on an Australian subject.

The Association for the Study of Australian Literature presented the award at its annual conference at the University of Wollongong on 7 July.

Entangled Subjects challenges the textual frontier zone established by modernity in relation to ‘talk’ and ‘text’, and shows how contemporary Indigenous Australian writers offer radical new approaches to rethinking the relationship between orality and literacy in Indigenous cultural contexts.

The award’s judging panel called the book “a bold, ambitious and rigorous intervention, exhibiting impressive depth and range in its theoretical and critical engagement and venturing into complex international and interdisciplinary fields to address issues that remain at the heart of literary production and cultural history in Australia.”

“It is a great honour to win this award and to see critical thinking about Indigenous Australian textual innovations recognised in this way,” Professor Grossman said.

The award coincided with NAIDOC week, held in the first full week of July to celebrate Indigenous Australian culture.

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