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Former Curtin PhD student wins prestigious award

Media release

Dr Marilyn Metta with Judge, Professor H.L. Goodall

A Curtin University academic has received a prestigious award for her book, detailing stories of three generations of Chinese-Malaysian families from a feminist perspective.

Dr Marilyn Metta received the 2011 Outstanding Qualitative Book of the Year Award for her book, Writing Against, Alongside and Beyond Memory: Lifewriting as Reflexive, Poststructuralist Feminist Research Practice.

The awards were presented at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in Illinois.

The book explores three generations of Dr Metta’s Chinese-Malaysian family and how memory is implicated in the processes and politics of storytelling and story making. 

Dr Metta, a feminist academic from the School of Social Science and Asian Languages at Curtin University, said she was motivated to write the book from a feminist perspective regarding her Chinese-Malaysian genealogy.

“I was interested in creating new ways of doing feminist research that are reflexive, creative and experimental,” Dr Metta said.

Dr Metta, a psychotherapist, also said she wanted to compose a book that explored the ways in which different ethnicities were portrayed in Australian literature.

“I wanted to address the gaps in ethnic minorities in Australian literature as well as demonstrating how personal narratives can be used in contemporary feminist research,” she said.

“I wanted to develop research that could inform and influence social, intellectual and political debates around ethnicity and gender issues such as domestic violence, sexism and racism.”

The judges of the award said Dr Metta’s book was a wonderful example of life writing that braids together her own and parents’ lives in ways that held integrity of each life.

Of the findings, Dr Metta said the research demonstrated how life writing research can change lives, contribute to the living and respond to social issues of contemporary culture.

The unique book contributes to the small but emerging field of Asian-Australian scholarly literature and research.

Karys Nella, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 3353, Email:

Dr Marilyn Metta, Curtin University
Tel: 9266 4707, Email: