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Retrospective on the QueerLit conferences (1993-95)

Saturday 5 November 2022

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Old Geology Theatre, University of Sydney


Reflect on how far we’ve come (and where we still have to go) with a retrospective on the iconic queer literary conferences that took place in Sydney between 1993-1995. Join the pioneers of the original conferences in a lively discussion of how queer culture and literature has evolved over the last 30 years. 

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Gary Dunne's short fiction has been appearing in anthologies and magazines both in Australia and overseas since the 1970s. He was a co-editor of the first Australian lgbtqi+ anthology, Edge City (1983), and editor of a number of gay anthologies for both BlackWattle Press and gay-ebooks over subsequent decades. His own published volumes include If Blood Should Stain the Lino (1983), Shadows on the Dance Floor (1991) and Winter in Bangkok (2020)  A regular contributor to lgbtqi+ newspapers, magazines and websites over the decades, Gary was also involved various community arts events including staging the QueerLit conferences in the 1990s.  His most recent  release, The Darlinghurst Boys, is an omnibus edition of his three Sydney novellas of the 1990s, charting an insider’s version of the early days of HIV/AIDS in Australia.

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Robert Tait is a writer based in Sydney. In 1995 Robert Tait published his roman à clef Mardi Gras: The Novel to considerable acclaim. 1997’s Trashtown was less successful, with mixed reviews and disappointing sales. But his collaboration with BlackWattle Press continued happily, with his online serial Perfect Gay Marriage running for years. Recently he has produced a trilogy of comic horror ebooks, Shriek!, Howl! and Gasp! Robert and his friend Gail Hewison are part of a small team behind OutStanding, the Australian LGBTQIA+ community’s short story competition. Robert owned numerous shops on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst and is still involved with the campaign to maintain the street’s queer identity against the encroachments of corporatisation and gentrification. He is particularly proud of his forceful role in having the value and significance of sex-on-premises venues acknowledged in City of Sydney’s Oxford Street queer place strategy.


Gail Hewison is a lesbian and feminist activist since mid 70s, a 78er arrested at the first Mardi Gras and was co-owner of The Feminist Bookshop from 1982-2011. Gail attended the Queer Lit Conferences in 1990s, and organised Perverse Verse many times, an event for lesbian and gay poets. She was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) 2006 for services to women, and to emerging writers. She became involved with the lesbian and gay short story competition, which became OutStanding  LGBTIQA Short Story Competition in 2012. She is Currently on the Committee and a Judge for the OutStanding Short Story Competition.

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Inez Baranay is the author of 9 critically acclaimed novels, including Turn Left at Venus (2019), as well as memoir, essays and stories. Her latest work is a biography: Drink Against Drunkenness: the life and times of Sasha Soldatow (2022). Sasha was an anarchist, artist, activist, performer, party-goer and provocateur, prominent in the early gay liberation movement; he published books, columns, and pamphlets he designed himself. Inez has taught creative writing, been a guest at conferences, seminars and literature festivals, and been a resident at various international writers’


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