Congratulations to Finola Moorhead for her 2015 Edna Ryan Award for the Creative Arts
Photo: Anna Couani
I acknowledge the original Indigenous custodians of this land and its surrounding waters.
Thanks to the committee for awarding me this recognition, and thanks to Anna and Dione for proposing that I receive an Edna Ryan in the Arts.
My art is literature and half my lifetime ago I started a novel length fiction on the challenge of having no major male characters and that took me about a decade. It is Remember the Tarantella. The name came from a footnote in Mary Daly's Gyn/ecology which was a myth probably witches made up before the Inquisition came to town. I think it was Naples. They said they had been bitten by the spider, the tarantula, then went into a crazy dance that took them into the sea to drown. Thereby robbing the Inquisitors of their trial. Quite a few million lost their lives in that particular war against women.
I never meant the tarantella to be the music you all know which is indeed a mating dance.
Today, of course, there is another war against women in Australia being waged on the domestic front claiming about 2 lives a week, 70 odd so far this year.
In literature in the last thirty years, not many women writers attempt fictions with no men in them, as I did as a Lesbian Feminist.
I know you've all thought of Feminism, but have you ever considered Masculinism? It's hard. It's a bit like an ocean fish trying to analyse the sea, as it is the reality we have surrounding us. Trying to ignore the masculine is thus like taking the fish out of the water. Very difficult to survive. Or in literary success terms, very hard to be read and appreciated.
Nevertheless I am grateful for this recognition and shall value my Edna Ryan award. Thank you.
Delivered on 23 October 2015 by Finola Moorhead at the award ceremony.
Finola is a playwright, a poet, has written articles and short stories, and published five books under her own name, as well as appearing in anthologies and journals. Her books include: A Handwritten Modern Classic (1985), Quilt (1985), Remember the Tarantella (1987), Still Murder (1991/2002), Darkness More Visible (2000) and a collection of poetry, My Voice (2006). She is the author of three plays, Curtain Raiser, Horses and It Might As Well Be Loneliness.
More about the EDNAs:
Edna Ryan (1904–97) worked towards making a better world, especially for women. The awards are for women who have made a feminist difference.