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

Our Next Seminar

Room to Listen online seminar series 2021

On Literary Value - Eugen Bacon, Tamryn Bennett, David Carlin & Julienne van Loon

chaired by Catriona Menzies-Pike, Editor, Sydney Review of Books

Friday 21 May 2021
11:00am – 12:30pm online 

RSVP to Suzanne Gapps, and you will be sent the Zoom link and password on the morning of the seminar.

This seminar addresses the changing nature of literary value in 2021, against a movable backdrop of post-COVID Australia. It shares diverse findings from a collaborative project between the Sydney Review of Books and the non/fictionLab at RMIT University in Melbourne. The collaboration seeks to elicit experimental, essayistic approaches to questions of ‘value’ in the literary and cultural sectors.

Our early conversations about the project were conducted in mid-2020, as Australians were being encouraged to stay home, as university teaching transitioned online, and as writers wondered how they would secure work to pay their bills. Writers and literary scholars had, we reflected, become adept at talking about the value of their work in the terms required by funding agencies: outputs, impacts, reach. We’ve all had to learn how to apply the tools of cultural measurement to our own work and practice, even as the arts and social sciences are being devalued by governments. How do we, writers and scholars, value our own work? What is valuable about literature? We sought essay-length responses to these questions, asking for submissions that paired RMIT writers with external peers. Conversation, collaboration and exchange have been defining features of the project. The series, titled Powerful and Moving, is published on the Sydney Review of Books.

This seminar will take as its starting point three essays published by the panellists: Julienne van Loon on literary value in the wake of the current federal parliamentary inquiry into cultural and creative industries, an experimental conversation on speculative fiction by Eugen Bacon, and a foray into the social dimensions of poetry, as represented by the activities of Red Room Poetry, by Tamryn Bennett.

RSVP to and you will be sent the Zoom link and password.

**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.

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