Australasian Association of Writing Programs ‘Rising Tides’ 2020 – Marina Deller


Marina Deller, Flinders University 2nd year PhD candidate shares her success in being awarded AAWP conference prize for ‘best creative/hybrid postgraduate paper’.

Winner: Marina Deller (Flinders University) for her paper Strewn Scrabble Letters:
exploring the writerly self and grieving self in grief memoir.


Judge’s comments:

Deller’s work is an exemplary hybrid paper, straddling both creative and scholarly elements
that coalesce to form a cohesive, topical and holistic discussion concerning creativity and
grief. The author’s reflections upon the process of moving beyond creative paralysis – and,
subsequently, upon writing through loss – is compelling, relatable and inspiring. Deller’s
paper is neatly threaded with relevant snippets of research that provide valuable insights into
the critical and creative intersections inherent to practice-led research, particularly as they
apply to crafting memoir. The author’s excerpts of prose are as emotive as they are
technically sound; Deller’s consistent reference to Scrabble cleverly serves as a complex
metaphor, representative of the writer’s challenge to piece together words and meaning, along
with the sense of fractured disorientation that, “like an upturned Scrabble board”, accompanies
feelings of grief and loss. Overall, this is an outstanding, provocative and moving work.
Dr Eileen Herbert-Goodall

We asked Marina to share her thoughts on her writing and winning the award:

‘It is important to me to practice what I preach; bringing together the academic and the creative in an accessible and meaningful way. Whether this is within my thesis, in my writing, or through conference papers. Knitting prose and poetry with literary research may be described as a ‘hybrid’ genre, but to me it is a defining approach in the creative arts which lends itself to deeper writing, deeper research, and engagement. In this way, writing this paper exemplified all that I strive for in my creative-led research. I wrote it as a way to interrogate my own ‘grieving self’ and ‘writerly self’, and came away with not only a better understanding of identity, but of craft, practice, and community too. Writing personal grief can feel vulnerable or raw at times, however, through creative and academic communities and awards such as this one, I am able to shape these explorations in satisfying ways. Overall, I’m honoured to have received this award, am thankful for wonderful groups like the AAWP. I am also very excited to continue this research at Flinders!’

Congratulations Marina!

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Awards HDR students in focus

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