Alumni and Postgraduates
My thesis explores twentieth-century French theorist Georges Bataille’s preoccupation with finding a way to resacralise existence through a form of violent mysticism that excluded both God and the concept of salvation. My creative project consists of several long short stories which include tales about a boy opera singer who is determined to do anything it takes to save his voice from changing, a young girl in modern-day Brisbane who is diagnosed with bubonic plague, a man who unwittingly reenacts the creation myth of the cult of Mithras, and an archivist who attempts to experience the deaths of Christian martyrs.
My thesis investigates how the dialectic between science and religion is represented and reflected in the genre of science fiction. The exegesis is focused on three central points – the Copernican Revolution, the Darwinian Revolution, and the invention of the atomic bomb. The creative component, Anomaly, is a novel that depicts a bleak future where climate change has ravaged the planet. The narrative is punctuated by interconnected short stories that reflect the evolving dialectic between science and religion since the seventeenth century.
My thesis investigates how the process of grieving can be represented in ways that deconstruct and resist the unspoken social mores that govern it. The creative component is a novel titled Lost & Found. Told from the point of view of three different characters – a child, and two elderly people – the novel tells the story of a road trip across remote areas of Australia’s south-west that brings these three characters together. Ultimately, the novel explores the various ways people express grief in the contemporary Australian context
My thesis investigates how it is possible for creative narratives to address the effect of concepts of hereditary sin in a society after the death of God. My creative production is a novel entitled also/besides. Set in an alternate reality where people can time travel to the past but to do so they have to inhabit the bodies of people who have lived in the past, this novel explores the question: Is it right to exploit the bodies and lives of the past?
My research is titled ‘Voice of the Other: A Nyoongar Woman’s Narrative’. This research will investigate the life of a Nyoongar woman’s experience living and growing up in a rural town in Western Australia. I anticipate this research will capture a new history which has not been told before, that is life from a Nyoongar perspective through the eyes of a Nyoongar woman. This research also hopes to capture the role Nyoongar people played in the development of the rural region through their labour and identifying their contribution to such through three generations of the Nyoongar labour force. My research will also capture stories of life living under repressive policies and practices yet describe the strength and protection of family against removal of children policies.
She was a child bride who became a serial widow, a worldly woman overflowing with saucy humour who yet displayed a deep knowledge of religion. She has remained an enigma for over six hundred years. Just who was Geoffrey Chaucer’s the Wife of Bath?
My PhD scrutinises a key character from that most canonical medieval English poem, The Canterbury Tales. Using cognitive methodologies such as Elizabeth Fowler’s ‘social persons’, I reinterpret the complex and contradictory character that is Alisoun of Bath by means of academic analysis and an historical novel – The Scarlet Woman.
My PhD thesis investigates how travel narratives question the transformation of ‘self’ via liminal encounters with the ‘other’ – connecting travel literature to philosophy and the psychology of our ‘shadow self’ and ‘individuation’. The exegesis explores whether travel renders us transformed, as claimed by Thoreau and Jenkins; leaves us the same, as claimed by Emerson; or, in fact, does either – depending upon the receptivity of the traveller. The creative component is a piece of extended travel writing with a fictional discontinuous narrative, entitled Travelling Without Moving. It explores the primal psychological trauma of travel and its affective transformation on the self.
My thesis explores the writing of a postcolonial travel narrative in the picaresque mode whereby picaresque narrative techniques are used to criticise conventions of colonial travel narratives. The creative component of my thesis is a novel which is loosely based on the life of the Austrian adventurer Rudolf Slatin, who was the Governor of Darfur under the Egyptian government until he was taken captive by the Mahdi in 1883. He became the servant of the Mahdi’s successor and spent nearly thirteen years in Omdurman. My novel covers his last few weeks in captivity and the events that lead to his escape.
My thesis examines contemporary concerns around the sexualisation of girls, and the object of the sexualisation discourse: the hyper-sexy girl. The creative component is a novel which interrogates, from the point of view of a parent, the way in which the discourse around the hyper sexy girl creates a subject position that is both delinquent and desirable, and both powerless and empowered.
Natasha Lester has published two novels, If I Should Lose You (2012) and What is Left Over, After (2010), an early draft of which was written for her Master of Creative Arts thesis at Curtin University. Natasha is now a PhD candidate at Curtin University, and is working on a research project that examines the sexualisation of girls in contemporary culture. She teaches creative writing through UWA Extension and is currently working on her next novel.
