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.