Literary Studies and Creative Writing

Alexis Wright holds a bouquet of native flowers. She stands in front of a bookshelf. She wears a grey jacket and navy blue shirt. She is smiling slightly at the camera. 

Prof. Alexis Wright

Professorial Fellow

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria and The Swan Book, Wright has published three works of non-fiction: Take Power, an oral history of the Central Land Council; Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory; and Tracker, an award-winning collective memoir of Aboriginal leader, Tracker Tilmouth. Her books have been published widely overseas, including in China, the US, the UK, Italy, France and Poland. She held the position of Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne from 2017-2022. Wright is the only author to win both the Miles Franklin Award (in 2007 for Carpentaria) and the Stella Prize (in 2018 for Tracker).  Her new work of fiction, Praiseworthy, was published by Giramondo Publishing in May 2023.
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A/Prof. Anne Jamison

Deputy Director

Anne Jamison is a feminist literary critic with a research focus on nineteenth-century Irish women's writing. She is currently Associate Professor in English in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, as well as Deputy Director of the Writing and Society Research Centre. She has published broadly on nineteenth-century Irish writing, including research on Alicia Lefanu, Kate O'Brien, Frances Browne, James Clarence Mangan and Hannah Boyd, as well as on the intersections between law, literature and authorship in the early Victorian period. She published a monograph in 2016 with Cork University Press on collaborative Irish writers Edith Somerville and Violet Martin: E. OE. Somerville and Martin Ross; Female Authorship and Literary Collaboration. Anne is currently working on a book-length project on Irish women's fantasy and fairy tale writing in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and has recently been awarded a Keough-Naughton Library Award in Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame (USA) to support this work.

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Prof. Anthony Uhlmann

Distinguished Professor

Anthony Uhlmann is Professor of Literature and Disciplinary Leader for English and Creative Writing in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts. He is a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre and was Director of the Centre from 2011-2019. He is the author of a novel Saint Antony in His Desert (UWAP, 2018). He is the author of four scholarly monographs. His most recent book is J. M. Coetzee, Truth, Meaning, Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2020). He published Thinking in Literature: Joyce, Woolf, Nabokov (Bloomsbury) in 2011, and two monographs on Samuel Beckett: Beckett and Poststructuralism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), and Samuel Beckett and the Philosophical Image (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). He edited Gerald Murnane: New Essays (Sydney University Press, 2020). He co-edited Arnold Geulincx's Ethics with Samuel Beckett's Notes (Leiden: Brill, 2006) and Beckett in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

He was the editor of the Journal of Beckett Studies from 2007 until 2013. His work focuses on the exchanges that take place between literature and philosophy and the way in which literature itself is a kind of thinking about the world. He co-founded the Australian University Heads of English in 2012 and was elected President of this body in 2013. He is currently working on two projects: 'Other Worlds, Forms of World Literature' and another, with Moira Gatens, on Spinoza's influence on literary history and the importance of his philosophy to understandings of artistic practice.
Ben wears a black sweater. He has curly brown hair and a moustache and beard. He is looking off-camera, speaking to an audience.  

A/Prof. Ben Etherington

Convenor, Literary Studies

Ben Etherington’s research and teaching centres on literature and decolonisation. He’s currently working on a historical poetics of verse in Anglophone Caribbean creole languages in the period between the abolition of slavery and political independence, a project that is supported by three-year ARC funding. It also involves collaborating with the Sydney-based Jamaican novelist Sienna Brown and UTS Impact Studio’s History Lab on a series of documentary podcasts on the history of Caribbean people in Australia. The first in the series, Caribbean Convicts in Australia, was broadcast by ABC Radio National in 2021. Ben previously worked with Alexis Wright to produce Nothing but the Truth for Radio National’s Awaye! program on the life of the Gangalidda leader, Clarence Walden. His first large research project considered primitivism within a materialist and global purview. It led to the monograph Literary Primitivism (Stanford UP, 2018). It argues that primitivism arose in reaction to the zenith of European imperial expansion and that the most intensively primitivist works were produced by colonised subjects. More recently, Ben has worked with Samuel Spinner on special issue on primitivism with Comparative Literature (forthcoming 2024). Ben has recently held fellowships at the Heyman Center at Columbia University, the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Birmingham, and the Eccles Centre at the British Library. He also writes occasional essays on Australian literary criticism and higher education for the Sydney Review of Books and other venues.

Chris Conti wears a black shirt. He smiles at the camera. He has grey short hair and black rectangle glasses. 

