Researcher biography

Kilner is Director of the major Australian literature and culture research, teaching, and publishing environment, AustLit ( Her involvement with AustLit extends to its inception in 1999. She has a long history in bibliographical research and was project manager and co-associate editor of the four volume print Bibliography of Australian Literature (published between 2001-2008). She worked at Monash University from 1993 until 1998 when she moved to UQ to steer the AustLit project into a web-based collaboration between multiple universities. Her work in developing teaching and learning resources in AustLit has moved into the development of the Cirrus platform which enables text, image, video, and audio annotation tasks and the building of online exhibitions to be set on courses at UQ.

One of her major outcomes is the establishment and ongoing development of BlackWords the largest record of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers and Storytellers in the world. BlackWords is a key resource for teaching and research relating to First Nations Australians.


Her research interests included Australian drama, in which she has published articles,edited a volume of short plays written by Australian women in the 1920s and established the Australian Drama Archive, an emerging collection of neglected 20th century plays. Her current obsession is the little-known playwright and novelist, Dorothy Blewett. Kilner has also published on bibliography and, since her involvement with AustLit, in the emergence of digital humanities.

She has received more than $5 million in grants during her time at UQ.


Kilner convened the third year Research Methods course in the School of Communication and Arts from 2010 to 2016 and the Internships course since 2015. She is currently working hard on expanding AustLit's and Cirrus's profile in teaching within the university and schools sectors. Since 2017, Kilner has convened two Professional Development events for secondary level teachers and tearcher-librarians: Teaching with BlackWords with Dr Anita Heiss and Teaching with Fantasy with Associate Professor Kim Wilkins.