Andrew Melrose is Professor of Children’s Writing at the University of Winchester, UK. He has over 150 film, fiction, non-fiction, research, songs, poems and other writing credits, including The story keepers film series, a ‘textual intervention’ on the New Testament, broadcast worldwide, and 28 scholarly or creative books; is the editor of the journal Writing4Children and a founding member of the TEXT: journal of writing and writing courses international advisory board. Routledge will publish his Here comes the bogeyman: exploring contemporary issues in writing for children and Monsters under the bed: critically investigating early years writing in 2011.

Jen Webb is Professor of Creative Practice at the University of Canberra, and researches the relationship between art and society. Her current research includes two major projects—the first investigates the relationship between art and critical social moments; the other explores the relationship between creative practice and knowledge, focusing particularly on the role of poetry in generating thought and the possibility of ‘knowing’. Her recent book-length publications include Understanding representation (Sage, 2009), the short story collection Ways of getting by  (2006: Ginniderra Press), and the forthcoming Understanding Foucault: a critical introduction (2011: Allen & Unwin; coauthored with Tony Schirato and Geoff Danaher).


Intimacy and the Icarus Effect

Intimacy is both a problem and a pleasure that has been a feature of narrative right across history. One very early example of intimacy and its discontents is the story of Daedalus and Icarus, remarkable not least for the way Icarus has become a trope, appearing in various guises in literary and visual art over the centuries since his early appearances in works by Ovid, Virgil, Apollodorus, Pausanias and Diodorus. The relationship between this artist father and his impressionable son is predicated on an intimacy that, like other intimacies, exploits the fragile relationship between self and other. Like so many such relationships, it ends badly, in a story that never reaches its end: Daedalus is always strapping the flawed wings onto his son, and kissing him for the last time; Icarus is always joyfully flying, and then falling.

A contemporary version of this story-with-no-(good)-end is, we suggest, to be found in various narratives that have emerged since the start of the so-called war on terror. We propose to tease out the tensions between several ephemeral points: between individuals, between ideologies, and between patterns of signification. Foucault writes of 'the buried kinships between things' that poetry can rediscover; Lacan and Levinas in their different ways write of the ethical problems involved in attempting to reconcile self and other, attempting to suture the space between while retaining the fantasy of a discrete, though intimately known, self. Following these concepts, we will test the extent to which creative expression can invoke the intimacy between world and word, or self and other.