Dr Chris Conti

Senior Lecturer

Christopher Conti is Senior Lecturer of Literary Studies at Western Sydney University and member of the Writing and Society Research Centre. He teaches undergraduate courses on the value of literature and law and literature and recently edited the special issue on literary value for Australian Literary Studies. His current research on metaphysical horror explores the intersections between modernist literature, critical theory, theology, and philosophical anthropology with special reference to Hans Blumenberg and Leszek Kolakowski. His short creative pieces have appeared in Southerly, Island, Etchings, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and are collected in Proofs: 104 short stories (Puncher & Wattmann, 2012).

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A/Prof. Chris Peterson

A scholar researching the intersection of race and animality in fiction whose interests include 19th and 20th century American literature, sexuality studies, and critical theory. Chris is the author of three scholarly monographs: Monkey Trouble: The Scandal of Posthumanism (Fordham University Press 2017), Bestial Traces : Race, Sexuality, Animality, Kindred Specters (Fordham University Press 2012), and Death, Mourning, and American Affinity (University of Minnesota Press 2007).
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Dr. Felicity Castagna

Convenor, Creative Writing

Felicity Castagna is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at The Writing and Society Research Centre, Western Sydney University. She publishes essays on home, suburbia, site-responsive art making and Australian literature and has a particular interest in collaborative and community- based art practice as well as the methodology of teaching creative practice. Her creative non-fiction and critical responses to literature and art are published both here and internationally on platforms such as Sydney Review of Books, Electric Literature, LitHub, Griffith Review, The New York Times and ABC radio and television.
Felicity has published four novels for adults and young adults including her most recent book, Girls In Boys’ Cars (July, 2021, Pan Macmillan), which is currently being adapted for stage and screen. Her previous novel, No More Boats (2017, Giramondo) was a finalist in the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Awards and is published internationally by Europa. She is also the author of the short story collection Small Indiscretions (2011, Transit Lounge) and the young adult novel The Incredible Here and Now (2014, Giramondo), which received The Prime Minister’s Award for Young Adult Literature as well as the IBBY Award and was a finalist in several other awards including the CBCA book of the year award. She has worked with artists in many different fields to produce collaborative and cross-artform collaborations for The Sydney Opera House, The Sydney Festival, The National Theatre of Parramatta  and many other places as well as with The Finishing School Collective. Castagna is a highly experienced teacher, speaker, writing mentor and teacher educator who has facilitated creative writing workshops everywhere from schools to community arts centres to correctional centres and has helped to establish, promote and run many writing and storytelling programs.
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Dr George Haddad

Dr George Haddad is an award-winning writer, artist and academic practising on Gadigal land. His novella, Populate and Perish, was the winner of the 2016 Viva La Novella competition and his short story Kátharsis was awarded the 2018 Neilma Sidney Prize. George’s novel, Losing Face, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the Small Press Network’s Book of the Year, and The Readings Prize. In 2023 he was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist. He is a lecturer at the Writing and Society Research Centre, Western Sydney University.  George’s text, sound, performance and installation based art has been exhibited at Firstdraft, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, ReadingRoom and Metro Arts.

Dr Helen Basides

Helen Basides in an Associate Lecturer (Teaching Focused Role) in Literary Studies the School of Humanities and Communication Arts. She completed her PhD at the University of Sydney. Helen's principal area of interest is eighteenth-century women's writing.
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Dr Helen Koukoutsis

Helen Koukoutsis is a Lecturer in Literary Studies in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre. She was awarded a PhD from Macquarie University and a commendation from the Vice Chancellor for a thesis of exceptional merit. Her primary research focus is poetry, which manifests into two forms: creative and scholarly. Her core field of scholarly research is nineteenth-century poetry, especially the works of the American poet, Emily Dickinson, and her cultural milieu. Her creative research functions in tandem with her research on Dickinson, drawing heavily on the personal and cultural happenings of the moment in two societies: Australia and Greece.
James is smiling at the camera. He is bald, and has brown stubble and a moustache. He wears a dark blue sweater with a green shirt underneath. 

