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About AustLit

  • The Current Team

  • Maggie Nolan - Director


    Associate Professor Maggie Nolan joined AustLit as Director in July 2023. She is an Associate Professor in Digital Cultural Heritage in the School of Communication and Arts and the recently appointed Director of AustLit. Maggie's research is in the broad field of Australian Literary Cultures, specifically Irishness in Australian literature; contemporary Indigenous literatures; hoaxes, imposture and mistaken identity in Australian literary culture; reading, reception and book clubs; and digital literary studies.

    Maggie values interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to humanities research.

    See UQ Researchers page: Maggie Nolan.

    Visit Maggie's AustLit record.

  • Catriona Mills - Content Manager


    Catriona Mills began work at AustLit in 2010, and is currently the Content Manager. She holds degrees from Macquarie University and The University of Queensland, including a PhD on the writing career of Australian-trained nineteenth-century actor Eliza Winstanley.

    She has published on adaptations of penny weekly serials to the suburban stage, authorship attribution in nineteenth-century periodicals, steampunk, and Doctor Who, and has led AustLit research projects on steampunk and early Australian television.

    Visit Catriona's AustLit record.

  • Melanie Saward - BlackWords Coordinator


    Melanie Saward is a proud Bigambul and Wakka Wakka woman. She is a lecturer of Australian Studies in the School of Communication and Arts and has recently (July 2024) been appointed as the coordinator of BlackWords. Her research looks at Indigeneity in romantic comedy fiction with a focus on diversity, intersectionality, and the Australian publishing industry.

    Melanie is a writer and editor. Her debut fiction book, Burn, was published in 2023 with Affirm press and her first romantic comedy novel, Love Unleashed, will be published in August 2024.

    Visit Melanie's AustLit record.

  • Brendan Jeon - Developer

    Brendan Jeon has been a developer for AustLit and Cirrus which is Learning and Teaching platform provided by AustLit since 2016.

    He loves reading books, and watching clips about scientists' biographies as well as science history. Brendan has also published some computer programming books.

  • Joanne Sawyers - Chief Indexer

    Joanne Sawyers completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Studies at The University of Queensland in 2002. After completing a Certificate in Workplace Assessment and Training she taught Computer Studies at the Bremer Institute of TAFE.

    After a short period working as a volunteer guide at the Ipswich Art Gallery, she took up a position as a Research Assistant for Dr Toni Johnson-Woods, working on her ARC funded pulp fiction project. During this time, she also lectured and tutored Media Studies at The University of Queensland Ipswich campus.

    In 2009, she joined the AustLit team and is now the organisation’s senior researcher and indexer.

    Joanne's favourite authors include Michael Robotham, Candice Fox, Adrian McKinty, and Dervla McTiernan.

  • Amy Schoonens - Researcher, Designing for digital inclusion: Cross-curricular learning environments on AustLit

    Dr Amy Schoonens is Senior Research Assistant on a project to develop cross-curriculum learning environments. This project was funded by AuDA, and commenced in February 2024.

    Amy has collaborated with AustLit since 2008: initially as a Project Manager on three large-scale children's literature projects, then as research assistant at AustLit, UQ, from 2018-2020. Amy's roles included subscription management, research, indexing, project assistance and content development.

    Her research interests include children's and young adult literature, genre fiction, contemporary book culture and social media. Amy has a Bachelor of Arts (UQ), Grad Dip. in Library and Information Management (CSU) and a Master of Arts, Children's Literature (MQ). Her PhD, titled 'The Digital Media Ecologies of Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Participatory Cultures for Teen Readers, was completed at the Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2024. Amy was offered an ARC Discovery Scholarship to undertake this research. 

    She has previously worked as a Researcher and Librarian.

    Visit Amy's AustLit record.

  • Bianca Millroy - Engagement and Research Assistant


    Bianca’s role with AustLit began in 2020, initially as Engagement and Subscriptions Officer (part-time, 2020-21), then as Research and Engagement Assistant, from 2023 to present. Bianca’s current role involves the curation of AustLit’s newsletter, research and grant writing, project assistance and other outreach initiatives. Previously she has been involved with content development for AustLit’s projects, including Liminal Spaces, Solitary Places: Lighthouses in Australian Literature. Bianca holds a Master of Professional Writing and Bachelor of Creative Writing (UniSC), and is currently completing her PhD at UQ’s School of Communication and Arts. Bianca’s research interests include creative nonfiction, narrative medicine, and science writing. Her thesis ‘Cognitive conversations on the cutting edge of creativity and neuroscience’ explores how we can communicate about functional neurological disorders using creative nonfiction and narrative medicine techniques.

    Visit Bianca’s AustLit record.

  • Affiliates

  • Jonathan Hadwen - Lead Developer

    Jonathan is a web developer with The University of Queensland's Digital Humanities and Social Sciences initiative run through UQ's Research Computing Centre. He has been a developer for AustLit for over ten years.

