Francesca Rendle-Short is an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. She is co-director of the non fictionLab Research Group and WrICE (Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange). An award winning novelist, memoirist and essayist, her Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong received an Examiners’ Commendation for Outstanding Thesis. Her most recent book is the critically acclaimed memoir-cum-novel Bite Your Tongue (Spinifex Press) shortlisted for the 2012 Colin Roderick Literary Award. In 2013, she was the recipient of the International Non fiction Writer Fellowship to the University of Iowa Non fiction Writing Program, USA. Website: http://www.francescarendleshort.com
Two years before she died, Susan Sontag spoke about the power of fiction, how it is through inventions of a writerly kind – telling stories, ‘spitting out truths’ – that we receive ‘an education of the heart’. This Sontagian vision underpins my Doctor of Creative Arts consisting of companion volumes: Bite Your Tongue, a novel, and A Book of Pineapple, a theorised memoir as annotation/eisegesis. The creative work embodied in this eisegetic research-as- practice – based on play and uncertainty or ‘loose thinking’ as I call it – interrogates ideas of shame and silence, and how a writer’s body operates and survives as the language of process. In practice it seeks to make a different kind of world in which it is possible to learn love – to speak it, write it, perform it. In her review of the novel- cum-memoir Bite Your Tongue, a creative outcome of this research, academic Dominique Hecq writes: ‘Tongues are for speaking, kissing, eating, licking, drinking, singing, spitting and praying. Tongues slither, laze, loll, fall off. Tongues tell stories, spit out truths; they lie and sin [...] Here is no Babel. Here is fantastical tongue-atorium.’ This presentation-as- performance will explore the unbiting of tongue through image and word, process and dialogue.