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


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.

Friday, 11 March

Online via Zoom

Research Seminar - Tuning In with the Stethoscope in the Nineteenth CenturyDr Melissa Dickson (University of Birmingham)

Friday, 25 March


Early Adventures in Australian Actor Training

Dr Chris Hay

Friday, 8 April

Online via Zoom

Invention and reinvention in the landscape symbolism of Joachim PatinirMichael Levy

Friday, 29 April

Online via Zoom

Negotiating balance of cultures among Chinese Australians to facilitate ageing well

A/Prof Shuang Liu

Friday, 13 May


Redefining crisis in museums: insider’s perspectives on digital engagement

Dr Caroline Wilson-Barnao, Craig Middleton (National Museum of Australia), and Lisa Enright

Friday, 3 June

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

A journey through the Australian environmental movement ecosystem

Dr Robyn Gulliver

Friday, 10 June

Online via Zoom

TBADr Alex Bevan



Level 6, Michie Building (#9)