Karbara The First Born

ElephantEars Press re-presents here the film of the First National Black Playwrights Conference and Workshop held January 1987 in Canberra, Australia.

Invited into the Sydney Film Festival in June 1987 and Pincher Creek Indian Film Festivals of 1989 & 1990, Karbara was first broadcast on ABC TV, October 1987.

Indigenous directors and writers, new and established, young and old, workshopped works written for stage and screen with indigenous & non-indigenous Australian actors. The time together gave screen and stage practitioners from throughout Australia a chance to collaborate and share stories and ideas.

This 16mm film was found in the Flinders University Library by the film’s producer and director Richard Guthrie. With the help of librarian, Tom Snook, and Screen NSW, this important piece of film and theatre history is now available here 24/7. For Indigenous viewers, this film contains images and voices of deceased people.

2020 is the 250th anniversary of James Cook and the British navy’s sighting of Australia, and forms Britain’s first step in assuming ownership of the southern continent in 1788, using the rejected 18th century legal pretext of terra nullius (see Mabo v Queensland (No 2) [1992] HCA 23).



Uncorrected Proof

His espionage novel stolen by a celebrity ‘sweeper’ author—Archie Lees—embarks on a twelve-month odyssey for literary justice inside the dark worlds of Anglo-American publishing in London New York, Barcelona and Aigues-Mortes.



A century after Joyce let Leopold Bloom loose in Dublin, Alba unleashes Archie Lees and a supporting cast of post-Iliadian characters in twelve off-battlefield war-torn months of literary mania.

Excavating and ransacking the themes of plagiarism and literary influence, Lou Alba re-categorises categories⏤reanimating modernism, spiked realism, magic realism, poetry, pop, drama, cookbooks, diaries, how-to-books, history texts and postmodernist, metafictional novels⏤re-presenting 20th century writing in a ‘glittering array’ of literary experientialism, parodically defrocking the method  and madness of major and minor literary techniques and reputations in one hundred years of writerly solitude.

Reviews of Uncorrected Proof

From North America

Beneath this quixotic and playful novel that reveals a very deft hand at the pen is a significant novel that asks of itself the question that makes readers of lesser novels so often shake their heads: Does this work have any significance? Here we must emphatically nod

– Eckhard Gerdes, Editor Journal of Experimental Fiction


With tongue in cheek humor and a sly poke at genre fiction, literary untouchables and the publishing industry this book seems tailor made for smart praise. Even though I wasn’t able to pick out all the literary styles interwoven playfully within the book — and frankly at a certain point I was so into the story it didn’t matter — when I was able to pick up on an author or style it just added to the fun. Very impressed with the versatility of the prose and the ability to coopt all these writers and yet still make it all work within the story being told, a story that holds its own as a larky genre thriller with literary overtones and a lot of humor too. In the end all came off as clever parody. Especially enjoyed the “genre thriller” kick of the kidnapping and rescue of Ellen mirroring the story within the story within the story. Given the levels of literary byplay and the scope and ambition of the prose styles, the story is amazingly accessible. It even is a bit of a high concept as well — literary high concept (or highwire act) in which, while flawlessly speaking in all these different voices the book still tells a thoroughly enjoyable pulp story about stolen manuscripts and deferred vengeance in the volatile, cutthroat world of publishing. Making publishing a life and death enterprise is a nice conceit that allows all the tropes of detective and spy fiction to come into play and gives it much of its kicky fun. Bravo!  

– Paul Duran, LA director & writer (Flesh Suitcase and The Dogwalker)


I found your book very refreshing..very readable but also so postmodern and referential. I delighted in your sources

Richard Olafson, Editor, Pacific Rim Review


From Australia

The most original book I read this year – utterly compelling postmodernism’

– Angela Meyer LiteraryMinded


Quite an extraordinary work. Initially the surreal plot threw me then I realized that the plot, the use of various styles and forms, present continuous, film scripts and cooking instructions etc, were creating a particular structure. Eventually, I concluded that it was some sort of a coded book, either intentionally or as some kind of experiment, which I failed to appreciate. Like most coded works, the book consists of two novels seamlessly interwoven. In this case the characters from at least one are able to inhabit the other. This is clear when you separate the two novels by the plot and other code markers. The two novels are quite different, and even seem to deal with different subjects and are sometimes contradictory. I have tried this coded thing but I used simple invisible multi-layering as you do when encoding engineering drawings. This form of yours is way beyond that. This is a very brave new world you have stepped into, or invented, a new realm 

– Eric Willmot, Author of Pemulwuy and Below The Line


It reads like a splendidly maintained & protracted metafictional elaboration of the climactic shoot-out in the fun-fair corridor of mirrors at the end of Orson Welles’s ‘Lady from Shanghai’. I was glad to see refs. to ‘King of Comedy’, surely one of the last century’s vy best films … 

– Tom GibbonsPainter and writer of Rooms in the Darwin Hotel


From Sweden

‘Uncorrected Proof’ could be seen as a labyrinthically shaped many-dimensional map, pointing above and beyond itself by showing mirrored images of other places in literary time and space

– Kristin Johannesson, Uppsala, Sweden