Jane Messer

Associate Professor


Research output per year

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Personal profile


My extensive teaching and research experience is drawn from working in universities in Australia, Germany and the USA for over twenty years (Macquarie, University of Technology, Sydney, Humboldt and Johns Hopkins universities).

This experience includes extensive unit and program development, university reviews and renewals at undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels, in both on-campus and online delivery modes. Demonstrating my commitment to teaching quality, I have completed a Graduation Certificate in Higher Education and have applied a range of education innovations throughout the programs I am responsible for. My success in curriculum design and support of student learning has been recognised by Faculty, University and national (Office of Learning and Teaching) citations.

I have driven improvements to research engagement and outputs in my field of creative arts through a range of initiatives and am the founder and co-convenor of the Faculty’s Creative Writing Research Cluster.

I am the Program Director of the Department of English postgraduate writing programs, and represent the Faculty of Arts on the Senate Learning and Teaching Committee, and am a member of the SLTC Taskforce on Practice-Based Curriculum.

I am founding editor of The Quarry, the Department of English ejournal of student creative writing, and a former judge of the Australian Vogel Literary Award and former board member of the Australian Society of Authors.

Research interests

I am an Australian novelist of critical acclaim, and a writer of nonfiction, radio drama and short stories.

My academic research is currently focused on the ways we narrate our work lives and the impact of working on individual and collective identity, with a particular focus on analysis of mothering as work that involves emotional labour. Current projects include the writing of a hybrid memoir, biography and cultural history set in Berlin, Tel Aviv and Melbourne; and essays on mothering and work with particular attention to subaltern experiences including womb surrogacy, migrant care work, and more locally, narratives of Australian Indigenous mothering.

My research is interdisciplinary and draws upon ethnography, philosophy, sociology, feminist and maternal studies, and literature studies. As a creative practice writer and researcher my academic and creative outputs demonstrate numerous points of intersection.


Research student supervision

I supervise Creative PhD and Master of Research candidates in the areas of creative writing including young adult fiction, the novel, short form writing creative nonfiction and intersections of these; and critical writing that draws on disciplines of sociology, ethnography, literature studies including Australian literature and Indigenous literature, cultural studies, and social philosophy. I welcome approaches from suitably qualified writers and researchers.

Current MRes supervisions

  • Pooja Mittal Biswas

PhD Completions

  • Eleanor Throsby: Fiction and the Moral Imagination
  • Jamie Derkenne: Landscape, history and Indigeneity in the Australian narrative: magic nihilism in the works of Richard Flanagan and Alexis Wright, and creative work Bowraville: twelve short stories
  • Kathleen Steele: “Splendid Failures”: The Wanderer in Patrick White’s Voss and Randolph Stow’s To The Islands’ and a novel, The September Sisters
  • Nichole Thompson: Mint Tea and Atrocity: the Historical War Fiction of Michael Morpugo and Oranje, a novel.
  • Michelle Hamadache: Algeria in Language and Algiers.
  • Jan Zwar: Narrative nonfiction, contemporary book buying in Australia and books in public debate (co-supervision with Professor David Throsby).
  • Nicole Pluss: Representations of heterotopia in selected young adult novels and Scout, a young adult novel.
  • Justin Davies: Trifecta and literary communication: Dialogic synergy in reading and writing.

Master of Research Completions

  • Robin Hughes
  • Victoria Brookman
  • Judith Mendoza-White
  • Monica Nye


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Research Outputs

Even womb surrogates think: rethinking labour and maternal work

Messer, J., 8 Nov 2019, In : Studies in the maternal. 11, 1, p. 1-23 23 p., 7.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • The Great Fire

    Messer, J., Ryan, M., Formosa, P. & Howarth, S., 1 Nov 2019

    Research output: Non-traditional research outputOther Creative work

    Reconciliation dialogues: Kathleen Mary Fallon's Paydirt, and narratives of mothering

    Messer, J. & Brookman, V., Nov 2018, In : Australian humanities review. 63, p. 1-21 21 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Analysis is awash with public memoir, but only some will survive the flood

    Messer, J., 9 Sep 2015, The Conversation.

    Research output: Contribution to Newspaper/Magazine/WebsiteArticle

    Open Access
  • 92 Downloads (Pure)


    • 3 Visiting an external academic institution

    Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    Jane Messer (Visiting researcher)
    15 Jan 201828 Jan 2018

    Activity: Visiting an external institutionVisiting an external academic institution

    Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

    Jane Messer (Visiting researcher)
    15 Aug 201515 Nov 2015

    Activity: Visiting an external institutionVisiting an external academic institution

    Universität Potsdam

    Jane Messer (Visiting researcher)
    30 Sep 201415 Nov 2014

    Activity: Visiting an external institutionVisiting an external academic institution