Intro to Lit: Culture (Pacific Short Fiction)

In South Pacific Literature; from Myth to Fabulation, Subramani wrote
that short fiction as a genre “reflects the varied life of contemporary Oceania.”
Why do so many Pacific writers create short fiction? What have Pacific writers
done to engage, challenge and extend the form of short fiction? What are the
“varied” stories found in Pacific short fiction, and how do we read specific
texts from around the complex region of Oceania without either ignoring context
entirely or generalizing?  

Until the arrival of electronic
downloads by which readers can purchase a single story, short stories have by
necessity travelled in packs: anthologies, collections, journals and so on. We
will consider the role of anthologies in the region and the effect of reading a
range of “varied” voices or narratives in one book. Who gets to decide what is
(and isn’t) included in a collection, and how has editorship shaped ‘Pacific
Literature’ as we know it? Alongside several individual stories and critical
essays, we will read four different kinds of short story collection: two individual
authors (Makereti Once Upon a Time in
, Kanae Islands Linked By
); a single country (Va’ai & So’o Tofa Sasa’a); a region (Stella Melanesian
); and a diverse diasporic site (Niu Voices).

This writing-intensive course will
feature peer review and active class discussion. Writing will be a focus in classroom
discussions, group work, in-class workshops, and written assessment.

Course Requirements

  • Attendance
    and participation
  • Three short
    papers and one longer paper
  • Informal and
    semi-structured writing assignments
  • Group
  • Final exam

Required Texts

  • Huia
    Publishers, Niu Voices
  • Tina Makereti,
    Once Upon A Time in Aotearoa
  • Lisa Linn
    Kanae, Islands Linked by Ocean
  • Regis Stella,
    Melanesian Passages: a collection of short stories
  • Sina Va’ai
    & Asofou So’o, Tofa Sasa’a:
    contemporary short stories of Samoa

Plus, a required course reader which includes
short fiction by individual writers from around the region and key critical