Date of Submission



This dissertation examines in detail the ways in which gender and, as a corollary, sexuality are represented in a selection of contemporary Australian fiction. It encompasses both short stories and novels across a range of genres. The texts I have chosen invite a focus both on the construction of gender in relation to characterisation, and, in turn, on how these constructions can be read as conforming to, or subverting, gender stereotypes—particularly with regard to expressions of sexuality. This thesis comprises analyses of The Mint Lawn (1991) by Gillian Mears, Praise (1992) by Andrew McGahan, the short story collection Suck My Toes (1994) by Fiona McGregor, Loaded (1995) by Christos Tsiolkas, The River Ophelia (1995) by Justine Ettler, Eat Me (1996) by Linda Jaivin, Camille’s Bread (1996) by Amanda Lohrey, Steam Pigs (1997) by Melissa Lucashenko, The Pillow Fight (1998) by Matthew Condon, Pants on Fire (2000) by Maggie Alderson, The Architect (2000) by Jillian Watkinson, The Bride Stripped Bare (2003) by Nikki Gemmell, Taming the Beast (2004) by Emily Maguire, Rohypnol (2007) by Andrew Hutchinson, Fiona McGregor’s Indelible Ink (2010), Josephine Rowe’s short story collection How a Moth Becomes a Boat (2010) and Krissy Kneen’s collection Triptych (2011), as well as the short stories “Victoria Shepworth’s Big Night Out” by Jessica Adams and Rachel Treasure’s “From Tarot to Tractors” from the Girls’ Night In collection (2010), edited by Jessica Adams.


School of Arts

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


320 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Education and Arts