Anthony Macris is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at UTS. For over twenty years he has taught creative writing and literary theory at a range of institutions, including Johns Hopkins University.
His first novel, Capital, Volume one (A&U 1997, 2nd ed. UWAP 2013) won him a listing as a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist 1998, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Southeast Asian section: Best First Book 1998. His autism memoir, When Horse Became Saw (Penguin 2011), was shortlisted for The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and The Age Book of the Year, both in 2012.
The second novel in his Capital series, Great Western Highway (UWAP 2012), was highly commended for the New South Wales Writers’ Fellowship 2000. His most recent book is Inexperience and Other Stories (UWAP 2016). He is the recipient of numerous Australia Council grants.
His academic research covers literary theory, poststructuralism, narrative theory, and film studies. His refereed articles have appeared in journals such as Cultural Studies Review, Samuel Becket Today/Aujourd’hui, Screening the Past, Axon, and Sydney Review of Books. He is winner of the inaugural Sussex Samuel Prize (AULLA 2003) for his work on Claude Simon and the mise en abyme.
He has also contributed book reviews, review essays, feature articles and op-ed pieces to The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Bulletin, and The Conversation. His creative and scholarly work has been translated into French, Mandarin and Serbian.
Can supervise: YES
The contemporary novel
Narrative and narratology
Writing Seminar, Theory and Writing
Macris, A 2013, Capital, Volume One, 2nd, University of Western Australia Publishing, Western Australia.
Macris, A 2012, When Horse Became Saw, 2nd, Viking Penguin, Melbourne.
When Anthony Macris' son was diagnosed with autism, he and his partner Kathy had two choices: do what they were told and could afford or do what they thought best. This is the tragic, joyful, instructive story of how they confronted the condition that changed their lives. Before the onset of autism, Alex was a vibrant, healthy little boy, Anthony and Kathy the happiest of parents. Afterwards Alex was struck mute, barely able to recognise them. From then on, all that mattered was finding the right treatment. But how to do this, for a disorder with no known cause and no cure? Eventually Anthony and Kathy decided to take control of their son's therapy themselves, turning every aspect of their lives around in the process. It took a long time, but the radiance did return to Alex's face. By then he was a completely different person, and so were his parents.
Macris, A 2019, 'Macrostructure and local schemas in the practice of novelistic narrative', International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 21-37.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper investigates narrative macrostructure in the novel with an emphasis on the practice of novel writing. Drawing on narratology (Genette and Chapman), formalism (Propp), and their historical antecedents (Aristotle, Freytag), as well as more recent studies in narrative theory, this paper reframes narrative theory in practice-led terms and builds bridges between the scholarship and practice of narrative. To this end, the reflections on novelistic practice by Henry James and John Gardner are used as departure points to discuss the act of novel writing. There is also a comparative analysis that takes into account the macrostructural implications for realist and modernist discourses. The main discovery of this inquiry centres on the identification and articulation of five local narrative schemas that serve the act of novel writing: time, point of view, events, character, and setting. Each schema, it will be argued, has its own structure, and it is the interaction of these schemas that forms the novel as a whole and where the work of narrative macrostructure takes place.
Here's a telling snapshot of Karl Ove Knausgaard from early on in Some Rain Must Fall, the fifth instalment of his epic selfie-as-novel, My Struggle. It's the late 1980s. Our young hero is 19 years old, readying himself to attend his first day at the Writing Academy, situated in the university town of Bergen.
Macris, A & Uhlmann, A 2015, 'Perception and Sensation in the Capital novels.', Axon, no. 8, pp. 1-11.
The city has always been a dominant theme, setting, and field of signification in the novel, particularly in contemporary novels that engage with modernist and postmodernist traditions. This interview/essay presents recent findings in both literary theory and novelistic practice that explore how the city can be represented in literary form. In it novelist Anthony Macris and theorist Anthony Uhlmann use a methodological framework informed by perception, sensation and the real in a discussion of Macris' Capital novels.
