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Doing life is a literary success for Curtin academic

Media release

Curtin University of Technology’s Emeritus Professor Brian Dibble says he’s honoured to be short-listed for the 2009 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

His book — Doing Life: A Biography of Elizabeth Jolley — is in the running for the $100,000 non-fiction prize.

Professor Dibble said Elizabeth Jolley was a profound and innovative writer much-loved by many readers.

“In telling her life story, I was a detective, historian and novelist, thereby catering to the judges’ demand for quality writing in addition to originality,” said Professor Dibble, of Subiaco.

“I wanted my friend and colleague of 30 years to be complexly remembered.”

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jeanette Hacket congratulated Professor Dibble on his outstanding achievement.

“We are delighted that Professor Dibble has been short-listed for this prestigious national award, particularly as he has chosen to celebrate the life of the late Professor Elizabeth Jolley, who also had a long and highly regarded association with Curtin,” she said.

“We wish him well for the final announcement later this year.”

Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature, Professor Dibble established Australia’s first creative writing degree in the 1970s and founded what was to become the Department of Communication and Cultural Studies in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts at Curtin.

“I first met Elizabeth in 1976 and invited her to teach here in 1978,” he said.

“Elizabeth enjoyed a rewarding relationship with Curtin spanning almost four decades — she valued a ‘room of her own’ in which to think and write.

“She was an inspiration to students and staff and her legacy lives on at Curtin.”

Contact: Curtin Emeritus Professor Brian Dibble, 0419 939 994,