Re-thinking Nature, Fact and Fiction: University of Queensland Press’ Environmental List 1965-1995

By Deborah Jordan.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the halcyon days of publishing in Australia, in the 1970s and 1980s, the University of Queensland Press (UQP) established an innovative series on the Australian Environment edited by Alan Gilpin. The series emerged from the flourishing scientific, environmental and conservation discourses. This was not the only way, or even then the central way, UQP addressed environmental issues. On the one hand, the Press actively supported the emergence of an Australian postcolonial canon in fiction and poetry through (re)publishing the works of Steele Rudd, Vance Palmer and Peter Carey. In the need to develop an international market for their books, however, fiction editors could easily and did edit out descriptions of the Australian environments. On the other hand, the Press published technical studies such as a series on Australian Ecology. With the rupture in the management of the Press in 1983, the Australian Environment series was stopped. By the 1990s with the increasing recognition of the Australian Aboriginal way of thinking about country (and the delineation of Australasian territorial copyright) UQP pulled back from developing a global market in order to establish a successful Black Australian Writers series for, primarily, a national readership. The genre of ‘bush realism’ and other new writing by non-Indigenous Australians that drew on environmental differences of the ‘new world’ in contrast to the old, as a result, shifted away from central stage in narratives of the nation.

Keywords: Australian Publishing, University Presses, Environmental Writing, Australian Literature, Culture, Nature

International Journal of the Book, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.121-134. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 859.795KB).

Dr. Deborah Jordan

Research Fellow, English, Media Studies and Art History, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Deborah Jordan is currently researching the economies of literary fiction in Australia 1965-1995, as part of a national project. Located at the University of Queensland, her contribution focuses on the history of the book through the UQP archive. A Palmer scholar, Deborah is finalising two volumes of correspondence between Vance and Nettie Palmer - their courtship correspondence and during the Spanish War. Deborah works as researcher, professional historian, writer and teacher in the university, government and private sectors - primarily on Australian cultural history and cultural production but also in local history, maritime heritage, disabilities, cultural heritage, Queensland women’s history and environmental studies. Publications include The World of Work in South Australia, East Coast Shipwrecks, The Independent Schools of South Australia. She contributed to Onkaparinga Heritage and has written and reviewed widely in Australian literature, women’s history and the environment.

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