Document Type

Creative Work

Publication Details

Shady Cosgrove, She Played Elvis, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Australia, 2009, 246p. See also the publisher website for author profile and reviews.



Research Background

She Played Elvis is a creative non-fiction book that addresses themes of migration, family, pilgrimage and musical inspiration. It documents the author’s journey across the United States to attend the twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations of Elvis Presley’s death at Graceland. This is a quest story, the hero(ine) has a specific goal, however the emotional underpinning of the book is about the Australian immigrant returning ‘home’ to the United States, and the exploration of family, specifically the author’s relationship with her estranged father.

Research Contribution

She Played Elvis depicts a specific immigrant experience to emphasise the multiplicity of Australian immigrant stories. It critically engages with US cultural imperialism (via the icon of Elvis Presley) and its influence in Australia. The author uses prose fiction techniques (in regards to structure, lines of development and time negotiation) within the non-fiction context, while upholding Philippe Lejeune’s concept of the ‘autobiographical pact’ with the reader.

Research Significance

She Played Elvis was shortlisted for the Australian Vogel Prize in 2007 and published by Allen and Unwin in 2009. Its publication received national radio coverage – author interviews featured on ABC Illawarra, ABC South Australia, ABC 702 and ABC Radio National (Life Matters). It also received favourable write-ups in Australia (Sun Herald) and New Zealand. The author has given lectures on the book overseas (Canada) and nationally (Sydney, Parkes, Illawarra). It received four-and-half stars on Goodreads.