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Writing the Other: Representation, Appropriation and Respectful Research

23 October 2021 | 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm

Debate continues as to whether an author should only write from the confines of their own experience, gender, sexual orientation, or cultural background. What impact does this have on historical novelists who must also avoid imposing modern biases on characters from different historical periods? Renee Otmar discusses with Rachel Bin Saleh, Tim Darcy Ellis and Indrani Ganguli why questions of representation and appropriation matter, and whether respectful research is the answer to successfully ‘writing the other’.

The Panellists

Renée Otmar (Chair) PhD DE HLM

Renée has been a professional editor since 1989 and has worked extensively as an editor/managing editor, researcher, and ethicist. A certified coach, she provides training and professional supervision for editors and writers working with sensitive or distressing content. Renée has served as a board director, and on human research ethics committees since 2013. In 2000 she was awarded Honorary Life Membership of Editors Victoria, a branch of the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd), and in 2008 became a Distinguished Editor of IPEd. Her recent work is Editing for Sensitivity, Diversity and Inclusion: A guide for professional editors (2020). For further information:

Rachel Bin Saleh

Rachel Bin Salleh is descended from the Nimunburr and Yawuru peoples of the Kimberley. Rachel is passionate about First Nations peoples telling their stories and started at Magabala Books in the 1990s. In 2014, Rachel became Magabala’s Publisher and wrote her first book Alfred’s War (2018). For further information:

Tim Darcy Ellis

Tim Darcy Ellis (BA BSc, MHSc) is a writer, business owner and formerly a professional archaeologist. His critically acclaimed debut, ‘The Secret Diaries of Juan Luis Vives’ is a fast-paced and meticulously researched historical novel. Tim is passionate about bringing his love of history, archaeology and philosophy together: and to express it by writing great fiction. For further information:

Indrani Ganguly

Indrani Ganguly was born of Bengali-speaking parents in Lucknow, India and migrated to Australia in 1990. Her qualifications include B.A. English Honours (University of Delhi), M.A./M.Phil. in sociology and history (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) and Ph.D. in Asian Studies (the Australian National University). Indrani’s publications comprising both academic and creative works include In My Father’s House (2015) and a historical novel The Rose and the Thorn (2019) focusing on so-called ordinary women in the India’s national movement and social reforms. She is now working on the sequel which continues the story in post-Independence India and explores some Australia-India connections. For further information:




23 October 2021
2:45 pm - 3:45 pm
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