Selected student and alumni Publications

These are some of the books published by Writing and Society research students and alumni. Some of these titles were published from PhD theses and creative works produced in our DCA program, while others have been written and published by our students independently.


A very funny confessional novel set in one of the only Australian independent record stores still functioning, if barely. This is High Fidelity with a female gaze.

Kathy has worked at beloved Brisbane indie record store Dusty's Records for half her life. She arrived as a teenager high on her dad’s supply of Led Zeppelin, stayed through her twenties and suddenly thirty is on the horizon and she’s still there, measuring her self-worth by her knowledge of the Velvet Underground’s back catalogue. Lately, though, cracks have been appearing in Kathy’s comfortable indie bubble.


Emily Stewart, running time, Vagabond, 2022

Winner of the Helen Anne Bell Poetry Bequest Award

A fine-tuned book-length assemblage of dispersed ‘cerebral offcuts’, virtuosically inventing ‘the shape of a mood’. Nimble and light, precise and seemingly casual: ‘following some line’ of ‘live consciousness’, ‘inner in outer’, ‘what’s around’. Amid doubt, shame, need and fear, there is courage and insouciance, the subtle pleasure of stretching meaning into a variety of imaginative spaces that open up the limits of conventional language and syntax. Condensed, sharp pops of resonant fragments create their own fresh textures and juxtapositions.


Joey is young, indifferent. He’s drifting around Western Sydney unaware that his passivity is leading him astray. And then one day he is involved in a violent crime, one that threatens to upend his life entirely.

Elaine, his grandmother, is a proud Lebanese woman with problems of her own. When Joey is arrested, she is desperate to save face and hold herself together. In her family, history repeats itself, vices come and go, and uncovering long-buried secrets isn’t always cathartic.

This gripping and hard-hitting novel reveals the richness and complexity of contemporary Australian life and tests the idea that facing consequences will make us better people.


Winner of the 2020 David Unaipon Award

Simmering with protest and boundless love, Jazz Money’s David Unaipon Award-winning collection, how to make a basket, examines the tensions of living in the Australian colony today. By turns scathing, funny and lyrical, Money uses her poetry as an extension of protest against the violence of the colonial state, and as a celebration of Blak and queer love. Deeply personal and fiercely political, these poems attempt to remember, reimagine and re-voice history.

Writing in both Wiradjuri and English language, Money explores how places and bodies hold memories, and the ways our ancestors walk with us, speak through us and wait for us.


Winner of the Kenneth Slessor Award for Poetry in the 2020 NSW Premier's Literary Awards.

Enfolded in the wings of a great darkness is an extraordinary book-length poem by poet and translator Peter Boyle. The work is a sustained study of life and death, and all that goes on in between. Written during the terminal illness of his partner, Deborah Bird Rose, the book traverses joy and grief in all their shades of dark and light. Boyle explodes the physical and spiritual world around him as he is confronted with the end of life in the one he loves. In this deeply affecting work, he channels the pain and wonder of what it means to live and to be human in a transient world. The form of the long poem is successfully ekes out each word creating a ‘celebratory emptiness’ that throbs with all its possibilities.


Joshua Mostafa, Offshore, Seizure, 2019

Joint Winner of the 2019 Viva la Novella Prize

In very near future Sydney, an academic finds himself unprepared to deal with a city collapsing into chaos. The internet has disappeared, the water isn’t running and there is no electricity. As rival paramilitary groups battle for control of the streets, he pays people smugglers to help him escape overseas, only to be held in an island detention camp. There he finds a former ally and together they try to change their fate. Offshore considers what it means to be at the mercy of a heartless and uncompromising system. Mostafa’s wry irony and visceral descriptions make for a provocative and memorable novella.


Carly Cappielli, Listurbia, Seizure, 2019

Joint Winner of the 2019 Viva la Novella Prize

5 things you need to know about this book

1. It is written in lists
2. Set in Western Sydney
3. Features a dysfunctional narrator
4. Who is fixated on stories of missing children
5. Though she’s not entirely sure why.

As her world falls apart, will she be able to put the pieces together?

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Natalie Conyer, Present Tense, Clan Destine Press, 2019

Winner of the 2020 Ned Kelly Award for Debut Crime Fiction

Present Tense is a riveting hard-boiled police procedural set in modern South Africa. Veteran cop Schalk Lourens is trying to put the past behind him. But when his old boss, retired police chief Piet Pieterse, is murdered Schalk finds history has a way of infecting everything. Meanwhile, it’s also an election year. People are pinning their hopes on charismatic ANC candidate Gideon Radebe but there’s opposition and in this volatile country, unrest is never far from the surface. Schalk must tread a difficult path between the new regime and the old, between the personal and the professional, between justice and revenge.

