Maria Tokolander is an award-winning fiction writer, poet, scholar, and educator. She is the author of five books: a collection of short stories, The Double (Text 2013); three books of poems, The End of the World (Giramondo 2014), Ghostly Subjects (Salt 2009), and Narcissism (Whitmore Press 2005); and a work of literary criticism, Catching Butterflies: Bringing Magical Realism to Ground (Peter Lang 2007). She is currently working on a novel, Night, for Text Publishing.
Maria’s fiction has been widely acclaimed. The Double (and Other Stories) was supported by a 2011-2012 $25,000 Australia Council grant, was a finalist in the 2015 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s ‘Best Writing Award’, and was named a best book of 2013 by The Australian. The book was also published in the US and UK. The inaugural winner of the Australian Book Review Elizabeth Jolley short story prize, Maria’s stories have also been anthologised nationally and internationally. She is now writing a novel for Text Publishing, funded by a 2014-2015 $40,000 Australia Council grant.
Maria’s poetry has been similarly acclaimed. The End of the World was named a best book of 2014 by Australian Book Review and reviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Ghostly Subjects was short-listed for a 2010 Queensland Premier’s Prize. Maria’s poems have also been widely anthologised, appearing annually in The Best Australian Poems (Black Inc) and/or The Best Australian Poetry (UQP) since 2005, as well as in Thirty Australian Poets (UQP 2011) and Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry (Turnrow 2014). A program about her poetry aired on Radio National in 2015.
Maria’s scholarly work focuses on two areas: theorising creativity; and theorising magical realist literature. Her published scholarship on creativity, engaging with the cognitive sciences, theorises poetic creativity as the expression of embodiment and as therefore characterised by motion and emotion. Her research has also challenged the connection between poetic creativity and mental illness. Maria’s scholarship on magical realist literature reconciles a materialist and aesthetic reading of Australian and international magical realist texts.
Maria is an Associate Professor in Literary Studies and Professional and Creative Writing at Deakin University in Geelong, Victoria, where she has been the recipient of institutional teaching awards, including a 2013 Vice Chancellor’s Special Recognition Award.