Dr Rachel Robertson is senior lecturer in Professional Writing and Publishing at and is Deputy Head of the School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry at Curtin University. She has a BA (Honours) and MPhil from UWA and a PhD from Curtin University. Her short fiction and essays have been published in journals and anthologies such as Griffith Review, Island, Best Australian Essays, Australian Book Review and Sitelines. Her first book, Reaching One Thousand: a story of love, motherhood and autism, was published by Black Inc in 2012 and re-issued in 2018. She is co-editor with Liz Byrski of Purple Prose (Fremantle Press 2015) and with Camilla Nelson of Dangerous Ideas about Mothers (UWA Publishing, 2018).
BA (Hons) UWA 1984; MPhil (Women's Studies) UWA 1994; PhD Curtin University 2011.
Before joining Curtin in 2009, Rachel worked in book publishing, in the WA public sector as a researcher and writer, in education and advocacy in the non-government sector and ran her own business as a consultant editor, writer and researcher. Her twin passions are education and writing.
Rachel's research interests are life writing, creative writing pedagogy, ethics, feminist maternal studies, critical disability studies, cultural studies, Australian literature, and writing creative non-fiction and personal essays. She is currently working on a collection of lyric essays as well as various scholarly research projects.
Rachel is a past associate and reflections editor of the journal Life Writing, Prose Consultant Editor for Westerly, on the Editorial Team for Axon: Creative Explorations, and Editorial Adviser for the Australian Book Review.
Rachel coordinates the Creative Arts Strand of the Curtin University/University of Aberdeen Alliance.
Australian Society of Authors.
Association for the Study of Australian Literature.
Association of Australian Writing Programs.
International and Australian Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement.
Cultural Studies Association of Australia.
- Winner of Curtin University Humanities Teaching Excellence Award for Supervision 2018.
- Shortlisted for the National Biography Award 2013 for Reaching One Thousand.
- Winner of Curtin University Humanities Research Award for Major Creative Work 2013.
- Shortlisted for the Varuna/Griffith Review Essay Competition 2010.
- Winner of the Australian Book Review Calibre Award for Outstanding Essay 2008.
- Winner of Bobbie Cullen Memorial Award (Curtin University) 2007.
- Winner of the Gladys I Wade Prize, the James Bourke Memorial Prize in English, and the Convocation Prize in Arts (UWA) 1984.
Rachel's teaching area is Professional Writing and Publishing, which includes non-fiction creative writing.
Completed supervisions include five PhDs; one Masters by coursework thesis; and five honours theses.
Rachel supervises both creative production and traditional higher degree research projects. Topics of supervision include:
- Life writing
- Memoir, narrative non-fiction and travel writing
- Illness narratives, critical disability studies and the representation of disability
- Ethics in writing
- Writing about human rights.
- Robertson, R., and H. Kadmos. 2020. "Crossing the shadow line: collaborative creative writing about grief." New Writing 17 (2): 214-225.
- Ellis, K., R. Garland-Thomson, M. Kent, and R. Robertson.. "Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability Looking Towards the Future:.": Routledge. Inpress.
- Robertson, R. 2019. "Tesserae: essaying fragments of a life." New Writing 16 (2): 221-225.
- Kent, M. I., R. Robertson, K. Ellis, and R. Garland-Thomson. 2019. "Looking to the future for critical disability studies: Disciplines, perspectives and manifestos." In Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability Looking Towards the Future: Kent, M., K. Ellis, R. Robertson, and R. Garland-Thomson., 1-6 New York: Routledge.
- Kent, M. I., K. Ellis, R. Robertson, and R. Garland-Thomson. 2018. "Why Manifestos, why now?." In Manifestos for the Future of Critical Disability Studies Kent, M., K. Ellis, R. Robertson, and R. Garland-Thomson., 1-8 New York: Routledge.
- Robertson, R., and C. Fernandes. 2018. "Bringing maternal studies into critical disability studies." In Manifestos for the Future of Critical Disability Studies Ellis, K., M. Kent, R. Robertson, and R. Garland-Thomson., 38-51 Abingdon, Oxon: Interdisciplinary Disability Studies.
- Lee, C., W. Price, and R. Robertson. 2018. "Haunted crossings: writing between presence and absence." Axon: Creative Explorations 3: N/A-N/A.
- Robertson, R., and P. Hetherington. 2018. "Essaying images: image and text in contemporary lyric essays." New Writing 15 (3): 370-381.
- Robertson, R., and C. T. Fernandes. 2018. ""You have no fucking idea"." In Dangerous Ideas about Mothers Robertson, R., and C. Nelson., 85-98 Crawley, WA: UWA Publishing.
- Robertson, R. 2018. "Clay, Paper, Glass." Canberra: Axon.
- Nelson, C., and R. Robertson. 2018. "Dangerous Ideas about Mothers."