Dr James Gourley

James Gourley is a Senior Lecturer in Literary Studies at the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and the Writing and Society Research Centre, Western Sydney University. My research looks at literature in the context of crisis from the personal to the planetary, reading texts from around the globe written most often in the 20th and 21st centuries. My scholarship reflects on literature’s capacity to imagine crisis, considering how stories facilitate social understandings in difficult times, and how authors represent these events in their texts. My writing has recently been published in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Sydney Review of Books, English Studies, College Literature, and in edited collections published by Cambridge University Press, Salem Press, Sydney University Press, Wiley-Blackwell and Routledge, among others. My monograph on Thomas Pynchon’s and Don DeLillo’s aesthetic and conceptual responses to terrorism was published by Bloomsbury Academic.
I welcome students interested in discussing MRes or doctoral supervision in literary studies or literature-inflected environmental humanities.
Kate wears a square necked black top, with a colourful necklace. Her long hair is swept back over her shoulders. She smiles at the camera.  

A/Prof. Kate Fagan


Kate Fagan is the Director of the Writing and Society Research Centre. She is an internationally recognised poet, scholar and songwriter whose third collection of poetry First Light (Giramondo) was short-listed for both the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and The Age Book of the Year Award. Her new collection Song in the Grass will be published by Giramondo in 2024. Her album Diamond Wheel won the National Film and Sound Archive Award for Folk Recording, and she is a former Editor-in-Chief of How2, the established U.S.-based journal of contemporary and modernist innovative poetry and poetics. Kate is the Project Director of The Writing Zone, a mentoring program for emerging writers and artsworkers from Western Sydney.
Lorraine has curly medium length blonde and brown hair. She wears a lightweight white blouse and a necklace with a green gemstone on it. She smiles at the camera.,  

A/Prof. Lorraine Sim

Lorraine Sim is an Associate Professor in Modern English Literature at Western Sydney University. Her interdisciplinary research background and interests span the fields of literary studies, philosophy and critical theory, and art history. She is the author of two monographs – Virginia Woolf: the Patterns of Ordinary Experience (Ashgate: 2010) and Ordinary Matters: Modernist Women’s Literature and Photography (Bloomsbury: 2016). Her research has been published in numerous edited collections and journals including Modernism/modernity, Journal of Modern Literature, Modernist Cultures and Photography and Culture. Lorraine was a co-founder (2009) and long-standing Chair of the Australasian Modernist Studies Network and now serves on the National Advisory Board. She serves on the editorial boards of the journals Feminist Modernist Studies, Australian Feminist Studies, and Affirmations: of the modern.
Lorraine’s principal field of interest is modernist studies, particularly feminist modernist studies, and the broader intellectual histories that inform early twentieth-century literature, art, and culture. Much of her research has examined the intersections between modernism, modernity, and theories of everyday life in the work of women writers including Virginia Woolf, H. D., Dorothy Richardson, and Jean Rhys, as well as early twentieth-century women’s photography. Lorraine is currently working on a new monograph, Happy Modernisms, which explores ideas of happiness and the good life in modernist literature, art, and the culture at large. For this project Lorraine is examining the broad philosophical history of happiness, as well as the contemporary ‘happiness turn’ and its attendant discourses and industries. Modernism, spirituality, and the secular sacred is another area of current interest.
Luke Carman has light blue eyes. He has a short cropped brown hair style and wears a light blue teeshirt, with a navy blue blazer on top. 

Dr Luke Carman

Luke Carman is a fiction writer, essayist and academic. He is known for his collection of semi-autobiographical stories, An Elegant Young Man. The stories are set in Liverpool, Australia, a suburb outside Sydney. He has been called a post-grunge lit writer, a reference to an Australian literary genre from the 2000s which emerged following the 1990s grunge lit genre.
His first book, An Elegant Young Man, won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for New Writing. The book is a collection of inter-linked, semi-autobiographical short stories. Intimate Antipathies, a collection of Luke's essays on the ordinary madness of the writing life, was published in July 2019 by Giramondo and An Ordinary Ecstasy, a new collection of short stories, was published by Giramondo in July 2022. He has published in HEAT, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, Meanjin, Southerly,  and Cultural Studies Review. Luke is now an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing at Western Sydney University and is a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre.

Dr Milissa Deitz

Milissa Deitz is the Academic Program Advisor for the Creative Industries degree and lectures in communication, media studies and creative writing in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts. She is a former journalist and novelist with a PhD from the University of Sydney. Her latest publication is M. Deitz, and L. Sheridan Burns (2022) Foster Youth in the Mediasphere: Lived Experience and Digital Lives in the Australian Out-of-home Care System Palgrave McMillan, New York.

