Degree Name

Doctor of Creative Arts


Faculty of Creative Arts


Two years before she died, Susan Sontag spoke about the power of fiction, how it is through inventions of a writerly kind that we receive an “education of the heart.” She said it is through art, fiction in particular, that we are able to make a world that “enlarges our sympathy.”

This vision underpins this submission for a Doctor of Creative Arts, which consists of two companion texts: a novel (Volume I) and its theoretical annotation/exegesis (Volume II).

The novel Bite Your Tongue is the story of a girl’s growing up and out of silence, and how her body operates and survives as the language of the process. The novel has two landscapes: the girl’s childhood in 1970s Brisbane and her relationship with her mother, a “morals crusader,” who wants to save the children of Queensland by banning books; and her reflections as an adult on her relationship with her dying mother. Complex and self-reflexive, this is a novel about books and the body, language and writing the self.

This creative work and its accompanying theoretical annotation seek to “enlarge our sympathy,” to make a different kind of world in which it is possible to learn love—to speak it, to write it.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.