Fem Book Club is an introduction to a diverse range of novels by women about women.
Through informal conversation about each text we will focus on the manifold experiences of being a woman through different moments in history and across varying communities. It is an opportunity to think about and challenge what it means to be a woman and perhaps undermine any assumed universal experience by looking at how people of colour, transgender and non-binary identifying writers, or those who suffer with mental health issues have vastly different experiences of ‘feminism’ or what it is to be a ‘woman'.
Each Fem Book Club we will focus on an individual text and use it as a departure point to discuss the authors' wider oeuvre and importance in the realm of feminist conversation — how can we use these stories to navigate the world or inform how we think about our place within it?
Your host for Fem Book Club is Kelly Fliedner who has a diverse practice as a writer, curator, teacher, producer and… book club master! Recently Kelly has worked with the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, based in South India, as Writer and Editor. Previously she was based in Melbourne and held various roles at West Space, a contemporary art organisation, Monash University Museum of Art, La Trobe University, and MPavilion. In 2016 she worked on creative projects for Next Wave Festival, Melbourne and the Biennale of Sydney.
BOOK #4 — Alexis Wright The Swan Book
The Swan Book is set in a dystopian Australian future, ravaged by climate change and the legacies of colonialism. It follows the life of a mute young woman called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city.
Central to The Swan Book are questions of identity, including race, language, gender and class, with an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people.