School Research

Contemporary Narrative and Poetics (CNP)

Research Group

Organisational Structure

Convenor: Dr Anthony Macris
Membership: Dr Merlinda Bobis, Dr Shady Cosgrove, Dr Anthony Macris, Mr Alan Wearne.
Affiliate: Associate Professor Anthony Uhlmann, Writing and Society Group, UWS. Associate Professor Uhlmann is the author of Becket and Poststructuralism, Cambridge University Press, 1999, and Beckett and the Philosophical Image, CUP, 2006. He is currently Chief Investigator of a 2006-2008 ARC Discovery Project. His fiction has appeared in journals such as Meanjin and Outrider, and he is an ocassional contributor to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Financial Review.
HDR Membership: All creative writing HDRs whose projects are in alignment with the group's rationale.
Current resource implications: Resources for the creation of a website for UOW Research Clusters purposes, including archive space for some PDF documents.

Contemporary Narrative and Poetics (CNP)
CNP conducts research into new developments in narrative and poetic forms, with an emphasis on the nature of the literary and its evolution in contemporary contexts. Current projects are both practice and theory based, with CNP researchers engaged in the production of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and theoretical research that engages with innovations in narratology, poetics, aesthetics, and cross-generic textual forms.

Developments in contemporary aesthetic transformations cannot be fully understood without taking into account their historical underpinnings. To this end CNP promotes research into the history of literary form and aesthetics, particularly how they relate to possible new modes of contemporary practice.

CNP members, both as individuals and collaborators, have attracted substantial research grants from international and national funding bodies, including Johns Hopkins University (US), the University Santo Tomas (Philippines), the Australia Council, the Australian Academy of Humanities, Asialink, and the Marten Bequest, as well as a large number of Australian universities.

As an emergent research strength, CNP has as a number of HDR students engaged in projects that explore the possibilities of narrative and poetic forms issuing from new social, political and cultural transformations. Many of these students have gone on to publish in national journals, and present their work at major national and international conferences and performance venues in Europe, Asia and the United States.

While grounded in the disciplines of creative writing and literary theory, CNP research also lends itself to cross-disciplinarity in the areas of narrative and poetics as they are more widely understood.

Researchers and Projects

Dr Merlinda Bobis

Current research projects

  • The Love Song of the Locust Girl (Novel on genocide and terrorism). In revision to prepare for submission.
  • Fish-Hair Woman (Novel on militarism). Under submission
  • River, River (Play for stage on militarism). Under development to prepare for an Australia Council application in July and an Asialink residency in September
  • The Solemn Lantern Maker (Novel in progress on child prostitution). Researched in the Philippines in November 2005.
  • Neighbouring (Short film on food and the Australian neighbourhood). Under research.

Research interests

  • Fiction, performance (radio, stage), poetry. War and militarism; child prostitution; food and migration.

Selected publications
 2005 Banana Heart Summer (Novel). Pier 9, Murdoch Books
 2004 A Novel-in-Waiting. Creative Research: Towards Writing Fiction (Monograph of lectures on novel writing). University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, Manila
 2001 and 1999. The Kissing (Short fiction), Aunt Lute Books, San Francisco White Turtle. Spinifex Press,
 1998 Summer Was A Fast Train Without Terminals (Collection of poems). Spinifex Press, Melbourne
 1997 Rita's Lullaby (Radio play), ABC Radio, first broadcast on 1 April.
 1997 and 1993 editions. Cantata of The Warrior Woman /Kantada ng Babaing Mandirigma Daragang Magayon  (Epic poem for performance; in two versions: English and Pilipino), Babaylan Press, Manila.

Current Higher Degree by Research student projects
Bite my Tongue (Novel). Francesca Rendle-Short, DCA
Performance work series: radio, puppetry, performance installation, new media. Catherine Fargher, DCA
The Raft (Extended narrative poetry). Helen Lambert, PhD

Dr Shady Cosgrove

Current research projects
Shady Cosgrove's current research investigates how narrative fiction techniques can be incorporated into creative non-fiction and how this affects popular and theoretical understandings of the two genres.  Her recent academic work has focused on ideas of structure and the implications of this in light of Lejeune's autobiographical pact within (auto)biography, but she is also interested in readings of character within (auto)biographical contexts. Her current non-fiction work-in-progress The Beginner's Guide to Elvis (currently 70,000 words) is informed by this academic work.  The Beginner's Guide to Elvis is structured around three themes: the cultural significance of Elvis Presley to contemporary American culture, family mythologies, and notions of pilgrimage.  It also explores three genres: the essay, the memoir and documentary writing. However, while working within these genres, it demonstrates specific writing strategies more often associated with fiction.

Research interests
 Fiction; non-fiction; (auto)biography studies; gender studies.

Selected publications
2005 Train (microfiction) Overland. 181.Summer: 87.
 2005 Drop (microfiction) Overland. 181.Summer: 87.
 2005 Teaching as Improvisational Performance in the Creative Writing Classroom Pedagogy. 5.3: 471-481
 2004 The Golden Courtesan (Chapter six excerpt) Hecate. 29.2: 335-46.
 2004 The Varens Obsession (Chapter four excerpt) Southerly. 64.3: 10-14.
 2003 The Golden Courtesan (Chapter five excerpt) Antipodes. 17.2: 134-8.

Selected awards and prizes
2007 Visiting Fellowship at the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra.
 2004 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, Australia.
 1998 Overseas Postgraduate Research Scholarship and Australian National University Scholarship.