- Bussey, M., L. Chandler, G. Crew, and R. Robertson. 2018. "Introduction: Anticipatory Imaginaries: Dialogues between academic research and the creative imagination." TEXT No 52
- Robertson, R., and C. Nelson. 2018. "Scrutiny." In Dangerous Ideas about Mothers Robertson, R., and C. Nelson., 1-16 Crawley, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Publishing.
- Robertson, R., M. Kent, K. Ellis, and R. Garland-Thomson. ed. 2018. "Manifestos for the Future of Critical Disability Studies." UK: Routledge.
- Robertson, R., and H. Kadmos. 2018. "A darkness, a shadow: in two voices." Meanjin 77 (1): 188-193.
- Cardell, K., and R. A. Robertson. 2017. "Essay now: the contemporary essay in Australia and beyond." TEXT 39: 1-8.
- Robertson, R. A., D. Juckes, M. O'Rourke, and R. Pettitt-Schipp. 2017. "An ambiguous genre: thoughts on creative non-fiction and the exegesis." TEXT Special Issue 44: 1-13.
- Robertson, R., and P. Hetherington. 2017. "A mosaic patterning: space, time and the lyric essay." New Writing 14 (1): 36-46.
- Bennett, D. E., and R. Robertson. 2017. "ePortfolios and the Development of Student Career Identity Within a Community of Practice: Academics as Facilitators and Guides." In ePortfolios in Australian Universities Rowley, J., 65-82 Singapore: Springer.
- Robertson, R. A. 2017. "On Fifty-Three." Australasian Association of Writing Program.
- Robertson, R. A. 2017. "'Undiscovered Countries': an Introduction to shaping the Fractured Self." In Shaping the Fractured Self: poetry of chronic illness and pain Taylor Johnson, H., 11-17 Perth, WA: UWA Publishing.
- Hetherington, P., and R. A. Robertson. 2017. "Both broken and joined: subjectivity and the lyric essay." TEXT 39: 1-14.
- Robertson, R. A. 2015. "Dancing." Perth Western Australia: Westerly Centre.
- Robertson, R. 2015. "Out of Time: Maternal time and disability." Studies in the Maternal 7 (1): 1-13.
- Byrski, L., and R. A. Robertson. 2015. "Introduction." Fremantle Press.
- Bennett, D. E., and R. Robertson. 2015. "Preparing students for diverse careers: Developing career literacy with final-year writing students." Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, 12 (3)
- Robertson, R. 2015. "Velvet." Fremantle: Fremantle Press.
- Robertson, R. 2015. "Learning to Grieve." Australia: University of Canberra.
- 2015. "Purple Prose: an anthology of women's writing." Fremantle: Fremantle Press.
- Robertson, R. 2014. "Book review by Rachel Robertson of Riding a Crocodile: A Physician's Tale by Paul Komesaroff." Australia: Australian Book Review.
- Robertson, R. 2014. "Misfitting Mothers: feminism, disability and motherhood." Hecate 40 (1): 7-19.
- Robertson, R. 2014. "Crossing Borders: Cross-cultural Translation in Parental Autism Memoirs." In Literature as Translation/Translation as Literature, 170-183 United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
- Robertson, R. 2014. "'Driven by Tens': Obsession and cognitive difference in Toni Jordan's romantic comedy Addition." The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture 3 (3): 311-320.
- Robertson, R. 2013. "Lost and Found: Intimacy and Distance in Three Motherhood Memoirs about Autistic Children." In Motherhood Memoirs: Mothers Creating/Writing Lives, 153-170 United States: Demeter Press.
- Robertson, R. 2013. "The Shapeless Ghost: Ambiguous Loss and Creativity in Learning How to Breathe." Axon: Creative Explorations 3 (1)
- Robertson, R. 2012. "Reaching One Thousand: a story of love, motherhood and autism." Melbourne, Australia: Black Inc.
- Robertson, R. 2012. "The Air that Falls: Ethics and Aftermath." Westerly 57 (2): 71-87.
- Robertson, R. 2012. "Using knowledge networks to teach online writing skills in the professional writing classroom." In Engaging Students with Learning Technologies, 167-175 Australia: Curtin University of Technology.
- Robertson, R. 2012. "Raw Experience." Melbourne, Australia: Black Inc.
- Robertson, R. 2012. "Against redemption: the dilemma of memoir." Axon: Creative Explorations 1 (2)
- Robertson, R. 2011. "Writer first, mother second: the politics and ethics of motherhood memoirs." In 16th annual Australasian Association of Writing Programs conference, Ethical Imaginations, Nov 23, 2011, Byron Bay, NSW: Australasian Association of Writing Programs.
- Robertson, R. 2011. "Sharing Stories: Motherhood, Autism and Culture." In Disability and Mothering: Liminal Spaces of Embodied Knowledge, 140-155 New York: Syracuse University Press.