University of Melbourne Magazine

Alumni in the arts

  • Michelle de Krester (BA(Hons) 1979)

    Michelle de Kretser (BA(Hons) 1979)

    Michelle de Kretser (BA(Hons) 1979), who won last year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction, has picked up more prizes for her book Questions of Travel. The novel was named Book of the Year at the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as winning the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction and sharing the Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW Award.

    Dr Emily Bitto (MA(EngLang) 2008, PhD 2013)

    Dr Emily Bitto (MA(EngLang) 2008, PhD 2013)

    Melbourne’s rich art history inspired the debut novel by Dr Emily Bitto (MA(EngLang) 2008, PhD 2013). Dr Bitto wrote The Strays as part of her PhD in creative writing. It was shortlisted for a 2013 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript before being published this year.

    Chilling ghost story The Haunting of Lily Frost is the first young adult novel by author Nova Weetman (GDipArts(CrWrtg) 1995). Ms Weetman’s work has appeared in various literary magazines and she has written for children’s television series Pixel Pinkie and Buzz Bumble. One of her short films, Mr Wasinski’s Song, won an AWGIE nomination for best short screenplay, and the Best Short Film Award from the Melbourne International Film Festival.

    Karen Viggers (BVSc(Hons) 1987)

    Karen Viggers (BVSc(Hons) 1987)

    Karen Viggers (BVSc(Hons) 1987) drew inspiration from the Brindabella Range near Canberra for her third novel, The Grass Castle. Dr Viggers, the bestselling author of The Lightkeeper’s Wife, spent many months working in the Brindabellas while researching the local kangaroo population.

    Jennifer Chrystie (BSc 1963, DipEd 1964) launched her second poetry book, Weight of Snow, in July 2013. Her first poetry book, Polishing the Silver, was commended in the Fellowship of Australian Writers’ Anne Elder Award. Ginninderra Press publishes both books.

    Thomas McPherson (BA(Hons) 2013) has been named the winner of this year’s Banjo Paterson Writing Award. He took inspiration from childhood cricket games for his winning short story, Cricket Woes.

    Miles Allinson (BCA 2003) has followed in the footsteps of fellow alumnus Dr Graeme Simsion (PhD 2006) by winning the Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award for Fever of Animals. Dr Simsion’s The Rosie Project has sold a million copies around the world and was named Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards.

    Dr David Parnham (PhD 1992) explores the provocative theological writings of two 17th-century English puritans in Heretics Within: Anthony Wotton, John Goodwin, and the Orthodox Divines. Dr Parnham identifies the ways in which Wotton and Goodwin departed from orthodox norms, and offers analysis of the heated controversies to which those departures gave rise.

    Australia’s Children’s Courts Today and Tomorrow, a new book co-edited by alumnus Professor Allan Borowski, explores one of society’s most important and controversial institutions. Professor Borowski (GDip(Social Studies) 1972, BCom 1973, MA 1976) is Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at La Trobe University.

    Recent VCA graduate Catherine Evans (BFineArt(Hons) 2012) is one of the inaugural VCA Graduate Mentorship recipients. She is enjoying an extremely productive 2014, with three exhibitions in Melbourne, plus artist residencies in Berlin and Canberra. Ms Evans’ work incorporates photography, video and sculpture.

    Violinist Brigid Coleridge (BA, BMus 2011) recently appeared solo at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Ms Coleridge, who has performed at Buckingham Palace, received a Dorcas McClean Travelling Scholarship and a Welsford Smithers Travelling Scholarship at Melbourne.

    Actor and VCA alumnus Jason Clarke (BDramArt 1994) has been in demand in Hollywood in the past 18 months. Apart from the current Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, he has also appeared in Zero Dark Thirty, The Great Gatsby and Lawless. The unassuming 44-year-old also has a clutch of forthcoming movies, including The Better Angels, Child 44 and Knight of Cups.