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'Creative writing research offers a unique opportunity to draw together threads of inquiry from the realms of the creative, the practical and the critical (Kroll and Harper 2013). This article explores a writer’s interrogation of this process and how it was applied to creating representations of a murderous mother in a crime fiction narrative. Crime fiction provides a natural space for intersections of the creative, practical and critical due to the genre’s tendency towards social critique (Moore 2006) and the opportunity it offers to question the representations and cultural assumptions that surround us. This article aims to unpack these intersections and ask how common representations of the murderous mother can be deconstructed, challenged and repositioned through first separating, and then realigning, critical and creative processes. (Publication abstract)'
'High-profile criminal cases often pique intense public interest at the time they are being acted out in the courts, and some cases maintain a place in the popular imagination. A few cases will result in narratives that successfully re-narrate the protagonists’ stories in what could be described as fully fleshed, satisfying biographical studies. This article examines the high profile cases of Mary Dean (poisoned by her husband in 1895) and Mary Jane Hicks (sexually assaulted by a gang of men in 1886) and how their stories, reduced to the facts distilled from copious legal documentation and newspaper reportage, have seen these women fade; their stories, though repeatedly re-told, contain both Dean and Hicks as unimagined and obscure.' (Publication abstract)
'When I embarked on my doctorate in creative writing, I wanted to write about the decline of an alternative community in the 1980s, similar to the one in which I had grown up. A noir novel seemed the perfect vehicle for the dark themes I planned to explore, and promised to be very different from the private eye series I usually wrote. Typically, noir is located in urban environments and many studies of noir fiction and film maintain that an urban setting is integral to the genre, speaking as it does to the anxiety and alienation of modern life, feelings of anonymity and of being the outsider, and the corruption and criminality of the city. Much contemporary noir fiction still takes place in metropolitan areas; however, there is, increasingly, a sub-genre situated in rural locations, as illustrated by the rise of ‘Country’ or ‘Hillbilly Noir’ in the USA. Australian crime fiction has long made use of the bush and outback as a location – usually as a site of conquest where the hero ultimately triumphs over the antagonist; however, noir narratives are different, invariably ending in destruction and defeat. This article will investigate Australian Rural Noir through a comparative textual analysis of Kenneth Cooke’s Wake in Fright, Chris Womersley’s The Low Road and Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites. It will consider the ways in which Australian rural noir uses landscape to subvert the pastoral paradigm and will examine the tensions between the exterior landscape and the interior life of the protagonists, reflecting on the particularly Australian cultural anxieties implicit in these texts. I also discuss my own research-led practice, the challenges involved in being an insider researcher and, finally, consider whether this nexus between the critical and creative helps or hinders the creative writing process.' (Publication abstract)