There was a in-joke floating around the University of Sydney when I was an arts student in the early 1980s that is telling of the times. It went something like this: Sydney has only one opera house, only one harbour bridge, but its university has two philosophy departments. One discipline, but two departments? Clearly, despite being friends of wisdom, these philosophers couldn't agree. Somewhere in the hushed halls of the university's sandstone towers, well before my time, some kind of schism had occurred, creating the Department of Traditional and Modern Philosophy, and the Department of General Philosophy. Looking at the course offerings, even my naïve undergraduate understanding could grasp the difference. Trad Mod was right-wing and conservative, and General was left-wing and progressive. In my first year, I decided to do subjects in both departments.
A small cinema, new and well equipped. In the foreground, an attendant in a white laboratory coat leans over a figure seated in the front row, fussing over him and obscuring him from the spectators view. The attendant stands upright, revealing the object of his attentions. It is a young man, his arms immobilised by a straitjacket, his body strapped to his seat by black leather belts. The young mans head is crisscrossed by brown cables, to which red clips have been attached. The laboratory attendant bends to resume his work on the patient. With one hand, he plies open the young mans left eye; then, with the other hand, he carefully fits an eyelid lock to the upper and lower lids that forces the eye to remain open. He repeats this procedure with the other eye and steps back. The young mans eyes, cruelly exposed, their whites shining despite the dim light, roll around in their sockets. Instinctively, he squirms and tries to move his head but it, too, is immobilised, fixed to the seats back by a black band that stretches across his forehead. At the rear of the cinema, sprinkled about the back row seats, are other figures in white laboratory coats, silently waiting for the patients treatment to begin. Stacked up against the wall behind them are monitors, their read-outs glowing in the dark. Streaming through the darkness of the cinema is the light of a projector, ready to show a film. As soon as the screening starts, the attendant begins to continuously administer eye drops to his patient the liquid immediately pooling and spilling down his cheeks as if he were weeping.
I cant remember exactly when I first saw All about Eve, the 1950 Holly- wood masterpiece written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter. I suspect it was sometime on latenight television in the mid 1970s. In those pre-VHS, pre-DVD, pre-internet days, my insatiable hunger for images could only be really satisfied by one source: movies, watched at the cinema and the drive in, but especially at home on television. As a young teenager I would spend countless hours in the living room, sprawled on the floor in front of our already ancient three-in-one entertainment unit watching anything and everything, from Carry On films to courtroom dramas with Gregory Peck. At that age I didnt look for understanding as a whole, and often didnt care if I didnt understand anything much at all. It was the window on other worlds that mattered. It was the endless succession of other universes, peopled by characters wearing everything from togas to tuxedos.
Macris, A 2008, 'Sunday night at the movies: The Generative mise en abyme-as-socius', AUMLA - Journal Of The Australasian Universities Language And Literature Association, vol. 109, pp. 1-25.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
It's a common enough urban ritual. After a hard day's work, after dinner, after the kids have been put to bed, you sit down and watch TV, even when you don't really want to. There are the next day's activities to get ready for-clothes to iron, lunches to be made, paperwork to look at-but you don't really want to do any of that. There's some movie on, oh yes, you know it, The Fijih Elell/ent, a futuristic love story with a balding Bruce Willis, and an operasinging allen made of blue rubber, and a Eurotrash-meets-Stare Wars mise-ell-scene. You saw the movie a few years ago when it first came out, on the big screen in a full state-of-the-art Senstadium presentation, and you remember you enjoyed it, even though it really was only brain candy.
Macris, A 2006, '"Creative Writing Strikes Back"', Griffith Review, vol. 11.
