Writers as performers

Developing reflexive and creative writing identities

Mary Ryan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Writing is a complex and learned activity in that it requires us to shape our thoughts into words and texts that are appropriate for the purpose, audience and medium of a variety of communicative forms. Writers must constantly make decisions about how to represent their subject matter and themselves through language. In this way, writing can be conceptualised as a performance whereby writers shape and represent their identities as they mediate social structures and personal considerations. In this paper I use theories of reflexivity and discourse to analyse interviews and writing samples of culturally and linguistically diverse Australian primary students for evidence of particular kinds of writing identities. Findings indicate a clear influence of particular teaching strategies and contexts on the writing identities of students. I argue that making students aware of their writing choices, the influences on, and the potential impact of those choices on themselves, their text and their audience, is a new imperative in the teaching of writing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-148
Number of pages19
JournalEnglish Teaching
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Writing identities
  • writer as performer
  • reflexive writers
  • creative writers
  • writing pedagogy
  • diverse writers

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