Current Higher Degree by Research student projects
Fiction, gender and warrior narratives. Jennie Kremmer, DCA
 Fiction, cyberspace and the body. Lucy Alexander, MCA-R

Dr Anthony Macris

Current research projects
Great Western Highway (Capital, Volume One, Part Two)
 The Generative mise en abyme. Theoretical papers that map tropes of aesthetic self-reflexivity in materialist contexts

Research interests
The contemporary novel; materialist aesthetics; the mise en abyme; the commodification of affect

Selected publications
2006 Highway of Death (chapter from Capital, Volume One, Part Two), Ed. N. Hollier. Overland, No 181, Melb.
 2005 Love Goes to Market. Heat 10, New Series. Ed. Ivor Indyk. Giramondo, Sydney.
 2004 Samuel Beckett, Claude Simon and the Mise en Abyme of Paradoxical Duplication. Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui. Eds. Bruno Clément and Sjef Houppermans. Rodopi Publications, Holland.
 2004 Contours Flous (chapter Dulled Eges from Capital, Volume One, Part Two), Le Passant Ordinaire, No. 49, Ed. Pierre Cocrelle. Begles, France. Trans. by Esther Ménévis and Mathieu Ros.
 2003 Claude Simon and the Emergence of the Generative mise en abyme. Journal of the Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association). Ed. Lloyd Davis. Melbourne: The Association. No. 99, May.
 1997 Capital, Volume One. Allen & Unwin, Sydney. Released in London 1998

Selected awards and prizes
2003 Sussex-Samuel Prize for the essay Claude Simon and the Emergence of the Generative mise en abyme. Awarded by the Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association.
 1998 Sydney Morning Herald Australian Best Young Novelist 1998 for Capital, Volume One.
 1998 Capital, Volume One shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 1998. Section: Best first book in the Southeast Asia and South Pacific Region.

Current Higher Degree by Research student projects
The Island (a novel), and Ricouer and Narrative. Thomas Gibson, PhD.
 Les Murray, Heidegger and Translation. Helen Lambert, PhD
 The Novel and the Postcolonial, John Turner, DCA
 Frank Hardy and the tradition of the Left, Patrick Cranney, DCA
 Representations of death in the novels of Don DeLillo. Cameron Ward, BCA Hons
 Maximalist fiction: Gaddis and The Recognitions. Anna Poppof, BCA Hons


Alan Wearne

Current research
The poetry collection The Australian Popular Songbook, to be published by Giramondo (Sydney) in 2007. This book is in two sections. That named after the book’s title uses 28 popular Australian songs (from the 19th Century ballads to circa 1980) as departure points for individual poems: the forms being sonnets, other 14 liners and allied forms such as villanelles.
 The second section is called The Metropolitan Poems, having for its departure points various Australian places. As one can imagine folk writing poems inspired by Ularu, Kakadu, Sydney Harbour, a Melbourne tram etc., so my poems are inspired by suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney (with one side excursion to the Illawarra) in a variety of verse forms.

Research interests
Verse novel; contemporary poetry; suburban Australia

Selected publications
2004 The Lovemakers Book Two, Sydney: ABC Books
 2001 The Lovemakers Book One, Ringwood: Penguin Books Australia
 1997 Kicking In Danger, North Fitzroy: Black Pepper
 1987 Out Here, Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe Books
 1986 The Nightmarkets, Ringwood: Penguin Books Australia
 1976 New Devil, New Parish, St Lucia: University of Queensland Press

Selected awards and prizes
2005 Australian Literature Foundation Colin Roderick Prize.
 2002 New South Wales Premier's Prize Kenneth Slessor Award for Poetry and Book of the Year
 2002 Arts Queensland Judith Wright Calanthe Award for Australian Poetry

Current Higher Degree by Research student projects
Rachel Munro : Indigo Morning (Poetry)
 Anne Howell: The Astroturf Experience (Novella)
 Terry Keely: Prisoner (Novella)
 Pearlie McNeill: Tainted Fruit (Memoir)
 Tim Grey: Scorpio (Novella)

Selected Recent HDR publications
2005 Christine Howe. Paper presented at Hope: Probing the Boundaries’ conference, Prague. Version forthcoming as book-chapter in conference proceedings (2006).
 2005 Gareth Jenkins. Paper presented at Madness and Creativity’ conference, Durrell School of Corfu. Version forthcoming as book-chapter in publication of conference proceedings (2006).
 2005 John Tranter. Invited guest at Rotterdam Poetry International.2004 Vanessa Badham, 'Nikolina', Nabokov, Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal, Bath UK and then Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
 2004 Helen Lambert. A Draft Preamble: Les Murray and the Politics of Poetry’, Journal of Australian Studies, Edition 80. Queensland University Press, St Lucia, Qld, pp.5-14; 231-2.
 2004 Vanessa Badham. Nikolina’, Nabokov, Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal, Bath UK and then Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
 2004 Catherine Fargher. The Woman Who Knitted Herself a Child’, ABC Radio National, Sydney. 29 mins.


Research Activities

CNP holds two colloquia per year. Membership and public invited to attend.

CNP Papers Online
Selected papers from the colloquia will be posted online

HDR Training
UWS/UOW HDR Crosstraining Seminars and Workshops: May 6 and June 2, 2006. A CNP and Writing and Society (UWS) joint initiative.

Last reviewed: 1 June, 2009