English Seminar: Small Pleasures: tracings of the endotic in everyday spaces, acts and bodies
Beth Yahp, ‘Small Pleasures: tracings of the endotic in everyday spaces, acts and bodies’
Abstract: Small Pleasures is a work of critical autobiography in progress. It explores the theme of ‘animating interior worlds’ through the body, gender, genealogy and culture. This work pulls focus to smallness and interiority in everyday acts of living and relating in contemporary Sydney and Kuala Lumpur delimited by trajectories of work, health and pleasure, or their obverse. Using, as a kind of meditation, George Perec’s notions of the infra-ordinary – ‘that which we generally don’t notice, which doesn’t call attention to itself, which is of no importance’ – and the endotic, described as a tool to ‘rescue astonishment from the forgotten obvious’ (Lorenzo Sandoval, The Endotic Institute), this work endeavours to ‘read and listen to immanent local traces’ as an approach to understanding larger global complexities that may impact upon a narrating body: experiences of racism, migration, ‘women’s business’, illness, speaking and writing. In this seminar paper, I attempt to demonstrate the use of critical autobiography, pathography and autoethnographic processes in a work of creative writing as a methodology that may prove fruitful for interrogating contested relationships between a narrator and their own body, the body’s history of place/displacement/emplacement, and the fluid and ambiguous relationships of that body with surrounding cultural landscapes.
Biography: Beth Yahp’s fiction and creative non-fiction include: The Red Pearl and Other Stories (Vagabond Press, 2017); a memoir Eat First, Talk Later (Gerakbudaya, 2018; Penguin Random House, 2015), which was shortlisted for the 2018 Adelaide Festival Award for Literature (Non-Fiction); and a novel The Crocodile Fury (Vagabond Press, 2017; Angus & Robertson, 1992). Beth wrote the libretto for composer Liza Lim’s opera Moon Spirit Feasting, which won the APRA Award for Best Classical Composition in 2003. Her current projects include a book on women and politics in Malaysia and a series of Small Pleasures set in Sydney and Kuala Lumpur. She lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney.
This event will be held online via Zoom.
Contact person: Liam Semler (firstname.lastname@example.org).