Publication Details

Zhong, H. & Ommundsen, W. "Towards a Multilingual National Literature: The Tung Wah Times and the origins of Chinese Australian Writing." Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature 15 .3 (2015): 1-11.


Australian literature has over the last 50 years witnessed the gradual inclusion of writers and texts formerly considered marginal: from a predominantly white, Anglo canon it has come to incorporate more women writers, writers of popular genres, Indigenous writers, and migrant, multicultural or diasporic writers. However, one large and important body of Australian writing has remained excluded from histories and anthologies: literature in languages other than English. Is this the last literary margin? How might it be incorporated into the national canon, and how might it enhance our understanding of the cross-cultural traffic that feeds into the literature of a migrant nation? These are the questions explored in a project entitled ‘New transnationalisms: Australia’s multilingual literary heritage.’ The specific aim of the project is to trace the history of Australian writing in Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic and Spanish (and to encourage and support other scholars to produce similar histories for other language traditions); beyond that, we want to chart new directions for thinking about the relationship between local and global cultural production, shaping while at the same time interrogating the category of the national.