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Luke Carman, Intimate Antipathies, Giramondo, 2019

Intimate Antipathies is the much anticipated new book by Luke Carman, the award-winning author of the cult classic An Elegant Young Man. The essays in this collection follow the writer in his oscillations through anxiety, outrage and ecstasy, and in the process explore the connections between writing and dreaming, writing and mental illness, writing and the complications of family life.

From his famous jeremiad against arts administrators in ‘Getting Square in a Jerking Circle’, through the psychotic attack brought on by the collapse of his marriage, to his surreal account of meeting with Gerald Murnane at a golf club in the remote Victorian village of Goroke, Carman explores the particular challenges faced by writers who grow up in the contested borderlands of the suburbs – always returning to his great obsession, the home on a small mountain in Sydney’s west, where his antipathies with the real world first began to shape his imagination.


Samantha Trayhurn (founder), Pink Cover Zine

Pink Cover Zine is a collection of poetry, fiction and art exploring the sentimental, sensitive, nostalgic, erotic, sensual, sad, joyful and in between moments in life. i.e. The stuff that publishers have traditionally published with a pink cover. We know pink covers often come with a set of predefined literary judgements. But, we are reclaiming and celebrating the pink cover to provide more publishing avenues to diverse voices.

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Annee Lawrence, The Colour of Things Unseen, Aurora Metro Books, 2019

When Adi leaves his village in Indonesia to take up an art scholarship in Australia, he arrives in the bewildering Sydney art world, determined to succeed. Following his first solo exhibition at a smart art gallery, Adi dares to reveal his true feelings for his outgoing friend, Lisa, and a passionate relationship unfolds. But will their differing expectations of one another drive them apart?

This is a deeply felt love story between people — of different nations, cultures and religions – and the unseen impact of local and global events on individual lives.

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Fiona Wright, The World Was Whole, Giramondo, 2018

Our bodies and homes are our shelters, each one intimately a part of the other. But what about those who feel anxious, uncomfortable, unsettled within these havens? In The World Was Whole, Fiona Wright examines how we inhabit and remember the familiar spaces of our homes and suburbs, as we move through them and away from them into the wider world, devoting ourselves to the routines and rituals that make up our lives. These affectingly personal essays consider how all-consuming the engagement with the ordinary can be, and how even small encounters and interactions can illuminate our lives.

Many of the essays are set in the inner and south-western suburbs of a major Australian city in the midst of rapid change. Others travel to the volcanic coastline of Iceland, the mega-city of Shanghai, the rugged Surf Coast of southern Victoria. The essays are poetic and observant, and often funny, animated by curiosity and candour. Beneath them all lies the experience of chronic illness and its treatment, and the consideration of how this can reshape and reorder our assumptions about the world and our place within it.

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Jen Craig, Panthers and the Museum of Fire, Spineless Wonders, 2018, Zerogram Press 2020

Panthers and the Museum of Fire is a novella about walking, memory and writing. The narrator walks from Glebe to a central Sydney café to return a manuscript by a recently-dead writer. While she walks, the reader enters the narrator's entire world: life with family and neighbours, narrow misses with cars, her singular friendships, dinner conversations and work. We learn of her adolescent desire for maturity and acceptance through a brush with religion, her anorexia, the exercise of that power when she was powerless in every other aspect of her life.

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Tom Lee, Coach Fitz, Giramondo, 2018

Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists, 2019

Tom, a young man struggling to forge some sense from his experiences, employs the services of an older woman as his running coach. A former psychoanalyst, Coach Fitz’s methods combine fitness training with an intense curiosity about the spirit of the places through which they travel. Enthusiastic and perceptive yet plagued by self-consciousness, Tom finds himself at once fascinated and troubled by his mentor’s peculiar ideas. As they follow an eccentric course across parklands, streets and beaches, a conversation unfolds about the athletic body, architectural style and especially the emergence from adolescence into adulthood.

Creation and the Function of Art by Jason Tuckwel 

Jason Tuckwell, Creation and the Function of Art, Bloomsbury, 2017

Returning to the Greek understanding of art to rethink its capacities, Creation and the Function of Art focuses on the relationship between techné and phusis (nature). Moving away from the theoretical Platonism which dominates contemporary understandings of art, this book instead reinvigorates Aristotelian causation. Beginning with the Greek topos and turning to insights from philosophy, pure mathematics, psychoanalysis and biology, Jason Tuckwell re-problematises techné in functional terms.

