Sylvia Martin

Queer memoir is particularly given to formal play, to unpacking and upsetting the conventions of genre in order to question women’s roles as both narrator and subject. Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts (2015) mixes scholarship and bodily transformation. Carmen Maria Machado’s In The Dream House (2019) unpacks the nature of narrative itself to reflect on an abusive relationship. Into this field comes Sky Swimming, Sylvia Martin’s ‘memoir that is not quite a memoir, more a series of reflections in which I act as a biographer of my own life’. For Martin, the critical distance of the biographer enables her to consider the resonances that exist between her own experiences.

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Sylvia Martin reviews 'Unnamed Desires' by Rebecca Jennings

Sylvia Martin
Tuesday, 22 December 2015

It is almost twenty-five years since Garry Wotherspoon's City of the Plain (1991) was published. In his ground-breaking history of Sydney's gay subculture, he stated that the 'history of life for lesbians in Sydney ... is more properly part of women's history'. Rebecca Jennings seeks to redress that gap in Unnamed Desires. She offers a nuanced unde ...

My Swedish neighbour is rebuilding. From my back garden I overheard her Australian builder loudly introducing her to a tradesman named Hans. ‘Now, we’re for it,’ he chortled. ‘It’ll be talk, talk, talk, no stopping you now.’ As I hung out the washing, I reflected that the Australian nervousness around ‘Continentals’ that Madeleine St John details so ...