What do you associate with the colour purple?
This question was the start of the anthology Purple Prose, a collection of new non-fiction works by 15 Australian women writers.
I love purple and wanted to write about it. After speaking to my friend and colleague, Liz Byrski, we decided to ask writers we admired to write a personal essay or short memoir inspired by purple. The result is an amazingly diverse collection of works covering topics ranging from football to pigeon fanciers, tattoos to family history, and gender politics to swearing.
My own chapter, Velvet, starts with a square of dark purple velvet found in my mother’s attic, becomes an exploration of memory and forgetting and then a meditation on the limits of memoir.
What if the forgotten comes to us, like a dream, a tear in the fabric of our life?” – from “Velvet” by Rachel Robertson
I am a West Australian writer and senior lecturer at Curtin University. I teach creative non-fiction, professional writing and publishing. Before becoming an academic, I worked in community education, book publishing, and as a freelance researcher, writers and editor. You can contact me here.
My memoir, Reaching One Thousand, was published in 2012 and shortlisted for the National Biography Award 2013. Click here for more information on the book and copies of reviews. The book is still available in print and in various e-book formats.
I have also had poems, short fiction and personal essays published in a range of journals and anthologies, including Griffith Review, Best Australian Essays, Island, Westerly, Axon: Creative Explorations and Life Writing.
My academic research interests include creative writing pedagogy, Australian literature, creative non-fiction, life writing, critical disability studies and ethics. See here for a list of selected publications. I currently supervise postgraduate students working in areas such as human rights, short fiction, memoir, family history and feminism.