Kate Duignan

Kate's PhD is a novel narrated in first person, and a study of narration and ethics in Marilynne Robinson's Gilead novels, particularly Gilead itself.

commenced 2013

Kate is a novelist and short story writer based in Aro Valley.  After completing the MA in Creative Writing in 2000, her novel Breakwater (2001) was published by Victoria University Press.  She has published in Landfall and Sport, and been anthologised in The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories (2009) and the Anthology of New Zealand Literature (2012).  Kate held the Robert Burns Fellowship at Otago University in 2004.  She taught short fiction workshops at the IIML from 2010-2013 and continues to supervise for the MA programme while working on her PhD.

Kate writes: 'My creative project is a novel narrated in the first person.  My critical project takes this narrative mode as a starting point.  I want to research contemporary novels which have a single first-person narration, particularly novels where the reader is locked inside the subjectivity and language of the protaganist-narrator as he or she wanders through the geography and time of the novel.  W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz and Vertigo, Richard Ford's Frank Bascombe trilogy and Teju Cole's Open City are influential works (although these are not the ones I propose to study).  I'm interested in the history of the wandering first-person narrator in the novel, particularly when that narrator is figured as romantic wanderer, urban flaneur, pilgrim or tourist.  I'm interested in the identifications the reader may be invited to make between author and character in novels where a first-person narrator with characteristics close to the author is deployed.  I'm particularly interested in novels by women which use a first person male protaganist-narrator.  I want to investigate what effects such novelists are trying to achieve by using this narrative strategy.'

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