Dr Cassandra Atherton



Senior Lecturer


Faculty of Arts and Education


SCCA Arts & Ed


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Doctor of Philosophy, University of Melbourne, 2004



Cassandra Atherton is an award winning writer, critic and balletomane from Melbourne, Australia.  She completed her MA and PhD at The University of Melbourne under the supervision of Australian poet, Chris Wallace-Crabbe.

She has held lectureships at The University of Melbourne, The University of Western Sydney and Deakin University, lecturing in Australian literature, Canonical Poetry, Literary Classics, Romanticism, Modernism and Creative Writing.

She will take up a position as a Harvard Visiting Scholar in 2015 - 2016 and was a Visiting Professor at Sophia University, Tokyo in 2014.    She is an affiliate of the Monash Japanese Studies Center.  Cassandra was invited to be a judge for the Victorian Premier's Prize for Poetry in 2015.

Cassandra has published extensively in international literary journals.  Her writing has been described as ‘darkly Nabokovian’ and ‘ripe with literary word games’.  She has published a novel, The Man Jar (Printed Matter Press: Tokyo and New York, 2010); a book of prose poetry, After Lolita (Ahadada Press, Toronto and Tokyo, 2010); a book of literary criticism, Flashing Eyes and Floating Hair: A Reading of Gwen Harwood’s Pseudonymous Poetry (Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2007) and a book of interviews with American public intellectuals, In So Many Words (ASP, 2013).  She has edited Travelling Without Gods: A Chris Wallace-Crabbe Companion (MUP, 2013) and Intersections: Gender and History (MUP, 2000). She will also edit special editions of the refereed journals MIA (with Professor David Marshall on Public Intellectuals) and Axon (with Dr Antonia Pont, on collaboration).  She is the curator of an edition of Mascara Literary Journal on prose poetry.  Most recently, Cassandra completed a copper plate etching with artist Robin Wallace-Crabbe entitled 'Looking Glass World' (Mountains Brown Press, 2014).  She is a reviewer and Editorial Advisor for Australian Book Review.

One of Australia’s leading experts on public intellectuals in academe and a specialist on Gwen Harwood’s poetry, Cassandra is also an accomplished interviewer.  Her awards include a Felix Meyer scholarship to travel to Tokyo and study the Floating World; the Mary Schroeder award for her interview with Howard Zinn; a Blanc Literary award for best experimental debut novel and numerous teaching awards, which allowed her to travel to New Orleans to research hurricane boxes.

Cassandra married American history lecturer, Glenn Moore, in Boston, MA.  They live in Moonee Ponds with their two ragdoll cats, Bellamy and Tallulah and dream of a brownstone in Back Bay with clam chowder on tap.  Cassandra loves Mikhail Baryshnikov, Christian Louboutin shoes, ball gowns, Japanese cherry blossoms and Long Island Iced Teas at Half Time Bar in Narita.

She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Literary Studies & Professional and Creative Writing at Deakin University.


Read more on Cassandra's profile

Career highlights

Harvard Visiting Scholar, 2015 - 2016  (Sponsor - Stephen Greenblatt)

Visiting Professor at Sophia University, Tokyo, 2014

Premier's Prize for Poetry judge, 2014-2015

ABR Editorial Advisor 2013 onwards

Blanc Award for Best Debut Experimental novel, 2010

Mary Schroeder Award for best interview article, 2011

Deakin University Teacher of the Year 2011

Deakin Commendations for Teaching Excellence from 2009 onwards

Research interests

Cassandra's research interests include: public intellectuals, Australian poetry, subpersonality theory, canonical studies, poet-academics and creative writing in tertiary institutions, the floating world in Japan, Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.


Writers Victoria

Teaching interests

I teach in the Literary Studies and Professional & Creative Writing disciplines.

I am extremely interested in the link between these two disciplines and the way in which they can work to inform one another.

Within these disciplines I am a specialist in Australian literature, canonical literature and popular culture, as well as Japanese texts in translation.

In PCW I am most experienced in fiction (extended and short), poetry and Creative Non Fiction.

Units taught

ALW 101 - Writing Craft

ALW 102 - Writing Space

ALW 225 - Fiction Writing

ALL 376 - Classics and Trash


Harvard Public Intellectual Conference, 2013 and 2014. Celebrity Studies international conference, Deakin, 2012. AAWP - Encounters Conference, Deakin, 2012. AAWP - Strange Bedfellows Conference, RMIT, 2010. Emerson College Poetry conference, Emerson College, Massachusetts, 2010. Poetry and Myth conference, The University of Melbourne, October 2008. La Trobe Fooled conference, April 2005. International Humanities conference in Hawaii, 2005, chaired Literature and English sessions and presented two papers. Core at Animal Sex: New Melbourne Writers, 2003 Con-Fuse-ion At Fuse: Inaugural Antithesis conference 2003 Rouge at Animal: New Melbourne Writers, 2003 Jaded as Guest Writer at Voiceworks:Trash conference; 50th edition. In the Dreaded Park: Gwen Harwood and Subpersonality Theory at University of Melbourne Postgraduate conference 2002 Ern Malley and Walter Lehmann at ASAL conference 2001 Shrink at Cache: New Melbourne Writers conference 2001 Pink Fissures at Dislocations: International Writers Conference 2000.

Research groups


PCP Emerging Research Group


Deakin University Teacher of the Year
WJC Banks Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning
Vice Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching
Deakin University Commendations for Teaching Excellence
Australian Postgraduate Award
Felix Meyer Fellowship
University of California award for best interview-article
Blanc Literary Award for best experimental debut novel.


Cassandra is currently writing two books.  The first is on the changing role of the public intellectual, entitled, Wise Guys. It is based on her interviews with thirteen American public intellectuals (Noam Chomsky,Harold Bloom, Camille Paglia, Alan Lightman, Stephen Greenblatt, Howard Zinn, Paul Kane, Kenneth T. Jackson, Jim Cullen, Jim Green, Todd Gitlin, Kevin Baker, Chairman Dana Gioia.)  The second concerns Miyazaki Hayao as reluctant public intellectual.  By analysing the anime he has written and directed through Studio Ghibli, Cassandra suggests ways in which his intellectual views are made public.

Cassandra's research plans also involve investigating the academic as celebrity after interviewing Dr Bonn Blossman from the US reality television show, Big Rich Texas.  She gave a paper at the Celebrity Studies conference in December 2012 about this phenomenon. Two newspaper articles on her research appeared in The Australian and the Geelong Advertiser.

Creatively, Cassandra is writing a second book of poems and prose poems based on literary obsession, entitled Exhumed.  She is working with artist and publisher, Phil Day, on a series of art and poetry books.


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