Ann-Marie Priest, My Tongue Is my Own: The Many Voices of Gwen Harwood
Gwen Harwood was known as the trickster-poet. She was enamoured of masks and disguises, and famously used pseudonyms to confound editorial expectations. In her private life, she played many roles, from Burning Sappho to the Flower of Female Fortitude. But though she had many voices (and some notable silences), she was not confused about who she was; she was at home with what she once called ‘the self that made my tongue my own’. In this talk, I want to explore the relationship between Gwen’s multiplicity of voices and my voice as her biographer, and look at the ways in which her assertion that her tongue was her own became both an invitation and a rebuke to me as I wrestled with the many stories of her life.
Ann-Marie Priest is the author of two books that draw on writers’ lives to explore cultural history. Her biography of Gwen Harwood, for which she received the 2017 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship, will be published by Black Inc. in 2022. She is a senior lecturer at Central Queensland University in Rockhampton.
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