Susan Hawthorne

Susan Hawthorne*
Susan Hawthorne*

Susan was born in Wagga Wagga and grew up on a farm near Ardlethan. She’s a poet, aerialist, publisher and academic. She has lived for many years in Melbourne and now spends her time between Victoria and Far North Queensland.


Susan has five books of poetry published, a novel and several books of political theory.


She currently works as a Research Associate at Victoria University, Melbourne, where she has supervised MAs and PhDs in creative writing for the last 15 years. Her PhD is in Political Science, from University of Melbourne, where she also studied Ancient Greek language, MA (Prelim). She is in her third year of Sanskrit at La Trobe University.


Susan is open to discussion regarding granting permission for projects which remix her work for multimedia (

* Used with Susan's permission

Unsettling the Land
Unsettling the Land

Art and poetry

In 2008, Susan and Suzanne Bellamy collaborated on a project of visual art and poetry on the theme of Drought. Commissioned by Lella Cariddi, several of Susan’s poems were incorporated into a large canvas by Suzanne.


In response to work by Suzanne, Susan also wrote new poems. The outcome was the full colour chapbook, Unsettling the Land (also available as an eBook).

The Butterfly Effect
The Butterfly Effect

Hypertext and poetry

Susan's collection, The Butterfly Effect, contains a long poem entitled “Unstopped Mouths” which began life as a series of hypertext poems.(Also available as an eBook.)


First developed in 1997 with many more limitations on how these electronic text could be made, she eventually resorted to publishing in print at which point the hypertext links became footnotes. The first part of the poem was published electronically by Komninos on the Experimedia site at the State Library of Victoria (now defunct). Another poem, Rose Garden, was published on Divan.

Suniti Namjoshi, Building Babel
Suniti Namjoshi, Building Babel

Susan wrote several essays about this project, including:

She has lectured on hypertext since the late 90s.


In 1996, along with author Suniti Namjoshi, Susan and Spinifex Press created what they believe is the first interactive site for a novel. "The technology of the time did not allow the kind of interactivity we get now," Susan writes on the Spinifex Facebook fan page, "but it was a great innovation. It is archived on the government Pandora site."

Susan doing aerials work*
Susan doing aerials work*


Susan has developed a number of poetic text and aerial performances which she has performed at venues in Australia, India, New Zealand and USA. She began this by writing or contributing to circus scripts as part of her membership of the Women’s Circus and the Performing Older Women’s Circus (POW). She then moved into solo performances based on her poetry. A number of these texts can be found in The Butterfly Effect (see also Susan's multimedia page).


The photo on the left is from the performance, Eye of a Needle for 10th International Women’s Health Meeting, Delhi, 2005.


*Photo by Lariane Fonseca  

Poetry books


from Susan's Cow Blog
from Susan's Cow Blog

Poetry blog

In 2009, Susan was an Asialink Literature Resident in Chennai , funded by the Australia Council and Arts Queensland. While there she started her blog: susanscowblog. 


Her blog contains works in progress, some of which explore the symbolic and mythic histories of cows.




Susan is the co-founder and director of Spinifex Press.


In 1996, Spinifex published the first interactive website to accompany Suniti Namjoshi’s novel, Building Babel. The result was the Babel Building Site (currently unavailable).


In 2006, Spinifex became the first publisher in Australia to release eBooks in multiple formats. Spinifex now has more than 90 titles available as eBooks

Spinifex has just released an eBook only of Finola Moorhead’s classic, Remember the Tarantella.



Two of Susan's collections have been broadcast on ABC's program Poetica:

For a review of Susan's poetry see Carolyn Gage's article at Lambda Literary.