Breaking New Ground in Literature: Written Off Literary Journal Launched

Written-Off-Co-foundersVitagraph Publishing – a trailblazing independent publishing house, proudly unveils its first edition of Written Off – new journal dedicated to innovative Australian literature.

At a special event at the Chau Chak Wing Museum, University of Sydney, the Board of Vitagraph Publishing is inviting the literature community to celebrate both the establishment of Vitagraph Publishing, with its commitment to bold and innovative new Australian writing, and Written Off – a literary journal dedicated to elevating writers offering exhilarating and unique new literary perspectives through their works.

“Australian writers have a literary tradition of innovation, of playful ambitious daring. It is this energy which has led to the establishment of Vitagraph Publishing. During the pandemic people rediscovered their love of reading – returning to classics and seeking out new voices and horizons,” said Founding Director Ms Augusta Supple.

“Vitagraph Publishing has an opportunity to provide an avenue for adventurous readers to discover the best of Australia’s local talent through Written Off.”

Written Off emerges in response to the critical challenges facing the Australian literary community, as evidenced in the report, Literary Journals in Australia, which highlighted a scarcity of publication opportunities in Sydney, including chronic funding shortfalls, precarious employment for writers and artists, and the need for opportunities and platforms to support emerging and established writers.

“Written Off unapologetically insists on the value of writing as an art. In the language of corporate and marketing elites things that are of limited or negative financial value are ‘written off’. Yet this includes most things that make life meaningful,” says Chair of Vitagraph Publishing, Professor Anthony Uhlmann.

Written Off is built on the foundations of an understanding of literature that might be termed classical. Plato spoke of two kinds of images. The first is familiar: we recognise it, make use of it, and pass on, like the stop or go of traffic lights. The other kind is unusual and surprising, it stops us and makes us think. Written Off is interested in images of the second kind.”

Written Off will serve as a beacon for this literary intent, highlighting the work of writers from broad artistic sensibilities and practices. It will showcase a spectrum of writers, from emerging talents to established voices, united by their creative ingenuity.

Notable contributions in the first edition include short stories from: Miles Franklin Literary Award longlisted author, Max Easton; winner of NSW Premier’s Literary Award Multicultural Prize (2018) and the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award, Roanna Gonsalves; 2011 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist, Gretchen Shirm; and multi-award winning playwright Mary Rachel Brown – who recently won the inaugural Suzie Miller Award and has previously won The Lysicrates Prize, The Rodney Seaborn Award, The Max Affords Award, and The Griffin Award.

The launch of Written Off will be celebrated tonight (Tuesday 30 April) at the Chau Chak Wing Museum in the University of Sydney, with readings from a selection of writers from the journal’s first edition.

Image: Bill Dunbar, Benjamin D. Muir, Augusta Supple and Anthony Uhlmann – courtesy of Vitagraph Publishing