Degree Name

Master of Arts - Research


School of the Arts, English and Media


Autobiographical journalism is gaining momentum as a form, yet little literature currently exists on the topic. Ros Coward’s 2009/2010 work forms the beginning of wider conversation to be had about the function of the self in journalistic writing. This paper shifts that discussion from newspaper columns to contemporary booklength works of autobiographical journalism, drawing a theoretical framework from autobiographical theorists who argue that narrative forms an inextricable role in development of self. It defines three new categories to map the positioning of self to narrative in relation to three literary case studies: Helen Garner’s Joe Cinque’s Consolation, Anna Funder’s Stasiland and Joan Didion’s The Year Of Magical Thinking. The categories of narrative-driven autobiographical journalism, reflective autobiographical journalism and introspective autobiographical journalism are established with reference to the literary texts. The paper then examines my own work of autobiographical journalism, Searching for Alfons Henneberger, and the ways in which it has been informed and influenced by the abovementioned literary and theoretical works. Ultimately this represents a reference point for discussing and analysing the role of the self in literature. As the title suggests, these three new categories represent only points on a spectrum of how the self functions in literary autobiographical journalism—they do not in any way purport to represent the entire realm of possibility.