Publication Details

Ommundsen, W. "Multilingual Writing in a Monolingual Nation: Australia's hidden literary archive." Sydney Review of Books 24 July 2018 (2018): 1-10.


Australian literature has over the last fifty years witnessed the gradual inclusion of writers and texts formerly considered marginal: from a predominantly white, male and Anglophone 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 remains excluded from mainstream histories and anthologies: literature in languages other than English. Research conducted at the University of Wollongong under the auspices of the AustLit project has revealed the immensity of this gap in knowledge: hundreds of writers in dozens of languages writing and publishing in Australia and overseas; lively literary exchanges of great relevance to Australian history and culture known only to specific language communities; a veritable treasure trove of neglected archives at great risk of being permanently lost.