Her research and scholarly interests include trauma studies; grief, identity and family; voice and the marginalised within digital storytelling (The Right To Know: 100 Years of the Australian Red Cross International Tracing Service, Immigration Museum, Melbourne 2015); and young people, wellbeing and technology (; and Digital Lives in OOHC - a Young & Resilient Research Centre Report 2022). Milissa’s book Watch This Space: The Future of Australian Journalism was published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press. Her novel Bloodlust and non-fiction title My Life As A Side Effect about depression are both published by Random House. Milissa has been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines and was the co-host of book show Shelf Life on TVS between 2011 and 2015.

Mette wears a white blouse, and leans against a brick wall. her medium length blonde hair lays on her shoulders. She crosses her arms, and smiles at the camera. 

Dr Mette Jakobsen

Mette Jakobsen is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at The Writing and Society Research Centre, Western Sydney University. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and a Master’s in Creative Arts. She is also a graduate of NIDA’s Playwright Studio, with a background in acting.

Mette has enjoyed international success with her fiction writing. Her first novel, The Vanishing Act (Text Publishing), has been translated in the several languages with the rights sold to US, UK, Canada, Germany, Holland, Taiwan, Turkey and Hungary. The novel made it onto Oprah’s book list, became number one on the US Indie book list and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. She subsequently published two more novels with Text Publishing. Her publishers overseas include Bloomsbury, Vintage, Norton and HarperCollins. Four of Mette’s plays have been produced and broadcast on ABC Radio National in Australia, with two shortlisted for Prix Marulic and Prix Italia. In 2021 Mette started writing for young adults and her dystopian duology, The Tower Series, was published by HarperCollins, Australia.


Dr Rachel Morley

Dr Rachel Morley is a Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media, and Associate Dean of Engagement in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University. She is also a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre and the Digital Humanities Research Group.

Rachel teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in creative writing, networked writing cultures, and media studies. Rachel's research interests and publication areas include literary and creative practice (with a particular interest in biography and autobiography); new media writing technologies; postgraduate pedagogies and academic literacies; theories and practices in qualitative research (including ethnographies of writing and representation); and ageing, creativity and cognition. She has held an ARC grant for a research project based in Central Australia (2012-2016) and has also received funding for an existing collaborative project, 'Ageing Creatively: Creative Writing as a Tool for Healthy Ageing'. Rachel is Assistant Editor and Postgraduate Editor of Global Media Journal - Australian Edition and convenor of the award winning national training event, 'Creative Ecologies: A Postgraduate Retreat in Creative Arts Scholarship'. Her creative praxis PhD, 'Re-membering Michael Field: Scenes From a Biographical Praxis' (Macquarie University, 2009), used fictocriticism and autoethnography to explore the processes and experiences that inform the making of a biographical text in an attempt to understand the effects of those experiences on research and writing, and the production of biographical knowledge more broadly.

Siena wears a loose navy shirt. She has a necklace with a large green pendant. She wears dark pink lipstick, and has her dark brown hair, tied away from her face. 

Sienna Brown

Research Associate

Sienna Brown holds an ARC Fellowship and writes historical fiction novels, centring on the Caribbean Experience in Australia. Her debut novel Master of My Fate, published in 2019 by Penguin Random House, won the MUD Literary Prize at Adelaide Writers Week for the best debut novel by an Australian writer and was shortlisted for the ARA Historical Novel Prize, in 2020.

In 2021, she was commissioned by ABC Radio National, the History Listen Series to create Caribbean Convicts in Australia, a podcast based on her research for Master. In 2022, she's been appointed as Research Associate at Western Sydney University. Her position is being funded by a three-year Australia Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project Grant and is administered through the Writing & Society Research Centre.
Tegan wears a black singlet, a grey long-sleeved cardigan, and several bright red necklaces. She has short brown and blonde hair, and wears rounded brown glasses.  

Dr Tegan Bennett  Daylight

Dr Tegan Bennett Daylight is a writer, teacher and critic who teaches into the Bachelor of Arts Creative Writing major at Western Sydney. She is the author of three novels: Bombora, What Falls Away and Safety, as well as several books for children and teenagers. Her first novel was shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel award and after the publication of her second she was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists. Her collection of short stories, Six Bedrooms, was published in July 2015, and shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal, the Steele Rudd Award and the 2016 Stella Prize. Her book of essays, The Details, was published by Scribner in July 2020 and shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Award for Non-Fiction. Her latest book, Royals, was published by Scribner in May 2023.
She is the recipient of four Australia Council grants for Literature, a Create grant from the Copyright Agency, and was shortlisted for the Hazel Rowley Fellowship. She has been a writer in residence at Varuna, The National Writers' House, and an Artist in Residence at Bundanon.