The Writer on the Road

Presented by Dr James Cowan

Date: 1 September, 2017
Time: 3pm-4pm
Location: Room 601, Michie Building (#9)


This talk will address the importance of field research, of getting out of one’s space, and learning how to deal with the world as food for literature. I will explore certain writers from the past, Malcolm Lowry, Ernest Hemingway, Antoine de St Exupery, for example, and how they traversed a wider space than the creative writing course as their domain. I will also use my own life as a researcher in Borneo, Central Australia, the Sahara, and along various great rivers (Nile e.g.) that provided me with my material. Writers today need to return to the experience domain, instead of concentrating on the polished text. Jack Kerouac spent his life on the road, as did Allan Ginsberg and Gary Snyder. I want to enthuse young writers to believe that their feet and their senses are as important as developing a good prose style. Careerism in literature has become the norm. I would like to suggest there is a more adventurous way to write well.



Dr James Cowan is author of a number of internationally acclaimed books. In 1998 he was awarded the Australian Literature Society’s Gold Medal for his novel, A Mapmaker’s Dream. His work has been translated into seventeen languages.

Dr James Cowan


About Research Seminar and Workshop Series


Writing and communicating about pandemics: 2020 School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Semester 1, 2020 Seminars & Workshops


Friday, 13 March

Literature as Media: Chinese Online Literature—Storytellers, platforms and transmedia literary world

(Part of the Platform Media: Algorithms, Accountability and Media Design EVENTS)

Dr Tony Xiang Ren, Western Sydney University, with A/Prof Kim Wilkins, Dr Helen Marshall & Emily Baulch

Friday, 27 March



Dr Cedric Courtois

Friday, 10 April


TBC Dr Beck Wise

Friday, 24 April



Dr Skye Doherty

Friday, 8 May


TBC Dr Andrea Bubenik

Friday, 22 May


TBC Dr Chris Hay

Friday, 5 June

Online via Zoom

Research Seminar - Imagining the End of the World: Writing the Apocalypse before Covid-19 Dr Helen Marshall

Friday, 3 July

Online via Zoom:

Research Seminar - Developing Disciplinary Literacies in Hybrid Classes

Dr Beck Wise



Level 6, Michie Building (#9)