This is the website of Francesca Rendle-Short, author of the novels Bite Your Tongue and Imago:
‘Reading can tickle and turn you upside down. Make your tongue hang loose. Reading changes things.’
“I think she has done it. Bite Your Tongue is all softness and breath, achieved by careful management of voice; finding it, demanding it, censoring it and best of all, controlling it … the mother’s final weeks, is beautiful.’ Annette Hughes, The Newtown Review of Books
‘Part fable, part fact, it illustrates Rendle-Short’s literary prowess, while also taking us on a tour of archives that reveals her mother’s actions as a moral crusader, and memorabilia from a childhood when “Queensland was innocent … the going was pineapple-sweet.”’ Donata Carrazza, Australian Book Review
The novel Bite Your Tongue by Francesca Rendle-Short was published by Spinifex Press in September 2011. It is a work of the imagination that draws on found documents in the archive and on the author’s memory of that time.
Read Francesca’s redacted exegesis on her father’s work “Impossible without a body: a song, (breath), and dust” in Killing the Buddah, 7 January 2014
Denis Wood writes of this work in Katy?, an introduction of sorts:
‘Rendle-Short’s “Poetic Cartography, Love and Loss” is exemplary. A writer of essays, memoir, and fiction, Rendle-Short here presents us with an essay exploring–slippery idea–“poetic cartography,” but about the death of her father. […] She links together memoir, poetry, and cartography, but the last as a metaphor for…knowing the relationships of things? She wants to compose cartography, but in writing. In the end, I come to share her anguish–if that’s right–in her father’s death and his strong creationism, but cartography seems to be her way of suggesting…knowledge.
And of course mapmaking is a way of knowing…’
Francesca appeared at the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators conference in Manila 2015.
Francesca also facilitated a very successful workshop with David Carlin called Essaying Manila.
Image by David Carlin: Francesca, Beth Yahp and DAI Fan at De La Salle University for the workshop
Francesca is appearing at the NonfictioNOW conference in Flagstaff Arizona in 2015 on two panels: Performing the Essay with Sophie Cunningham, Peta Murray, Lucinda Strahan and Ayse Papatya Bucak and Editing, Writing the City with Barrie Jean Borich, Aviya Kushner, and Curtis Bauer.
RMIT’s non/fictionLab and STREAT, a social enterprise dedicated to stopping youth disadvantage and homelessness ‘one meal at a time’, are partnering in a collaborative creative project that connects city dwellers to each other and to the wider community through writing and storytelling. It’s called #streatstories.
The RMIT/STREAT Creative Inkubator (2015-2017) is a collaborative creative project between the non/fictionLab and STREAT. It aims to foster a meaningful sense of belonging and connection through the making and distribution of place-based urban stories and poetic expression as a way to create prospects for social change for city dwellers and their communities.
RMIT creative collaborators include Francesca and Michelle Aung Thin as co-directors, Melody Ellis as project manager, Stayci Taylor as research assistant, Ronnie Scott as writer and editor, Kat Clarke as Indigenous advisor.
STREAT creative collaborators include Bec Scott as director and driver of the project, Mads Oustrup (intern and sound maker), Jarryd Williams (General Manager of Youth Programs), Ed Coghlan (designer).
Independent creative collaborators include writer Matt Blackwood, Alex Hotchin as cartographer and map maker, singer/songwriter Nicole Wheatley.
As part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge’s (AWW) commitment to diversity, they held a focus on lesbian/queer women writers during October 2015. Francesca’s mini essay ‘Give breath a chance’ was the final piece in a series of four.
‘I look up the words permissive and rebel, wonder what one might look like… Permissive rebel. Permissio rebellis. Permit war.
‘Who was it that said: What other people think of you is none of your business?
‘You can’t change the heart of an oppressor, but you can change your own heart.’
This is a snippet, a review of Francesca’s essay “Give breath a chance” published in ‘Focus on Lesbian/Queer Australian Women Writers‘ on Australian Women Writers Challenge. It has been singled out here as the “best of the rest”.
This new work was conceived after receiving an invitation to be a respondent/discussant for Martina Copley’s confirmation doctoral research exhibition, ‘The movement of the aside’, Victorian College of the Arts Gallery, Tuesday 17 March 2015, 2.45-3.35pm. It is called ‘Parsing the aside (the poetics of immersion and patience as dialogue)’, TEXT Journal, Special Issue, Creative Writing as Research IV, Series Number 30, October 2015.
‘In this parsing exercise, a writer-and-academic is invited to respond in writing to the visual work of a visual-artist-and-student-academic in exhibition. What follows is an account of the process as writing experience, replete with pause, reflection, improvisation; considered reflexivity, digression, resistance, repetition, proposition, and echoes of ekphrasis.
‘If I had a dictionary. If we had plasticine. If we could dance. Oh if we could fly.’
Thank you Martina Copley who offered up her creative work for this exercise, whose thinking and making was the stimulus to everything that has followed – now she sings. / the moon is / nearly new.
Image: image by Francesca, Movement of the aside - notetrail 2