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Personal profile



Kate Rossmanith is an author, essayist, and academic. She is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2022-2026). Kate researches the role of narrative and emotion in legal processes, as well as relationships between ethnography, reportage and creative nonfiction. Kate produces traditional research and creative practice research. Her hybrid nonfiction writing has been nominated for Australian and international literary awards. Her research has informed the working practices of judges, coroners, lawyers and parole authorities, and has improved outcomes for offenders and victims. It has also informed practices in creative nonfiction.

Kate is Deputy Director of the Creative Documentary Research Centre, leading the portfolio 'Writing, Language, Narrative'.

Kate holds a PhD in Performance Studies (University of Sydney), a discipline which combines theatre and anthropology and investigates how we perform ourselves in everyday life. In 2006 she was one of six emerging writers to be selected to participate in masterclasses with award-winning nonfiction writer Drusilla Modjeska. This background has laid the grounding for Kate’s ethnographic research that examines affect, enactment, and language-forms in criminal justice processes. 

Kate is recognised as a leading international scholar on remorse. She is the author of Small Wrongs: How we really say sorry in love, life and law (Melbourne & London: Hardie Grant Books 2018), a hybrid work of nonfiction about remorse in the justice system and remorse in our everyday personal lives. Small Wrongs was longlisted for the 2018 UK Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction Writing and has been nominated for several Australian awards including a Victorian Premier's Literary Award. Kate is the co-editor of Remorse and Criminal Justice: Multidisciplinary perspectives (Routledge 2021, in press). She has collaborated with researchers from around the world, including the University of Oxford, Harvard University and York University, Canada.

Kate also researches creative writing, specifically the intersections between nonfiction, memoir, reportage and ethnography. Her nonfiction has appeared in Public Books, Sydney Review of Books, The Monthly, The Australian, and Best Australian Essays 2007. She is also interested in creative documentary research. In 2018, her short documentary Unnatural Deaths was featured in the Guardian Australia's "Present Traces" series. It features unusual and previously unseen forensic photographs and is being used to counsel and educate bereaved families. She is currently developing a feature-length audio work, 'The Feelings of Judges', which involves a collaboration with sentencing judges.

Kate is regularly invited to speak on her research, in both academic and public forums, and has appeared as a guest on various programs, including Conversations with Richard Fidler.

In 2019 Kate was appointed Research Director of the then Dept. of Media, Music, Communications, and Cultural Studies, a group comprising fifty researchers. That year she was also appointed Chair of the Faculty of Arts Creative Works Sub-committee, a role she currently holds. She has expertise in and an ongoing commitment to improving the ways in which the research contributions of Non Traditional Research Outputs are understood and portrayed.

Kate is an international editorial board member of the journal Memory, Mind & Media (Cambridge University Press). She is a member of Macquarie University's Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics, and the Macquarie University node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. 

Kate is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Language and Literature, where she teaches literary journalism and creative nonfiction writing.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree and a PhD from the University of Sydney. 

Kate Rossmanith's website can be found at www.katerossmanith.com

Research Interests

Kate's research interests include ethnography, creative nonfiction writing, embodiment, criminal justice processes, and relationships between performance, emotion and the law.

Research student supervision

PhD Theses - Principal Supervisions

  • Josephine Wilson, ‘Ethical Storytelling and the Cultural Use of Criminal Evidence: Representations of intimate partner homicide in Australian true crime stories’, Macquarie University, continuing.
  • Graeme Friedman,‘The Weaponised Witness in Apartheid’s Political Trials: Shame, Terror and Storytelling in the Waging of Lawfare’, Macquarie University, continuing.
  • Belinda Lopez, 'Finding Papua in Java: Papuans encounter stories about the past and themselves', Macquarie University, awarded 2020.
  • Jessica Kirkness ‘Writing Deafness: Disability creative nonfiction writing and stories of lived experience’, Macquarie University, awarded 2019.
  • Amy Bauder ‘Beyond the Bush Ballad: Authenticity in Australian country music since the 1980s’, Macquarie University, awarded 2016.
  • Vanessa Berry ‘Cataloguing Sydney:  Blogging and the classification of urban experience’, Macquarie University, awarded 2016.
  • Kathryn Knight ‘Strange Country: Explorations through the territories of motherhood and child disability’, Macquarie University, awarded 2015
  • Patrick Grant ‘The Body on the Boards: Materiality and movement in the production of comics and graphic novels’, Macquarie University, awarded 2014


Master of Philosophy Theses - Principal Supervisions

  • Ursual King 'Peeling Marble: On becoming a medical body’, Macquarie University, continuing


Masters Research Theses - Principal Supervisions

  • Rosie Shorter, ‘Unhappily Ever-After: How a promise of happiness is used to regulate desire and behaviour in Protestant Evangelical Christianity’, Macquarie University, awarded 2017.
  • Jessica Kirkness ‘Dis-abling the Hearing Line: Deafness, deaf studies, and creative nonfiction’, Macquarie University, awarded 2014.



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