Jen Webb

Jen Webb

Jen Webb is Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice at the University of Canberra, and Director of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research in the Faculty of Arts and Design. Her recent work includes the scholarly volumes Researching Creative Writing (Frontinus Press, 2015) and Art and Human Rights: Contemporary Asian Contexts (with Caroline Turner; Manchester UP, 2016), and the poetry volumes Watching the World (with Paul Hetherington; Blemish Books, 2015), Stolen Stories, Borrowed Lines (Mark Time, 2015) and Sentences from the Archive (Recent Work Press, 2016).

Jen Webb reviews 'Blakwork' by Alison Whittaker and 'Walking with Camels: The story of Bertha Strehlow' by Leni Shilton

April 2019, no. 410 25 March 2019
Jen Webb reviews 'Blakwork' by Alison Whittaker and 'Walking with Camels: The story of Bertha Strehlow' by Leni Shilton
Alison Whittaker’s début collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire (2015), introduced a genuinely new voice to Australian poetry: that of a Gomeroi woman, a Fulbright scholar, and a poet who can bend and blend forms with the best of them. Her second collection of poems, Blakwork, places her firmly in both the broad community of celebrated Australian poets and the celebrated Aboriginal writers in M ... (read more)

Jen Webb reviews 'The Drover’s Wives: 99 reinterpretations of Henry Lawson’s Australian Classic' by Ryan O’Neill

August 2018, no. 403 27 June 2018
Jen Webb reviews 'The Drover’s Wives: 99 reinterpretations of Henry Lawson’s Australian Classic' by Ryan O’Neill
‘The Drover’s Wife’ was one of the first stories I read when I arrived in Australia. I was living in the bush then, in hard beautiful country, and though my difficulties were First World Problems I shared the Wife’s nostalgia for nights in comfortable hotels, reliable transport, medical services. I did admire the story, though its casual racism disturbed me; but I remain surprised by the h ... (read more)

States of Poetry Series Three - ACT | State Editor's Introduction by Jen Webb

States of Poetry ACT - Series Three 24 May 2018
Well, I have now reached the end of the States of Poetry (ACT) mini-anthologies, accompanied by delight and privilege in having been able to showcase something of the poetry where I live, as well as regrets that I couldn’t include a lot more poets. Eighteen out of more than fifty (at a conservative count) published, recognised local practitioners gives a taste, only, of what the ACT has to offer ... (read more)

States of Poetry 2017 - ACT | State Editor's Introduction by Jen Webb

States of Poetry ACT - Series Two 22 February 2016
The ACT – home to fewer than half a million people, and housing less than two per cent of the national population – is a very small community, but one that is interesting, energetic, and creative. It is not particularly representative of Australia; the people are, on average, a bit younger, more likely to be employed, earning a higher annual income, and significantly more likely to hold higher ... (read more)

Jen Webb reviews 'Release the Bats: Writing your way out of it' by DBC Pierre and 'The Writer’s Room: Conversations about writing' by Charlotte Wood

October 2016, no. 385 23 September 2016
Jen Webb reviews 'Release the Bats: Writing your way out of it' by DBC Pierre and 'The Writer’s Room: Conversations about writing' by Charlotte Wood
Writers have, it seems, an insatiable appetite for reading about writing; and such advice comes in various forms. There are books that promise to teach their readers how to write in any form or genre imaginable. There are books on grammar and punctuation, on contracts, on making a living, on managing your profile. Whatever you want, it seems, you'll be able to find; though the quality is not alway ... (read more)

State Editor's Introduction by Jen Webb | States of Poetry ACT - Series One

States of Poetry ACT - Series One 22 February 2016
When I moved to Canberra in 2000, I knew it only by the stories that are told of it: of a place lacking human qualities, but full of government processes. Living here, working in the creative writing program at the University of Canberra, and pursuing my own writing practice, quickly disabused me of that. The ACT I have come to know is filled with people who make, teach, consume, critique, and pre ... (read more)

Jen Webb reviews 'The Goldfinch' by Donna Tartt

February 2014, no. 358 14 January 2014
Jen Webb reviews 'The Goldfinch' by Donna Tartt
Donna Tartt has produced just one novel a decade so far: The Secret History, which came out in 1992 to enormous success; The Little Friend, ten years later, which barely rippled the surface of the literary world; and now The Goldfinch, which I suspect will achieve at least the standing of her first novel. Her novels possess a signature of sorts: crisply polished prose, perfect syntax, beautifully ... (read more)

Jen Webb reviews 'The Swan Book' by Alexis Wright

September 2013, no. 354 21 August 2013
Jen Webb reviews 'The Swan Book' by Alexis Wright
‘Without an indigenous literature, people can remain alien in their own soil,’ wrote Miles Franklin, initiator of an Australian literary prize that has been awarded to just two Aboriginal writers: Kim Scott for Benang in 2000 and That Deadman Dance in 2011; and Alexis Wright for Carpentaria in 2007. Franklin, of course, didn’t mean Indigenous as such; but Wright has shown her capacity to pro ... (read more)

Jen Webb reviews 'Canberra' by Paul Daley

April 2013, no. 350 25 March 2013
Jen Webb reviews 'Canberra' by Paul Daley
Canberra leads a double life: by day the federal capital, crafting legislation and performing on the world stage; at night it is transformed into a suburban neighbourhood where people cook their meals and pay their bills and water their gardens. But a pervasive view of Canberra is that it is the home only of public servants on secondment; that it is just a waste of a good sheep paddock. This is a ... (read more)