No More Boats 

Felicity Castagna, No More Boats, Giramondo, 2017

It is 2001. 438 refugees sit in a boat called Tampa off the shoreline of Australia, while the TV and radio scream out that the country is being flooded, inundated, overrun by migrants. Antonio Martone, once a migrant himself, has been forced to retire, his wife has moved in with the woman next door, his daughter runs off with strange men, his deadbeat son is hiding in the garden smoking marijuana. Amid his growing paranoia, the ghost of his dead friend shows up and commands him to paint ‘No More Boats’ in giant letters across his front yard.

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Kate Middleton, Passage, Giramondo, 2017

Kate Middleton’s third poetry collection continues her preoccupation with terrestrial and other landscapes, both real and imagined. The poems haunt, and are haunted by, the legacies of literature and history: whether inhabiting the scientific laboratory, the exploratory voyage, the layered history of landscape, or the voices of past authors, they are interested in the border-zones of understanding, in both the ‘the riddle of untrodden land’ and the buried history of lost empires. Formally, the poems move between traditional lyric and collage-style forms of quotation and erasure.

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Fiona Wright, Domestic Interior, Giramondo, 2017

Many of the poems in Domestic Interior were written around the same time as Fiona Wright’s award-winning collection of essays Small Acts of Disappearance, and they share with that work her acute sensitivity to the details that build our everyday world, and hold us in thrall, in highly charged moments of emotional extremity. Anxiety lurks in domestic spaces, it inhabits the most ordinary objects, like a drill bit or a phone charger, it draws our attention to the bruised body and its projecting parts.The elements of language take on new intensity in a series of ‘overheard’ poems fraught with their speakers’ vulnerability and their attempts at resolution.

The Lebs 

Michael Mohammed Ahmad, The Lebs, Hatchette, 2017

Bani Adam thinks he's better than us!' they say over and over until finally I shout back, 'Shut up, I have something to say!'They all go quiet and wait for me to explain myself, redeem myself, pull my shirt out, rejoin the pack. I hold their anticipation for three seconds, and then, while they're all ablaze, I say out loud, 'I do think I'm better.' As far as Bani Adam is concerned Punchbowl Boys is the arse end of the earth. Though he's a Leb and they control the school, Bani feels at odds with the other students, who just don't seem to care.

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Peter Boyle, Ghostspeaking, Vagabond Press, 2016

Winner of the 2017 NSW Premier’s Award for Poetry

Eleven fictive poets from Latin America, France and Québec. Their poems, interviews, biographies and letters weave images of diverse lives and poetics. In the tradition of Fernando Pessoa, Boyle presents an array of at times humorous, at times tormented heteronymous poets. In their varied voices and styles, writing as they do across the span of the 20th Century and into the 21st , these haunted and haunting figures offer one of poetry's oldest gifts – to sing beauty in the face of death. In all this Boyle, their fictive translator, is deeply enmeshed.

Cormac McCarthy Borders and Landscapes book cover 

Lou Jillet (editor), Cormac McCarthy's Borders and Landscapes, Bloomsbury, 2016

Cormac McCarthy's work is attracting an increasing number of scholars and critics from a range of disciplines within the humanities and beyond, from political philosophy to linguistics and from musicology to various branches of the sciences. Cormac McCarthy's Borders and Landscapes contributes to this developing field of research, investigating the way McCarthy's writings speak to other works within the broader fields of American literature, international literature, border literature, and other forms of comparative literature.

A Chinese Affair by Isabelle Li 

Isabelle Li, A Chinese Affair, Margaret River Press, 2016

These sixteen stories present characters who share much, yet are all unique. As if in a kaleidoscope, they continue to be revealed and reinterpreted in different lights and from different angles. Isabelle Li's prose is powerful, exquisite and finely tuned, and each story draws us deeper into the complex emotional and cultural dilemmas of characters who are solitary, sensitive, perceptive and powerless, sometimes all at once. A Chinese Affair is a beautiful book, elegant and accomplished, and a triumph of the art of the short story.

