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Sat, 11 Nov


Better Read Than Dead

Shooting Blanks at the ANZAC Legend: Donna Coates Book Launch

Join us to celebrate the launch of Shooting Blanks at the ANZAC Legend: Australian Women's War Fictions by Donna Coates. Donna will be in-conversation with Susan Murray.

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Shooting Blanks at the ANZAC Legend: Donna Coates Book Launch
Shooting Blanks at the ANZAC Legend: Donna Coates Book Launch

Time & Location

11 Nov 2023, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Better Read Than Dead, 265 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia


About The Event

War is traditionally considered a male experience. By extension, the genre of war literature is a male-dominated field, and the tale of the battlefield remains the privileged (and only canonised) war story.

In Australia, although women have written extensively about their wartime experiences, their voices have been distinctively silenced. Shooting Blanks at the Anzac Legend calls for a re-definition of war literature to include the numerous voices of women writers, and further recommends a re-reading of Australian national literatures, with women’s war writing foregrounded, to break the hold of a male-dominated literary tradition and pass on a vital, but unexplored, women’s tradition.

Shooting Blanks at the Anzac Legend examines the rich body of World Wars I and II and Vietnam War literature by Australian women, providing the critical attention and treatment that they deserve. Donna Coates records the reaction of Australian women writers to these conflicts, illuminating the complex role of gender in the interpretation of war and in the cultural history of twentieth-century Australia.

By visiting an astonishing number of unfamiliar, non-canonical texts, Shooting Blanks at the Anzac Legend profoundly alters our understanding of how Australian women writers have interpreted war, especially in a nation where the experience of colonising a frontier has spawned enduring myths of identity and statehood.

Donna Coates was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. She is an Associate Professor in the English Department of the University of Calgary, Canada. She is a long-term member of the American Association of Australasian Literary Studies. She has written extensively about the responses of women from Australia, Canada, New Zealand to twentieth-century wars.

Susan Murray is manager and publisher at Sydney University Press. She is commissioning editor for two of the Press’ book series, Sydney Studies in Australian Literature, and Public and Social Policy. She also manages other publishing projects for the University of Sydney Library, including Sydney Open Journals and the Australian Poetry Library. Susan has worked at the confluence of technology, media and information management for over 20 years, having worked for the Sydney Morning Herald, the State Library of NSW, and as a freelance web developer. She is a member of the Scholarly and Journals committee for the Australian Publishers Association.


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