Personal profile


Merril Howie is an Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow at Macquarie University in the Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Language and Literature. Drawing the sciences into dialogue with literary studies, her transdisciplinary analyses of autobiographical texts tease out significant interrelationships among narrative techniques and the cognitive processes they trigger in the reader—focusing particularly on the representation and impact of memory and emotion. The goal of her current project, “Cognitive Literary Considerations of Memory in Life Writing: Imagination, Time, Space and Scaffolds”, is to demonstrate how skilfully written autobiographical texts can significantly influence readers’ memory systems, re-shaping perceptions and interpretations of particular recollections, and thereby impacting personal and collective identities.


Merril completed a Bachelor of Arts (English) (2015), a Master of Research (2018) and a Doctor of Philosophy (2021) at Macquarie University. Her PhD identified and analysed specific textual and cognitive elements that combine to create affectively charged, autobiographical engagements with the life writing texts of Hilary Mantel, Janet Frame, Helen Garner and Joan Didion. The aim of this cognitive literary study was to provide a nuanced, transdisciplinary account of the influential dynamics of literary life writing, specifically in terms of how memoirists’ emotive recollections draw readers into affective reading engagements via reciprocal involvements with their own personal memories and emotions.


Academic Tutor, ENGL120 - Approaches to English Lit (S1, 2019)

Academic Tutor, ENGL1050 - Grammar and Writing (S3, 2023-2024)

Academic Tutor, ENGL1050 - Grammar and Writing (S1, 2024)


Academic Marker, MMCC8043 - Writing the Real (S1, 2021)

Academic Marker, ENGL3040 - Following Poetry from Epic to Instagram (S2, 2022)

Education/Academic qualification

English, PhD, Memory, Emotion and Empathy in Literary Memoirs in English, Macquarie University


Award Date: 24 Jun 2021

English, Master of Research, "The Power of the Literary Image: Mediating Memory and Managing Emotion in the Literary Memoirs of Virginia Woolf and Helen Garner", Macquarie University


Award Date: 20 Apr 2018

English, Bachelor of Arts, Macquarie University

Award Date: 8 Apr 2015


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