Alison Broinoswki

Dr Alison Broinowski is an Australian former diplomat who, while working in several Asian countries and at the UN in New York, always wrote books on the side, in the hope of emulating Harold Nicholson, J K Galbraith, Nicholas Jose and other diplomat-litterateurs. As a young Arts graduate in Adelaide, she wrote her first review for Australian Book Review in 1962, and has since made a habit of it, concentrating in recent years on books about Asia and on Asian-Australian fiction. After joining the Department of External Affairs in 1963, in the following year she went to Tokyo with her diplomat husband, and began learning Japanese, another life-long task assisted by many return visits to Japan. After working in Manila, she edited three books on ASEAN in its the early years. She brought together Australians writing new-wave fiction about Asian countries for a conference in Canberra in 1979 – Koch, Drewe, d’Alpuget, Pulvers, Margaret Jones and others. After working for two Governors-General, a parting gift from Sir Ninian and Lady Stephen was The Great Wave, about the influence of Japanese art on the French impressionists. It inspired her to investigate Australian equivalents, resulting eight years later in The Yellow Lady – Australian Representations of Asia (1992). The book that followed her ANU PhD thesis reversed the viewpoint, About Face: Asian Accounts of Australia (2003), and papers from a conference on the same subject were published by Pandanus at ANU as Double Vision(2004). Alison has also co-edited The Third Try: Can the UN Work?(2005), and has written Howard’s War (2003) and Allied and Addicted (2007). Living in Sydney since 2001, she has taught International Relations at Macquarie University, researched Asian Australian fiction at the University of Wollongong, and stood unsuccessfully for the Senate for the WikiLeaks Party in 2013.

Double Vision »

Asian Accounts of Australia

Publication date: May 2011
Do Australians care about what their Asian neighbours think of them — and does it matter if they don’t? This collection of essays reveals that admiration for Australia is not widespread, particularly among Japanese and Chinese commentators. And how our Asian neighbours perceive Australia is important: perceptions have a powerful effect on the way different societies respond to one another. As part of the Asian Accounts of Australia project, this volume addresses a much-neglected issue and presents the views of pre-eminent scholars on how Australia is perceived among Chinese and Japanese and what this means for our future. Can Australia make the most of its opportunities to be well regarded and influential in China and Japan or will we be dismissed as a derivative culture, ignorant about our region?