Thursday, November 20, 2014

Memoir Club: Fiona McGregor in conversation with Guy Davidson

 Strange Museums
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
6.00 - 9.00 PM

The Randwick Literary Institute,
60 Clovelly Road, Randwick 2031

The dictum goes: "Go to the bars of a place to understand its living. Go to the museums to understand its dead.”

Next Tuesday’s Memoir Club presents acclaimed and iconoclastic writer and performance artist Fiona McGregor, whose memoir Strange Museums takes us to both the bars and the museums of Poland, where she travelled as part of the performance duo senVoodoo in 2006

“Fiona McGregor is an Australian artist and author with the sharp eye of a crowmagpie. She took an unusual tour of Poland in 2006, to destinations determined by her life with senVoodoo... whose work evolved from 90s club culture in Sydney. They were invited to perform at a number of festivals. This takes her far off the tourist track to towns hardly worthy of a postcard, where the people are alive and hungry for art.”—Anna Hedigan, ABC RN’s The Book Show, 2009.

Font, senVoodoo (AñA Wojak & Fiona McGregor)
senVoodoo: AñA Wojak & Fiona McGregor 
(Photo: Waded, from RealTime Arts)

As critic Keith Gallasch writes in RealTime Arts magazine: “Strange Museums is no mere travel book where the lone adventurer loses herself in a foreign land at our leisure, for our pleasure in the exotic; perhaps disturbing our usual sense of self, possibly revealing the transformation or emotional growth of the writer, maybe not, Strange Museums is more driven than that: a quest to understand an unfamiliar, often evasive and sometimes hostile culture and an attempt to place the encounter in the context of being woman, lesbian, queer, Australian and artist."

Come join this extraordinary journey with Fiona McGregor, in conversation with Guy Davidson about the crafting of her challenge to traditional definitions of adventure.

Fiona McGregor is a Sydney author and performance artist. She writes novels, essays, articles and critiques, and is a regular reviewer of performance for RealTime. Since 1993, she has published 5 books. The latest, Indelible Ink, was published by Scribe in 2010 and won the Age Book of the Year in 2011. 

Fiona has been working solo as a performance artist since 2007, creating work in galleries, at festivals, as interventions, and in nature. Her more recent works include Vertigo, which culminated in a major show at Artspace in November 2011 and You Have the Body, a meditation on unlawful detention. For more info, see:

Guy Davidson is Discipline Leader of English and Writing, and Senior Lecturer at the University of Wollongong. He has published widely on gender and sexuality in literature. His book Queer Commodities: Contemporary US Fiction, Consumer Capitalism, and Gay and Lesbian Subcultures was published in 2012.

When: last Tuesday of every month. The Memoir Club goes into recess over the summer, and will recommence in March 2015.

Time: 6.00 - 9.00 PM (come for a cuppa and help us set up at 5.30 PM - please remember to bring your own cup!)

Where: The Randwick Literary Institute, 60 Clovelly Road, Randwick 2031. Tel: 02-9398 5203 (for directions and venue info). Street parking available. Clovelly bus 339 on the doorstep. For how to get there, see:

What: A communal space to meet other writers and readers and converse about all things to do with reading and writing memoir. We are interested in all kinds of life stories and in different ways of telling them. The genre of life writing and the possibilities of expanding and reworking the genre is exciting to us. Therefore we have a somewhat open and inclusive approach to what makes a memoir, and we hope you do too! Here is a space to connect with others and share ideas, questions and just hang out. Each meeting will start off with a talk, conversation or discussion about a particular topic or book, sometimes with a guest speaker or facilitator, then we move to an informal gathering and catch up.

Donation: $10 at the door for hall hire, refreshments and speakers.

Food: $15 for a plate of delicious vegetarian finger food (different each meeting). Ring or text to book a plate: 0450 907 422.

Future Speakers: the program is currently being developed and will be announced at the beginning of 2015. We'll keep you posted!

Look forward to seeing you there! Please do pass information on to anyone who might be interested in this community gathering.

mem·oir /ˈmemˌwär/
Noun. A historical account or biography written from personal knowledge. An autobiography or a written account of one's memory of certain events or people.

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us."
                                                                                                          —John Steinbeck

“What is one supposed to say in response to prejudice against one’s own, in a foreign place, in the house of such gracious hosts? Nothing unless you feel there is a sympathetic opening. And the alacrity alone with which this old chestnut has plopped onto the table is a warning in itself. My queer radar advises me: keep quiet. Protect yourself. The writer takes advantage, as writers do. Listen up, she whispers. Bear witness."
                                                                                                          —Fiona McGregor

“You can close your eyes to reality, but not to memories."
                                                                                                         —Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

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