Translating Ourselves to Ourselves: Cultivating multilingual Australian literature

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)


Australia prides itself on its multicultural identity, and this identity is increasingly explored in Australian literature. Yet these narratives are predominately constructed in English, and there is little support for cultivating multilingual writing and literary translation (Huang & Ommundsen, 2015; PENInternational, 2007). While some literary journals over the past ten yearshave published issues dedicated to translation, and the Australia Councilpreviously offered a LOTE publishing initiative, Australia’s multilingual literarycanon is often only accessible to the immediate language community.In Southerly’s translation issue, the editorial was titled ‘translating ourselvesto ourselves’, yet the phrase referred to overseas writers Australians choseto translate (Brooks, 2010). Now the challenge is to not only documentAustralia’s multilingual literatures, but to nurture Australia’s literary translationtradition so that we are literally translating ourselves to ourselvesand broadening the reach of multilingual Australian literatures. This paperanalyses Australia’s multilingual publishers and tradition of literary translationto highlight how Australia’s multilingual literatures are hidden fromAustralia’s wider literary canon, despite the fact these literatures are anessential aspect of reflecting modern Australia. Prioritising monolingualEnglish literature rejects the nation’s multicultural identity, and thus ignoreskey perspectives through which to examine Australian society.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
EventAssociation for the Study of Australian Literature Mini Conference: Desert Lines: Interventions in the Borderlands of Australian Literature - Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia
Duration: 8 Mar 20189 Mar 2018


ConferenceAssociation for the Study of Australian Literature Mini Conference
Abbreviated titleASAL Mini Conference 2018
Internet address

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Translating Ourselves to Ourselves: Cultivating multilingual Australian literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Grimmer, R. (2018). Translating Ourselves to Ourselves: Cultivating multilingual Australian literature. Paper presented at Association for the Study of Australian Literature Mini Conference, Darwin, Australia.