- Varuna Publisher Fellowship (2010)
- Australia Council Emerging Writers Grant (2010)
- Australia Council ArtStart Grant (2009)
- TAG Hungerford Award for Fiction (2008)
- Longlisted, The Australian/Vogel Award (2008)
My thesis investigates the relationship between memory and grief in postmodern literary fiction. The creative component, Someone is There, is a novel exploring the impact of a young woman’s abduction on her friends and family in rural West Australia. Using a fragmented narrative structure, the novel examines this traumatic event from multiple points of view and time periods. In doing so, it illustrates how the uncertainty of an individual’s death can create an unresolvable loss for those she is closest to.
My thesis Invisible Ink emanates from my Honours dissertation Ina and I, a work of creative non-fiction about my paternal grandmother, Ina Graham. The silhouette of my father, the Australian writer Burton Graham, insisted on influencing the creative piece and his presence led to my current research. In a creative non-fiction memoir, I not only focus on his life as a writer, and as an unwilling, absent father, but also how it is possible for me to reread and re-write his lasting shadow in my creative life. In my exegesis, I listen to Hélène Cixous’ exhortation to women to write with “pointy pricked-up ears”, and I scrutinise paternal memoirs, including Mary Gordon’s The Shadow Man and Susan Cheever’s Home Before Dark, for signs of feminine writing: l’écriture féminine.
My thesis, Happily Ever After, investigates how a typology for structuring the interdependent male and female narratives in popular romance fiction supports creative practice in popular romance fiction and advances the field of popular romance studies. Engaging with established narrative structures, the creative component is a popular romance novel that describes the heroine’s and hero’s passage as they confront and overcome obstacles to their external goals and internal growth and achieve their ‘happily ever after’. The creative practice, together with an investigation of practices of structuration, is used to develop, test and modify the typology.
My PhD thesis explores the relationship between perceptions of time and self in illness and creative writing. The exegesis examines the different temporal strategies used in selected illness narratives to negotiate disrupted perceptions of time and self. The creative component is a novel entitled The Homecoming set in Australia, the UK and France. It follows the dark, but humorous journey of a woman diagnosed with breast cancer as she confronts the alternative medicine scene, a family secret, and her mother’s youthful adventures in France.
My thesis investigates paranoia, technological anxiety, and science fiction’s problematic relationship with ‘the future’. The creative component is a series of interrelated short stories, some as brief as 1,000 words and others as long as 10,000, which borrow themes and motifs from science fiction. Characters include a disappearing piano teacher, a spambot, and a girl who is best friends with an octopus.
Yvette Walker has a BA (Honours) and a PhD from Curtin University. In 2009 Yvette won the Eleanor Dark Flagship Fellowship for Fiction and in 2011 she was awarded a Varuna Publishing Fellowship. Her first novel Letters to the End of Love was completed as part of her PhD, and was published by University of Queensland Press in April 2013. Yvette works as a bookseller and enjoys encouraging readers to read more Australian fiction.
- Eleanor Dark Flagship Fellowship for Fiction (2011)
- Varuna Publishing Fellowship (2011)
Jacqueline Wright worked for many years as a teacher and linguist in WA’s North-West on Indigenous Australian Aboriginal language, interpreting and cultural programs. She has since worked as the Regional Literature Officer, supporting regional writers and organisations in the Pilbara and Kimberley, and as an editor at Magabala Books, Broome. Jacqueline completed her exegesis about the ethics of Indigenous representation by non-Indigenous writers in works of fiction and her novel Red Dirt Talking as part of a Creative Arts Doctorate at Curtin University, where she is now an adjunct fellow. She has adapted parts of this novel for radio and stage. Since then, Jacqueline has also contributed to Kimberley Stories, Knitting and Other Stories, Summer Lovin’ and Griffith Review’s Looking West. Today, she works as a producer on Mornings at ABC Kimberley.
- T.A.G. Hungerford Award (2010)
- Longlisted, Miles Franklin Literary Award (2013)
- Longlisted, Dobbie Literary Award (2013)
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My thesis investigates the ethical problems for writers of historical fiction as they negotiate the divide between fact and imagination. The creative component is a novel, set in December 1876 in offshore waters between Capes Naturaliste and Leeuwin. The novel is a retelling of the story of the Georgette shipwreck and the ensuing rescue of her passengers off Redgate Beach. In my novel I present an alternative interpretation of the rescue – an event that earned bravery medals for landowner’s daughter Grace Bussell and Aboriginal stockman Sam Isaacs.