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Personal profile


Paul Hetherington is Professor of Writing in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra and Head of the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) in the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research. He is co-winner (as part of the Creativity and Social Change Team in the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research) in the University of Canberra’s Research Awards in the category for Outstanding Achievements in Research or Innovation, 2017; and winner in the University of Canberra’s Research Awards in the category for Individual Research Excellence, Humanities and Creative Arts, 2017. He was shortlisted for the prestigious Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry in the 2017 New South Wales Premier's Awards and was a finalist in the 2018 international Aesthetica Creative Writing competition. He was commended in the 2016 Newcastle Poetry Prize, shortlisted for the international 2016 Periplum Book Competition (UK), and his poetry collection, Six Different Windows won the 2014 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards (poetry). He was also shortlisted for the 2013 Montreal International Poetry Prize. He has an abiding interest in the visual arts and edited the final three volumes of the National Library of Australia’s authoritative four-volume edition of the diaries of the artist Donald Friend (volume four was shortlisted for the Manning Clark House 2006 National Cultural Awards). He is one of the founding editors of the international online journal Axon: Creative Explorations and a founding editorial committee member of the Meniscus journal. In 2002 he was the recipient of a Chief Minister’s ACT Creative Arts Fellowship. He was awarded one of two places on the 2012 Australian Poetry Tour of Ireland; and was also awarded an Australia Council for the Arts Residency in the BR Whiting Studio in Rome for 2015-16.

His particular areas of expertise are in poetry, creativity, creative collaboration and the lyric essay (he also has subsidiary research interests in autobiographical memory, the visual arts, imagery, and representations of the city in creative writing). He is particularly interested in exploring ways in which scholarly and creative work is able to be produced through collaborative processes, and ways in which creativity is often the product of complex interactions between different people rather than the product of individual 'inspiration'. His doctoral thesis explored the extent to which Emily Dickinson's poems may be read as autobiographical texts and, more generally, the ways in which Dickinson might, or might not be identified with her poetry's personae.

Formerly publisher and events director at the National Library of Australia, he was founding editor of the Library's quarterly humanities and literary journal Voices (1991–97). From 1990 to 2008 he edited the monthly magazine National Library of Australia News and he is a former editor of the Western Australian monthly multi-arts magazine Fremantle Arts Review. He is a former member of the Boards of Australian Book Review, and Conversations (published by the Australian National University). He is a former deputy chair of the Board of Manning Clark House, a former chair of the ACT Cultural Council, a former chair of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP), and a former chair of the ACT Public Art Expert Advisory Panel, reflecting his abiding interest in the visual arts. He was one of the founders and a former chair of the ACT Writers Centre.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Western Australia


Bachelor, University of Western Australia


External positions

Visiting Fellow, Irish Centre for Poetry Studies, Dublin City University

Nov 2018

Visiting Fellow, Roehampton University

Oct 2018Nov 2018

Visiting Fellow, Deakin University

Jul 2018Sep 2018

Visiting Scholar, Emerson College

Nov 2017Dec 2017

Visiting Adjunct, Curtin University of Technology


Visiting Scholar and Associate, Deakin University


Visiting Scholar, Emerson


Visiting Fellow , University of Melbourne


Visiting Fellow, University of Westminster


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Research Output 2004 2018

Essaying images: image and text in contemporary lyric essays

Robertson, R. & Hetherington, P. 3 Jul 2018 In : New Writing. 15, 3, p. 370-381 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Visual Imagery

Memory Gardens

WEBB, J. & HETHERINGTON, P. 2018 Offshoot: Contemporary Life Writing Methodologies and Practice . Brien, D. L. & Eades, Q. (eds.). Perth: University of Western Australia, p. 193-195 3 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

'Paint her to your own mind': Re-inflecting Laurence Sterne's 18th-century gesture

Munden, P. & Hetherington, P. 1 May 2018 In : Axon. 8, 1, p. 1-17 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Laurence Sterne

A Mosaic Patterning: Space, time and the Lyric Essay

Robertson, R. & HETHERINGTON, P. 2017 In : New Writing. 14, 1, p. 36-46 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ascension (prose poem in two parts)

HETHERINGTON, P. 2017 1 p.Westerly

Research output: Other contribution

Prose Poem