Addressing Author/ity

by Michelle


Blogtalk Radio with Magdalena Ball


I was jet lagged when I recorded this interview with Magdalena Ball, so apologies for the fact that I get tongue tied at the end, but it was good to talk about being positioned between nations and other imaginaries; the gender and genre fluidity in Letter to Pessoa, and the joy of writing fiction, immersing oneself in the possibilities of language; the heteronym as a mask inviting democratic readings, the act of blogging as a rhetoric of empowerment. Maggie reminded me that although my letters are addressed predominantly to male authors, they are subversive in their address to author/ity.

I’ve been thinking about race and caste for an essay that I’m writing; reading Ambedkar, reading Fanon and Ta-Nehisi Coates; and here’s a small piece I wrote for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, before the nightmare of last week. I feel for African-American lives, for Latinos, for the disabled and the poor in America. More terrifying is the normalising of this blatant racism; and the hierarchies it upholds even from our hemisphere, while the Border Forces and a militarised government perpetuate their abuses of human rights in the camps on Manus and Nauru. Now people in the fringes of society, those of colour will be mediated and authored even more than ever as we are told what is, and what is not, prejudice, as they write our history and continue to steal our language.

An approach to being mediated by the predominantly white mainstream is to speak back; refusing to be silenced. But in addressing authority we must know and understand the historical, psychological, chronotropic crisis of our discourse. We must be prepared to break the rules and make this our discipline. We must never expect to be comfortably absorbed by, or  anchored ‘into’, the mainstream.

More about this soon.

Oh, and I have been interviewed by Daniel Young, editor of Tincture, a link to which I’ll post here soon.