H.C. Coombs Fellow Amanda Lohrey will talk about whether fiction can make an effective political intervention. If the novel comes after the event and is a chronicle of, or argument with, a political event, does that mean that fiction is unable to shape such occurrences? Could fiction have a different role in more repressive societies, and achieve a form of symbolic power as a gesture of resistance, or fortify the morale of activists on the ground? To quote Marcuse, art by itself can never achieve transformation, but it can under certain circumstances ‘free the perception and sensibility needed for the transformation’. Amanda Lohrey’s lecture will look at the role of fiction and its ability to influence the political sphere.
Amanda Lohrey is the author of the acclaimed novels Camille’s Bread, Vertigo and The Morality of Gentlemen, as well as the award-winning short story collection Reading Madame Bovary. She has written two Quarterly Essays: ‘Groundswell’ and ‘Voting for Jesus’. In 2012 she was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award.