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Luke Beesley, Jam Sticky Vision, Giramondo 2015

Jam Sticky Vision is the successor to Luke Beesley's highly-regarded third book of poetry, New Works on Paper, published by Giramondo in 2013. The poems in this collection blend observation, memory and anecdote – with particular interest in American film, rock music, visual arts and poetry, and the way they inhabit the poet's everyday life in contemporary Melbourne. They create 'an uncanny universe', which hovers somewhere between the real world and that of the poet's imagination, characterised by surprising encounters and fleeting details rendered with the utmost clarity.

Small Acts of Dissapearance Fiona Wright book cover 

Fiona Wright, Small Acts of Disappearance, Giramondo 2015

Winner of the 2016 Queensland Literary Award for Non-fictionWinner of the 2016 Nita B. Kibble Award

Small Acts of Disappearance describes the author's affliction with an eating disorder which begins in university, and escalates into life-threatening anorexia over the next ten years. Fiona Wright is a highly regarded poet and critic, and her account of her illness is informed by a keen sense of its contradictions and deceptions, and by an awareness of the empowering effects of hunger, which is unsparing in its consideration of the author's motives and actions.

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Martin Edmond, Battarbee and Namatjira, Girammondo, 2014

Battarbee and Namatjira is the double biography of artists Rex Battarbee and Albert Namatjira, one white Australian from Warrnambool in Victoria, the other Aboriginal, of the Arrernte people, from the Hermannsburg Mission west of Alice Springs. From their first encounters in the early 1930s, when Battarbee introduced Namatjira to the techniques of watercolour painting, through the period of Namatjira's extraordinary popularity as a painter, to his tragic death in 1959, their close relationship was to have a decisive impact on Australian art.

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Michael Mohammed Ahmad, The Tribe, Giramondo, 2014

Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists, 2015

For the last two decades the representation of Arab-Australian Muslims has been coloured by media reports of sexual assault, drug-dealing, drive-by shootings and terrorist conspiracy. This has made it difficult to understand a community which plays an important role in contemporary Australian society.Here, in his first work of fiction, Michael Mohammed Ahmad offers a privileged introduction to the life and customs of 'The Tribe'.

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Luke Carman, An Elegant Young Man, Giramondo, 2013

Winner of the 2015 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, Glenda Adams New Writing Prize
Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists, 2014

For a long time Western Sydney has been the political flash-point of the nation, but it has been absent from Australian literature. Luke Carman's first book of fiction is about to change all that: a collection of monologues and stories which tells it how it is on Australia's cultural frontier. His young, self-conscious but determined hero navigates his way through the complications of his divorced family, and an often perilous social world.

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Felicity Castagna, The Incredible Here and Now, Giramondo, 2013

Winner of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction

Michael's older brother dies at the beginning of the summer he turns 15, but as its title suggests The Incredible Here and Now is a tale of wonder, not of tragedy. Presented as a series of vignettes, it tells of Michael's coming of age in a year which brings him grief and romance; and of the place he lives in Western Sydney where 'those who don't know any better drive through the neighbourhood and lock their car doors', and those who do, flourish in its mix of cultures.

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Kate Middleton, Ephemeral Waters, 2013

In following the course of the Colorado River, Ephemeral Waters incorporates fragments drawn from historical documents, films, interviews and personal conversations, with sharply defined observations of its natural and man-made environments. These are carried along by Middleton's flexible command of rhythm, which responds to both the vitality of the Colorado River and its degradation, and to the exaltation, enjoyment and despair of those who live by it.

Samuel Beckett and the Encounter of Philosophy and literature Book Cover 

Arka Chattopadhyay (co-editor), Samuel Beckett and the Encounter of Philosophy and literature, Roman Books, 2013

How does philosophy think? How does Beckett's literature think? Are they different, same or both? Samuel Beckett and the Encounter of Philosophy and Literature is an assortment of critical investigations re-reading the complex encounter between Beckett's works and the discourse of philosophy.

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Jesse Blackadder, Chasing the Light, Harper Collins, 2013

A fictional recounting of the little-known true story of the first woman to ever set foot on Antarctica, and her extraordinary fight to get there. It′s the early 1930s. Antarctic open-sea whaling is booming and a territorial race for the mysterious continent between Norwegian and British-Australian interests is in full swing.

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Belinda Castles, Hannah & Emil, Allen & Unwin, 2012

Emil and Hannah live their lives amid the turmoil of twentieth-century history. Emil, a German veteran of the Great War, has returned home to a disturbed nation. As inflation and unemployment edge the country near collapse, Emil's involvement with the resistance ultimately forces him from his family and his home.

