Ghassan Hage on racism and the mob. Listen to the full conversation on White Fantasies and Arab Fictions between Ghassan Hage, Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Greg Noble.

Our Next Seminar

Emmett Stinson on Short Story Collections and the Australian Culture Market

Friday 30 June
11.00am -12.30pm
Building 3.G.55, Bankstown Campus, Western Sydney University

This paper employs bibliometric data to track the publication of single-author short story collections since the year 2000. This data demonstrates that the publication of story collections is highly variable from year-to-year, which suggests that this form is more vulnerable to changes in symbolic capital than other forms, such as the novel, which are more economically central to the publishing industry itself. I argue that the variable symbolic capital of such collections also means that trends in relation to short story publication are significant, since they act as a broader index of the value of symbolic capital in the publishing industry. Not only does the prevalence (or not) of the short story collection reflect the varying distributions of symbolic versus economic capital—which are often, though not always, in conflict in the publishing industry—but also the kind of short story collections being published often indicates what the publishing industry and other literary mediators see as containing symbolic value. Lastly, I will examine the kinds of publishers that have produced collections over this span, and will place a particular emphasis on a group of often overlooked publishers—which occupy a space between commercial, vanity, and self-publishing—that arguably sustained the single short-story collection in the early 2000s, when larger publishers had deemed them unviable. In this sense, short story collections provide a unique vantage point for understanding how literary mediation functions in the contemporary Australian publishing industry.

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