Response to Paul Sharrad
I’m writing in response to Paul Sharrad’s essay ‘Reconfiguring “Asian
Australian” Writing’ in Southerly 70.3: India, India.
I found Sharrad’s essay engaging and rather comprehensive, but I also found
the claim that a ‘hippie’ author like Vicki Viidikas is somehow to blame for
the apparent “trailing off” of “‘mainstream’ Australian literary connection
to India” (p. 13) rather problematic. Viidikas’s superb India Ink is without
a doubt one of the most conceptually and formally striking instances of an
Australian author engaging with India, and I’m delighted to see that Malati
Mathur acknowledges this important work in the same issue of Southerly and
by so doing addresses what I see as a shortcoming in Sharrad’s otherwise
I feel Sharrad’s dismissal (and, if I’m reading him correctly, condemnation)
of Viidikas is rather curious: one female Australian writer (Inez Baranay)
has been emphasised at the expense of anther female Australian writer
(Viidikas) being marginalised. Has this to do with class? Cultural capital?
Politics? Or am I reading too much into this?
Dr. Ali Alizadeh