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
‘My father’s body’ was included in The Invisible Thread 100 years of Canberra writing as part of the 100 year celebration of the city of Canberra. It was later published in The Best of Science Writing 2013, eds Jane McCredie and Natasha Mitchell (NewSouth Books). It was first published in Overland #197, summer, November, 2009.
Image: lemon cake at the launch of The Invisible Thread
An improvised experimental collaborative account of the uncertain cultural life and futures of the fabpod, as of August 21, 2014.
The associated ibook (i.e. Apple only) is available for download.
How might the affordances of the essay as a writing practice be brought to bear within a workshop framework of collaborative improvisation, in response to an urban architectural model structure? This is the question that motivated this experiment, which took place in 2014 in Melbourne, in and around an innovative architectural design artefact, the Fabpod (RMIT 2012).
Image (with permission): left to right: Francesca Rendle-Short, David Carlin, Adrian Miles in the Design Hub Essaying the Fabpod, image by Yoko Akama and Adrian Miles
Francesca is leading the RMIT Honours Nonfiction lab in 2015: exploring the nexus between non and fiction. It is dedicated to doing and making and thinking. “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant,” Georgia O’Keeffe insists, “there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing—and keeping the unknown always beyond you…”
Image: Anti-Mass by Cordelia Parker, de Young Art Museum in San Francisco
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 includes an inventory of his last room and six captioned photos she took of him with her phone. “I have written about my father before,” she notes, and indeed she has–it’s a project–as she has about her mother. 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…’
Another review of Bite Your Tongue, this time from King’s College London:
“… the weather, the heat, the profuse tropical growth, the conservatism, the political corruption, the small mindedness, the strength of religiosity … an engaging, unsettling and at times darkly funny account of her childhood”.