I am the author of the historical novel, The Birdman’s Wife (Affirm Press, October 2016), the fictional memoir of the extraordinary 19th century bird illustrator, Elizabeth Gould. The Birdman’s Wife won the 2017 Australian Booksellers Association and Nielsen Bookscan Booksellers’ Choice Award and has been shortlised for: Australian Book Industry Awards, 2017, Fiction category; Australian Book Designers’ Association Awards, Literature Category; Australian Independent Booksellers Award, New Writing Category.
The Birdman’s Wife is the child of my PhD in creative writing research (University of Queensland); for four years I immersed myself in 19th century ornithology, travelling in Australia and to the United States to explore archival materials and view for myself first-hand Elizabeth’s stunning lithographs. I became an avid birdwatcher and in my ehnthusiasm learned to make taxidermied bird skins at the Queensland Museum.
I have published one collection of poetry, The Hospital for Dolls (PostPressed, 2003); my short stories, essays, poems and reviews have appeared in The Lifted Brow, Australian Book Review, Overland, Catamaran Literary Review, and others. I have performed my creative works at literary readings and festivals in Australia and New Zealand, and have presented many conference papers at Australian universities.
I have a PhD and an MPhil in creative writing and a first class honours degree in literature. I teach creative writing workshops at the University of Queensland and have worked in disability services and as the assistant director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. I have been a reader and peer reviewer for academic journals, and have coordinated mentorship programmes for honours students.
I have received research grants and awards for my work, including an Arts Queensland emerging writers’ grant, an Australian Scholarship Award and a University of Queensland merit-based scholarship; I received sponsorship to attend a Melon Foundation funded maritime and environmental conference and have been awarded several travelling grants, including the Graduate School International Travel Allowance. I was awarded the Cecelie Anne Sloane Scholarship in creative writing and have placed on the Dean’s list for outstanding academic achievement.
Areas of interest in my writing include the body, fairy tales, natural history and the environment, and women’s lost stories. I am currently researching for a new novel about the scandalously audacious life of a 17th century French fairy tale writer.
I was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia at the age of eight; I live in Brisbane with my two children.