    He writes poetry and short fiction and is a lover of Celtic folk music, occasionally attempting to play the Irish flute and tin whistle. 

    Visit Jonathan's AustLit record.

  • Anita Heiss - Inaugural Co-ordinator and Champion, BlackWords

    Image: Morgan Roberts

    Professor Anita Heiss is a proud Wiradyuri woman, but born in Gadigal country. She spent much of her life on Dharawal land near La Perouse before moving to Magandjin / Meanjin. Anita is an award-winning prolific writer and editor of non-fiction, children's novels, historical fiction, and commercial fiction. 

    Anita is a strong advocate for Indigenous literacy, and a Lifetime Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Her support and leadership of BlackWords began at its foundation in 2007, and she regularly advocates for BlackWords through educational and academic events.

    In 2019, Anita was appointed Professor of Communications at The University of Queensland, and divides her time between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Studies (ATSIS) Unit, and The School of Communication and Arts.

    Visit Anita's AustLit record.

  • AustLit Stakeholder Advisory Group

  • Name Affiliated Organisation/Institution
    Katherine Bode

    Professor of Literary and Textual Studies,

    ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences,

    Australian National University

    Stephen Carleton

    Playwright, Associate Professor, Drama

    School of Communication and Arts,

    The University of Queensland

    Simon Farley

    Bibliographer and Fryer Librarian

    The University of Queensland

    Anita Heiss

    Writer and Professor of Communications

    Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement)

    The University of Queensland

    Sarah Holland-Batt

    Poet and Professor, Creative Writing

    Queensland University of Technology

    Anna Johnston

    Professor of Literature,

    School of Communication and Arts,

    The University of Queensland

    President, International Australian Studies Association (InASA)

    Claire Jones

    Honorary Research Fellow,

    University of Western Australia

    English Teachers Association of Western Australian (ETAWA)

    Susan Lever, OAM

    Honorary Associate

    The University of Sydney

    ASAL Vets

    Kate McLay

    Lecturer, English 

    School of Education

    The University of Queensland

    Roger Osborne

    Associate Professor

    James Cook University

    President, Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL)

    Melanie Saward

    Writer and Lecturer in Australian Studies

    BlackWords Coordinator

    School of Communication and Arts

    The University of Queensland

    Aviva Tuffield


    University of Queensland Press (UQP)

    Julienne van Loon

    Writer and Associate Professor in Creative Writing

    School of Culture and Communication

    Melbourne University

    Margaret Warren

    Director of Digital Delivery

    State Library of Queensland

    Millicent Weber

    ARC DECRA Fellow

    School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics

    Australian National University

    Phoebe Weston-Evans

    Senior Research Coordinator

    Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)

    Jessica White

    Writer and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing,

    Creative Writing and Literature


    Kim Wilkins

    Writer and Professor of Writing, Publishing and Book Culture,

    School of Communication and Arts

    The University of Queensland

    Deputy Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

    Daozhi Xu

    ARC DECRA Fellow

    Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Language and Literature

    Macquarie University

    International Australian Studies Association (InASA)

  • AustLit Stakeholder Advisory Group Terms of Reference

    AustLit’s Stakeholder Advisory Group is relatively informal group. There will be no executive on this group (that is, secretary, treasurer, etc.). The meetings will be chaired by the AustLit Director, with minutes taken by the Content Manager.

    • Purpose & Scope: TThe Stakeholder Advisory Group is not a decision-making body. AustLit’s Director reports to the Head of School, Communication and Arts. The purpose of this group is to provide strategic advice to the AustLit director from its key stakeholders, and, as representatives of those stakeholders, to provide liaison between AustLit and its key stakeholders. Generally, this Group will not be asked to provide advice on technical or budgetary matters although we will discuss matters of sustainability. 
    • Composition: Members of the group are selected based on their status as experienced users of AustLit and on their capacity to represent and engage specific stakeholders, including scholars, librarians, teachers, creative practitioners etc. We will also have people who represent BlackWords and Early Career Researchers. Stakeholders are selected by the Director but members of the group may recommend other stakeholders they think should be included in the group.
    • Meetings: Meetings will be held 3 times a year via Zoom/Teams although the Director may reach out for advice to members of the committee at other times of the year.
    • Relationship with Stakeholders: Each member may determine how best to engage with, seek input, and represent their constituents.
    • Conflicts of Interest: Any member who thinks a particular discussion would involve a conflict of interest, we would appreciate that being disclosed and we can manage these as they arise.
    • Duration and Review: Members will have an initial term of three years which can be renewable. Members are free to leave the group before the end of their term. If they are a representative of a specific stakeholder, though, it would be a great if they could recommend a replacement.
    • Amendment: These terms of reference will be considered every three years and can be amended as part of the advice the group provides.
  • Former Team Members

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