Claire Corbett When we have wings book cover 

Claire Corbett, When We Have Wings, Allen & Unwin, 2011

In a world divided into fliers and non-fliers, how far would you go to be able to fly? How much would you sacrifice - perhaps your own child? A beautifully written and compellingly original novel of sacrifice, betrayal and love.

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Fiona Wright, Knuckled, Giramondo, 2011

Winner of the Dame Mary Gilmore Award

The poems in Knuckled are themselves bony and assertive, stripped down to the detail, which appeals in its physical quality and the manner in which it is offered, as much as in its compression of feeling. There is a strong sense of the social in Wright's focus and selection: her details embody attitudes, prejudices, anxieties, identifications; they evoke the histories and mythologies embedded in family lore; and they carry an awareness of belonging in place.

Christopher Kremmer The Chase Book Cover 

Christopher Kremmer The Chase, Picador, 2011

When young scientist Jean Campbell is invited to help root out drugs in sport, she enters a murky world where power, privilege, money and illicit practices mix easily. It is Australia in the 1940s, the war is over, and Jean and her charismatic boss Howard Carter risk everything to expose the cruel underbelly of the 'sport of kings'. But old-school racehorse trainer Martin Foley refuses to go quietly, and his influence and 'connections' go straight to the highest echelons of polite society.

Jesse Blackadder Raven's Heart Book Cover 

Jesse Blackadder Raven's Heart, Harper Collins, 2011

A ship carries Mary, the young Queen of Scots, home from the French court to wrest back control of her throne. Masquerading as a male crew member, Alison Blackadder must find a way to gain the Queen′s favour so she can win back her family′s castle and lands, cruelly stolen by a murderous clan a generation before.

Martin Edmond Dark Night Walking with McCahon 

Martin Edmond Dark Night Walking with McCahon, Auckland University Press, 2011

In 1984, Colin McCahon went missing for 24 hours in Sydney. Found the next morning, kilometres from where he started, he had no memory of who he was or where he had been. In this work of creative non-fiction, Martin Edmond traces McCahon's potential footsteps, past pubs and monuments, art galleries and churches, barracks and parks: to accompany him some way into the darkness of his end.

Felicity Castagna Small Indiscretions Book Cover 

Felicity Castagna Small Indiscretions, Transit Lounge, 2011

Castagna's twenty stories range across countries including Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and China, deftly exploring the relationships of parents and children, lovers and enemies, the transient and the resident. In the spirit of the best travel literature, Castagna's fiction powerfully captures the landscapes and cultures of Asia and the intriguing interactions of Westerners with it.

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The Penguin Plays Rough Book of Short Stories, edited by Pip Smith

A beautifully produced collection of stories drawn from monthly readings at Penguin Plays Rough, which Pip established in 2008 to showcase the work of emerging and established writers.

Kristel Thornell Night Street Book Cover 

Kristel Thornell Night Street, Allen & Unwin, 2010

Night Street is the passionate story of a young painter, Clarice Beckett, who defies society's strict conventions and indifferent art critics alike and leads an intense private and professional life. With her extraordinary talent for making simple city and seascapes haunting and mysteriously revelatory, Clarice paints prolifically and lives largely, overcoming the seemingly confined existence as the spinster daughter in the parental home.

Walter Mason Destination Saigon Book Cover 

Walter Mason Destination Saigon, Allen & Unwin, 2010

From the crazy heat and colour of Saigon to the quieter splendour of Hanoi, Walter Mason gives us a rare, joyous and at times hilarious insight into twenty-first century Vietnam. Seduced by the beauty and charm of its people, and the sensuousness of its culture, we can almost taste the little coconut cakes cooked over a fire in a smoky Can Tho kitchen.

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Stephanie Dowrick In the Company of Rilke, Allen & Unwin, 2009

Stephanie Dowrick invites us into the transcendent and piercingly beautiful world of the much-loved early 20th century European poet, Rainer Maria Rilke and reveals how through his poetry we can connect with our inner life.

Matthew Thomson My Columbian Death Book Cover 

Matthew Thomson My Columbian Death Book, Pan Macmillan, 2008

Kidnappings, car bombs, cocaine, paramilitaries, bullfights, the Amazon and madness. Welcome to Colombia, where life is cheap and so are the drugs. In 2006, Matt Thompson travelled to Colombia in search of the life he might have led. Born to American parents, Matt's father was offered a post which would have taken the family to Bogota, but he turned it down because it was too high risk.