Profile: Maria Takolander

Scholar, Writer, Poet.

Maria Takolander is a scholar, award-winning fiction writer, poet, and educator.
She is the author of Catching Butterflies: Bringing Magical Realism to Ground (Peter Lang 2007), as well as numerous scholarly articles examining magical realism's intersections with irony, postcolonialism, Aboriginal writing, feminism, fakes, and trauma.
Maria also researches theories of creativity. Her scholarly papers in this area engage with revisionism and the cognitive sciences, examining the writing of poetry and fiction in relation to emotion, movement, theories of the unconscious, and mental illness.
In addition, Maria is an award-winning fiction writer. She is the author of the short-story collection The Double (Text 2013), which was funded by a 2011-12 $25,000 Australia Council 'New Work' grant, was a finalist in the 2015 Melbourne Prize for Literature 'Best Writing Award', and was named a best book of 2013 by The Australian, Overland, Readings, and the New Zealand Listener. The novel was also published in the US and UK. She is currently writing a novel commissioned by Text Publishing, funded by a 2014-15 $40,000 Australia Council 'New Work' grant.
Maria has also published two full-length poetry collections. The End of the World (Giramondo 2014) was named a best book by Australian Book Review and was reviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Ghostly Subjects (Salt 2009) was short-listed for a 2010 Queensland Premier's Prize. Her poems have also appeared annually in The Best Australian Poems (Black Inc) and/or The Best Australian Poetry (UQP) since 2005. A program about her poetry aired on Radio National in 2015.

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Explainer: Magical Realism

A mother lives in Ohio in the aftermath of the Civil War with the child she murdered as a slave. A poor Nigerian boy, who is also an abiku or spirit child, fights supernaturally corrupt politicians to remain in the land of the living. Welcome to magical realism: a type of storytelling in which the magical makes a surprising appearance in a realistic context. The contrast between the fantastical and real elements is used to heighten drama and challenge perceptions.

Category: Arts

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