With the publishing success of Fifty Shades of Grey, which began its life as online fan fiction, everyone wants to know more. Where did Fan Fiction come from and what is its history? Hasn’t appropriation always had its artistic place in the world? The University of Sydney’s Joseph Brennan, undertaking his PhD in slash fan fiction, speaks to The Writers' Coffee Shop’s Amanda Hayward, the original publisher of Fifty Shades of Grey, alongside novelist Lauren Beukes, and researcher David Large who specialises in plagiarism in early 20th century fiction.
Amanda Hayward (Australian)
Sydney-sider, Amanda Hayward, is the founder of The Writers Coffee Shop publishing house and the associated online community which showcases new writers’ work. She has been credited with revolutionising the publishing industry. She spotted the potential of Fifty Shades of Grey and managed the massive demand for the book before selling it to Random House last year. She publishes romance, erotica, thrillers and young adult fiction and continues to seek out new talent and great reads.
David Large (Australian)
David Large is a teaching fellow and PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Sydney. His research focuses on allusion, plagiarism, intertextuality and related modes of textual or ideological transmission in both early 20thcentury modernist prose and contemporary graphic novels. He values fan fiction for its democracy, its immediacy and its often bold appropriation of canonical story elements, and reads the genre in order to directly gauge audience anticipation for future ‘official’ or creator-approved instalments.
Lauren Beukes (International)
Lauren Beukes is a novelist, TV scriptwriter, documentary maker, comics writer and occasional journalist. She won the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award for her novel Zoo City. Her previous works include Moxyland, a dystopian cyberpunk thriller set in Cape Town under corporate apartheid. She helped create South Africa’s first half-hour animated TV show, URBO: The Adventures of Pax Afrika, and has written kids animated shows for Disney UK and Millimages in France. Lauren’s latest novel is The Shining Girls, about a time-travelling serial killer.
Joseph Brennan is a postgraduate teaching fellow and PhD candidate in the Department of Media and Communications (MECO) at the University of Sydney. He is a university medallist and APA recipient. His doctoral research is on slash, a fannish queering practice. He has lectured at an undergraduate and postgraduate level in the Departments of MECO and English and has been interviewed on national television, radio and in print. He has been an art critic with Australian Art Review since 2008.