After an early childhood spent mostly with my ‘nose in a book’, at age 9 I was educated at the School of Anne of Green Gables. I graduated to a plethora of Young Adult literature peppered with a liberal helping of English Literature classics. Never peturbed by texts I did not fully understand, I waded through novels by the Brontes, D.H Lawrence and some Dickens, but still count S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders as one of my all-time favourites.
Going to university was a blast — they gave me a library card that allowed me to borrow 20 – count ’em 20!– books at once from a selection that numbered in the millions. I almost blew a fuse. Naturally, I majored in English Literature where I fell in love with George Eliot and Adrienne Rich. After doing an Honours year, I won an Australian Postgraduate Award and embarked on a PhD, specialising in Feminist Poetics. I finished that in 2000. After five years doing sessional teaching at university, it became clear that teaching future graduates to read for language that evaded phallocentrism or subverted expected hetero-patriarchal paradigms was, oddly, not a government funding priority. Full-fledged academia was not to be. So in 2002 I went back to uni as a student and became a High School English teacher, which is what I have been doing ever since.
I love teaching and, even though it is a profession that never ceases to be demanding, it is also very absorbing. My focus is always on helping students read for meaning and to construct their own considered interpretations of texts, as well as creating their own. In a world which seems to be increasingly about all of us becoming passive consumers of both information and stuff, deep reading is one of the ways we still have available to decide what we think and who we are beyond entertainment and shopping.
I have abiding interests in literacy, interpretation and information literacy. I believe that the concept of critical literacy is central to a vision of people as interpreters and creators, and not merely as transmitter-receivers and consumers of information. Blogging is my little part of the larger work conducted by so many others for a ‘participatory literacy.’
(2011) Beauty and the Beautiful Beast: Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga and the Quest for a Transgressive Female Desire. Australian Feminist Studies 26 (67): 41 – 55.
(2007) J.S. Harry in The Dictionary of Literary Biography (Australian Edition). ed. Selina Samuels. Bruccoli Clarke Layman.