Using genre to communicate purpose

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


    Categorising works by genre can be controversial in literature. Margaret Atwood and Kazuo Ishiguro are two examples of writers who have been vocal in denouncing the genre their works have been boxed into. Yet in applied linguistics, genre is seen as an essential part of the writing process, because specific language, styles and structures are used within different social contexts to communicate purpose. This paper analyses different iterations of what became a novella-length memoir, structured in vignettes, to illustrate how the purpose of my writing dictated the genre of the final version of the text. While genre did not dictate the writing process from the first time I sat down to write, communicating my purpose the way I intended depended on finding the right genre. I worked on the memoir over a few years, and in that time the text began as fiction and then morphed to poetry, personal essay, and finally, to a memoir told in vignettes. While I initially resisted memoir, as I continued through the writing process it became clear that memoir was the genre best suited to my purpose. Genre was a tool I used to construct my writing in order to clearly communicate my purpose.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages2
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
    EventAustralasian Association of Writing Programs Annual Conference: Climates of Change - Flinders University, Adelaide
    Duration: 29 Nov 20171 Dec 2017


    ConferenceAustralasian Association of Writing Programs Annual Conference
    Internet address


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