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Susan Johnson

What:The house by the well. Home of authors George Johnston and Charmian Clift, Hydra, Greece. Image provided by Susan Johnson.

With investment from the Individuals Fund, Brisbane-based author and journalist Susan Johnson attended the Half the Perfect World: Post-war Literary Expatriation and Sociability conference in Greece where she presented her paper Elsewhere: On not being home, creativity as expatriation.

Susan’s paper explored how removing oneself from one’s usual environment contributes to creativity. Susan has always been interested in the notion of exile and displacement, of being away and homesickness. Many of her novels have dealt with these themes, particularly The Broken Book which was partly set in Greece.

Susan’s attendance at the conference has resulted in an increased academic interest in her work and another attendee published a paper on Susan’s novel, The Landing, shortly after the conference.

Susan’s paper, presented at the conference, will be published in the Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.


September 2016


Hydra, Greece

Arts Queensland contribution:

$2465 – Individuals Fund  


  • Susan established professional connections with senior members of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.
  • As a result of the professional connections made at the conference, Susan’s novel The Landing will be translated into Greek – opening up new markets for her work and increasing her audience reach.
  • Academic papers published as a result of Susan’s attendance at the conference have established new markets for her work and enhanced her professional reputation.
  • Susan intends to play an active role in the establishment of a residency for scholars on Hydra proposed by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.

Learnings and reflections

In reflecting on her experience presenting at the conference, Susan said:

I think it would be extremely beneficial for there to be more cross-fertilisation between the academy and artists.

More usually, the two practices are kept remote from each other, and I know through conversations with academics they found the process of sharing of work and ideas just as instructive and beneficial as I did.


University of Leeds academic Mary Loveday (left) and author Susan Johnson (right) at the ASAL conference. Image provided by Susan Johnson.


Contact for further information:



Susan’s article on the connection between Australian literature and Hydra, Greece:

George Johnston and Charmian Clift’s Hydra years revisited