English and Creative Writing

Why a PhD or Research Masters in English and Creative Writing at Newcastle?

Dr Jesper Gulddal Sorensen, Head of English at the University of NewcastleThe University of Newcastle has one of the top-rated English departments in Australia. We offer a dynamic, innovative team offering a unique blend of criticism and creativity in its approach to literature and writing.

With our proven records in research and supervision, PhD and Masters by Research students will benefit from expertise that covers a wide range of subjects: Renaissance/ 19th Century Literature, Modern/ Contemporary Literature, Postcolonial Studies, Children's Literature, Indigenous Studies and Creative Writing.

Our writing program is one of the oldest and most successful programs in the country. It has produced an enviable list of writers who have won top awards like the Queensland Premier's Award for Short Fiction, The Commonwealth Book Prize, and the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards.

With our close links with the Hunter Writers Centre and the Newcastle Writers Festival, our team of engaged and experienced supervisors provide a nurturing environment for writers to develop creative projects to their full potential.

With extensive records in research publications and supervision experience, the discipline's expertise covers a wide range of fields such as Renaissance Literature, 19th Century Literature, Modern and Contemporary Literature, Postcolonial Studies, Critical Theory, Children/ YA Literature, Fantasy Literature, Indigenous Studies and Creative Writing.

What you can research

Research Proposals are invited in the following areas:

  • Detective Fiction
  • Theory and History of the Novel
  • 19th Century Literature
  • Comparative Literature
  • Renaissance Literature
  • Women's Writings
  • Literary Computing
  • Indigenous Literature
  • Modern and Contemporary British/ American Literature
  • Contemporary Australian and World Poetry
  • Popular Culture
  • Children's Literature
  • Fantasy Literature
  • Creative Writing (Literary Nonfiction, Short Fiction,  Novel and Poetry)

Research methodologies

Teaching and research are mutually reinforcing in English and Creative Writing; the knowledge gained in research feeding our teaching and the insights gained from teaching fuelling our research. We employ interpretive analysis and close reading of texts, informed by knowledge of critical frameworks and theory.

Our research is also practice-led, focussing on the immediate relationship between research and outcomes, and recognising research as a process of discovery. We aim for a balance of criticism and creativity and engage with Indigenous ways of research and knowledge.

Find a supervisor

Before you apply, contact a supervisor for discussion on possible research projects. This will allow you to frame your proposal to align with established disciplines and areas of supervisor capacity.

  • Professor Hugh Craig: Renaissance, World Literature, Literary Computing, Literature and Media
  • Associate Professor Ros Smith: Renaissance, Early Modern Women's Writings, True Crime, Contemporary Australian Fiction
  • Associate Professor Caroline Webb: SF and Fantasy Literature, including Children's/YA Fantasy Literature, British Modernist Literature, recent British Women's Fiction
  • Dr Brooke Collins-Gearing: Indigenous Literature, Postcolonial Literature, Children's Literature
  • Dr Keri Glastonbury: Contemporary Australian Poetry, Nonfiction, Creative Writing
  • Dr Jesper Gulddal: 19th Century Literature, History and Theory of the Novel, Detective Fiction, Literary Theory
  • Dr David Musgrave: Contemporary Australian Poetry and Novel, the Satire, Creative Writing
  • Dr Patricia Pender: Early Modern Women's Literature, Jane Austen, Literature and Film, Popular Culture, Contemporary Women's Literature
  • Dr Emmett Stinson: Modern American Literature, Contemporary Literature, Critical Theory, Publishing
  • Dr Michael Sala: Creative writing, contemporary fiction, memoir

How to Apply for Graduate Research

Current Graduate Studies in English and Creative Writing

There are a number of research projects being undertaken by graduate students in the area of English and Creative Writing at Newcastle. Take a look some of the current topics:

  • 'The Convergence of the Twain': Romanticism and Naturalism in Thomas Hardy's Tragic Novels
  • The Specular Selves: the Life and After-life of the Image in the Harry Potter Sequence
  • The Moment of Transformation: Women, Animals and Power Within Revisionist Fairy Tales
  • Exploring the Experiences of a Light-Horseman Through Creative Non-Fiction Drawing on the Life of my Grandfather
  • Who's Speaking Please? An Exploration of Voice and Position in Young Adult Fiction
  • The Moving and Sorrowful Voice That Cries Out: Trauma and Post-Structuralism in Turner Hospital's Fictional Prose
  • Hybridity and the Post-Human in Contemporary Women's Literature

Graduate profile

English PhD student Ryan O'Neill

PhD candidate Ryan O'Neill

A PhD is a heavy undertaking. For Ryan O'Neill, it is measured by The Weight of a Human Heart, his collection of short stories that has thus far been published in Australia, the UK, the US and Israel. The collection, which has also been shortlisted for two writing awards: the NSW Premier's Literary Award and the Queensland Literary Award, represents for Ryan a dream come true... read more.