A multiple-award-winning literary history author has been appointed Chair in Australian Literature at The University of Western Australia.
Associate Professor Tony Hughes-d’Aeth from UWA’s School of Humanities has taken up the position from July 6, replacing inaugural Chair Emeritus Professor Philip Mead who retired in 2018.
Professor Hughes-d’Aeth has published numerous articles on Australia’s literary history and is particularly known for his work on the relationship between Australian literature and the environment.
His position as Director of UWA’s Westerly Research Group, brings together leading researchers in Australian literature, creative writing and creative pedagogy, and he is a member of the UWA Ecology, People, Place Group.
Established in 2007, the Commonwealth-funded Chair of Australian Literature was created to address concern about a potential capability decline in Australian literature nationally.
UWA’s depth of research and teaching strength in Australian literature, together with its integrated approach to creative writing and literary studies and publication of Westerly magazine made it an ideal home for the position.
UWA invested in the position by matching the Commonwealth grant for the Chair.
Associate Professor Hughes-d’Aeth said he was thrilled to take up the role as Chair and promote Australian literature broadly as an academic discipline, a school subject and a site of cultural activity.
“I love connecting with people through literature,” he said. “Literature brings out dimensions to life that are sometimes missed in the transactions of everyday discussions. But it also opens a door to our deepest beliefs, fears and hopes.”
“It is really important in a country like Australia, with its complex colonial history, that literature exists as a space for thinking through who we are.”
Professor Alexandra Ludewig, Head of the School of Humanities, warmly welcomed the appointment of Professor Hughes-d’Aeth.
“Professor Hughes-d’Aeth’s appointment was a significant milestone for Australian literature, both in Western Australia and nationally,” Professor Ludewig said.
“His expertise is a boon for the important and relevant work carried out to secure our cultural literary legacy.”
Simone Hewett, UWA Media and PR Manager, 08 6488 3229 / 0432 637 716