Last week I have attended several insightful online sessions at the Melbourne Writers Festival. One of the sessions focused on the role of literature at the time of social crisis, climate change and the roles of literature in the education system in Australia. From this session I have learned that the literature serves an important role in society, it helps us to negotiate and understand societal problems and understand stories of “the other”. For kids, literature serves as a way to understand their identity and their country.
Australian literary landscape includes colonial writings, yet other less prominent streams focus on indigenous writings and writings of recent immigrants. In secondary schools, for example, Australian literature remains a fragile and fragmented area. It is only recently (since 2007) that the Australian literature was mandated within curriculum in schools. Australian schools place way more focus on the world literature as opposed to the Australian literature. This tendency could be explained by the dominant legacies of colonialism and historical traditions.
Literary education within Australian schools is also influenced by the political matters. The neo-liberal government places strong focus on the exams and students scores. It is the content of these exams that drives the curriculum choices and sharpens students’ focus. While teachers get increasingly high workloads and administrative burdens, they should be the cheerleaders of the Australian literature. Australian teachers should balance the need for global education and local knowledge.
After all, our training and education determine how we read and understand books. “You don’t read a text, but a text reads you”. Indeed, I notice myself that my international background shapes my interpretations of Australian books. It is very surprising that Australian schools don’t include much of Australian literature (I haven’t studied myself in Australia). I have to still familiarize myself with Australian literary landscape. My next blog posts will outline this interesting journey.
Soon Netflix will release new TV series on “Anna Karenina” novel by Tolstoy, so it is perfect time to read this magnificent masterpiece. Fortunately, it is not Keira Knightley who is going to star as Karenina this time. Oh, well… Here are a few other reasons to read this book now: Mastery of human psychology … Continue reading “Why should you read Anna Karenina?”
“The truth is that we are more connected than we realise – that we are not alone in this world, but part of one big family.” This is a fairly short and comprehensive presentation of Australian Aboriginal culture. It is well written and beautifully argued. Munya has clearly succeeded in presenting Aboriginal values and ideals … Continue reading ““Journey into Dreamtime” by Munya Andrews”
I am doing a creative writing course and thinking now of an idea for a short story. Looking for inspiration, tips and writing style ideas I decided to re-read the short story “Cream” from the latest collection of stories by Haruki Murakami “First person singular”. It is my favourite story from this short story collection. … Continue reading ““Cream” by Haruki Murakami”