Jerome Rothenberg spoke as part of the 2017 seminar program on Writing Through: Translation and Othering as Forms of Composition.

Our Next Seminar

Sienna Brown - author of Master of My Fate in conversation with Ben Etherington  

Friday 26 July 2019
11am – 12:30pm

Location: Female Orphan School, conference room 1, EZ.G.23, Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University(Corner of James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road, Rydalmere)

Sienna Brown’s debut novel fictionalises William Buchanan’s journey to become his own master, from slavery in Jamaica to eventual freedom in colonial New South Wales. Based on a real historical figure who was enslaved from birth on a plantation, Buchanan escaped the gallows more than once. His part in the slave uprisings in Jamaica in the 1830s led to his transportation across the world as one of several Caribbean convicts sent to New South Wales. Sienna Brown will discuss the challenges of writing a first-person account using the creole language spoken by the enslaved people of Jamaica, of which there is only a fragmentary record. She will also talk about the challenges of researching a historical novel across continents and widely different realities, and discuss her own motivation for telling the story of a man whose transnational itinerary she followed almost two centuries later when she moved from Jamaica to Australia.

SIENNA BROWN was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Canada. But it wasn’t until a move to Sydney that she came across William Buchanan’s story and was struck with a sense of fate – this story of a lost man far from home resonated with her own feelings of displacement. A lifelong storyteller and daughter of Jamaican parents, Sienna was captivated by William’s story and the way it intersected with her own cultural background. She is a professional dancer, film editor and documentary director by trade, and worked at Sydney Living Museums, where she first came across William’s story. She is currently working on her second novel.

BEN ETHERINGTON is a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre and the president of the Australian Association for Caribbean Studies.  His current project traces the emergence of a creole poetics in the Anglophone Caribbean in the period between the abolition of slavery and political independence.

RSVP Ms Suzanne Gapps (
All welcome.

Our seminars are free and open to visitors from outside the university. If you want to come along to one of our seminars simply RSVP by sending an email to indicating which seminar you wish to attend.

The Parramatta South campus is accessible by public transport including University shuttle bus. See the Getting to uni page for more details.

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