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No Document

160 pages
Paperback with flaps, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published April 2021
ISBN 9781925818611

No Document

Anwen Crawford

Shortlisted for The Stella Prize

A groundbreaking new work of non-fiction by one of Australia’s most respected essay writers.

No Document is an elegy for a friendship and artistic partnership cut short by death. The memory of this collaboration becomes a model for how we might relate to others in sympathy, solidarity and rebellion. At once intimate and expansive, Anwen Crawford’s book-length essay explores loss in many forms: disappeared artworks, effaced histories, abandoned futures. Written out of the turmoil of grief and the imperfection of memory, her perspective embraces histories of protest and revolution, art-making and cinema, border policing, and especially our relationships with animals. No Document shows how love, kinship and resistance echo through time.

Anwen Crawford is best known for her writing as a critic, and here she draws also on her background in poetry, and as a zine-maker and visual artist, to develop a new way of writing about the past, using a symphonic method of composition and collage. No Document is an urgent work of non-fiction that reimagines the boundaries that divide us – as people, nations and species – and asks how we can create forms of solidarity that endure.

No Document is lit throughout by a patient, controlled rage against injustice and suffering. Anwen Crawford deploys fragments to powerful effect in this essay collage, drawing out unexpected connections that startle and illuminate like the flash of a camera. The result is a far-ranging work of mourning and a profoundly moving act of remembrance.Michelle de Kretser

This work is a complex, deeply thought, and deeply felt ode to friendship and collaboration. There is the persistent feeling that through grief – remarkable and devastating – one is able to temporarily glimpse everything they need to know. Returning to something lost is full of sadness, futility, and frustration but also represents a fierce commitment to possibility. The emotional, paradoxical tumble of grief and hope represents a universal desire for meaningful change and No Document implores us to harness that desire collectively.
The Stella Prize, judges’ comments

About the Author

Anwen Crawford

Anwen Crawford is a Sydney-based writer, critic and visual artist. Her essays have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, The White Review, Frieze, The Monthly, Best Australian Essays, Meanjin, Overland and Sydney Review of Books. Her book Live Through This (2015), on the Hole album of the same name, is published by Bloomsbury in the 331/3 series.

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Anwen Crawford reads from No Document.

Anwen Crawford in conversation with Declan Fry

Related News

Anwen Crawford: a note on No Document

‘My hope is that this book serves as an elegy not only for one specific person but for those, including animals, who have been excluded from the social contract, from the we of belonging. Mourning is always political: the question of who can be grieved, who counts as having lived, is a contested one.’

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