About the author
Anwen Crawford is the author of No Document and Live Through This. Her work has appeared in publications including The Monthly, The New Yorker, The White Review and Sydney Review of Books. In 2021 she won the Walkey-Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism. She is a long-time zine maker and collaborative visual artist. She lives in Sydney.
About the book
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 a longform poetic essay that considers the ways we might use an experience of grief to continue living, creating, and reimagining the world we live in with greater compassion and honour.
Reflecting on the loss of a close friend, comrade, and creative collaborator, Crawford moves through time in search of a remembered momentum towards revolution. Deconstruction and creation exist side-by-side as the processes of artistic techniques are described in detail, as well as the successes and failures of collective action.
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.
“…a stunningly crafted testament to the enduring power of art and literature.” – Francesca Sasnaitis, Australian Book Review
“She is a shape and the shape is an absence.” – Alix Beeston, The Sydney Review of Books
“Crawford’s conjunctions – visual, linguistic, technical – between the processes of photography, filmmaking, and art production are pathways to understanding the enormity of loss, destruction, and sorrow; the calamitous scars wrought on body and mind by resisting injustice.” – Francesca Sasnaitis, Australian Book Review
Read ‘The Letters of Sylvia Plath and the Transformation of a Poet’s Voice’ by Awen Crawford in The New Yorker
Watch Anwen Crawford in conversation with Declan Fry via Giramondo Publishing
Listen to Anwen Crawford discuss No Document via TripleR