English Seminar: On Waiting Upon: Speculations by an Australian Novelist on the Experience of Writing a Commissioned Novel
Sue Woolfe, ‘On Waiting Upon: Speculations by an Australian Novelist on the Experience of Writing a Commissioned Novel’
Abstract: Sometimes a book has a mysterious power over readers. Conventionally, the power is explained by theme, plot, character, narrative, style. This paper, written by a novelist using an interdisciplinary approach, draws on the work of turn-of-the century neuroscientist John Briggs and more recently neuroscientist Professor Liane Gabora to look at a book’s power from a creator’s point of view. Apart from ‘just scribbling’, the reason for feeling compelled to create a book is not apparent to this novelist at first, but appears gradually during the writing as ‘an inkling’ with multidimensional ‘fingerprints’ of style and voice, and toward the end of the creation, feels to her as affirming, authentic, and ultimately, healing. This healing may be infectious, and sensed by the reader. In the paper, the novelist describes the creating of her new unpublished but commissioned novel when the inkling refused to arrive; and how she had to – in Heidegger’s words – ‘wait upon’ it, rather than ‘wait for’ it.
Biography: I’m a well-published Australian novelist and I’ve taught Creative Writing at Sydney University and other universities for two decades. For my DCA, because I was curious about what’s known about creativity and the brain, I studied the neuroscience of creativity. I’ve now been teaching the neuroscience of creativity to playwrights at NIDA for eight years for their MFA programme, and for two years, because the early brain activities are known to be similar for all artists, to musicians and composers at the Music School at ANU. I’ve been invited this year to do a guest lecture to the music class of neuroscientist Professor Liane Gabora of British Columbia.
This event will be held online via Zoom.
University staff and students can join the event in the Woolley Common Room, Level 4, John Woolley Building (A20).
Contact: Liam Semler (email@example.com).
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