When, in the mid 1990s, I started writing my second novel, Great Western Highway (Capital, Volume One, Part Two), I knew I wanted to deal with two things: love and capitalism. Neither is easy to write about, the first because it has been written about so much, the second because 'capitalism' is such a polarising term, and one that belongs more to economics and politics than literature. But I persevered, mainly because I had no choice. Most writers don't choose what they want to write about: it chooses them. What srarts as an unconscious preoccupation soon becomes a full-blown obsession, and once it has reached that stage you know you've got something strong enough to see you through the marathon that is the writing of a novel. Anything less compulsive can't be taken seriously. It simply won't go the distance, .and, even worse, it won't be artistically true.
Macris, A 2003, 'Anthony Macris's "New Millennium" - A reply', OVERLAND, no. 171, pp. 5-5.
Macris, A 2003, 'One Step Forward, Two Steps Back', Heat, vol. Heat 5. Nw, pp. 211-220.
To date the most comprehensive study of the literary figure of the mise en af!yme is Lucien Dallenbach's Le Ridt Speculai,.: Essai sur la Mise en Af!yme, first published in 1977.' Employing a strict structuralist methodology, it attempts to provide a definitive typology of the mise en af!yme, tracing its historical evolution and discussing its more recent developments in the works of Claude Simon. In doing so, Dallenbach provides a rich and analytically rigorous analysis even if, when the unwieldy products of novelistic practice do not always fit his schemas, he is forced to invent new sub-categories that threaten to undermine his neat tripartite classification. It is by exploiting one such point of slippage in his typology that I hope to outline the existence of a tendency in the development of the mise en af!yme that has escaped his analysis, but which his very analysis has made possible to theorise.
Macris, A 2002, 'The new millennium - Facades and duplicities (2000-2002)', OVERLAND, no. 168, pp. 36-37.
Macris, A 2002, ''Capital', Vol 1, Pt 2 - TCF (Textiles, Clothing and Footwear)', OVERLAND, no. 168, pp. 38-41.
Macris, A 2002, 'The New Millennium', Overland, vol. 168.
Macris, A 2001, 'The mourning of John Lennon', AUMLA-JOURNAL OF THE AUSTRALASIAN UNIVERSITIES LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE ASSOCIATION, no. 95, pp. 127-129.
Macris, A 2001, 'Novi milenijum: Fasade i dvolicnosti', Sveske, vol. Dec 2001, pp. 117-119.
Macris, A 1999, 'It's All Very Well to Want Shangri-Lah', UTS Review, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 178-185.
Macris, A 1998, 'Multiple Selves', UTS Review, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 241-246.
Macris, A 2004, 'Samuel Beckett, Claude Simon and the Mise En Abyme of Paradoxical Duplication' in UHLMANN, Anthony, HOUPPERMANS, S & CLÉMENT, B (eds), After Beckett/D'apres Beckett, Rodopi, The Netherlands, pp. 117-130.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
In his seminal study of novelistic mise en abyme structures, The Mirror in the Text, Lucien Dällenbach identifies a type he calls the mise en abyme of paradoxical duplication. Characterised by an extreme self-reflexivity, Dällenbach explores the operations of this literary trope in the later novels of the nouveau roman, particularly those of Claude Simon and Samuel Beckett. This article explores how Simon and Beckett employ this device with radically different results, Simon's forming part of a textual poetics that engages with the material and social, while Beckett's tends to a privileging of the selfreflexivity of language.
Macris, A 2002, 'Point of View: an introduction' in Brenda Walker (ed), The Writers' Reader, Halstead, Sydney, pp. 241-250.
Macris, A 2015, ''Making sense of the world: the novel and the making of meaning.'', China Australia Literary Forum 3, Writing and Society Research Centre, WSU.
Macris, A 2007, 'Words and World', The and is papers: website proceedings of the 12th conference of the AAWP, Annual Conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, AAWP, Canberra, Australia, pp. 1-10.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
One of the paradoxes of any artistic process is the transformation of the intensities of thought and sensation into the empirical fixities of form. For novelists, the sentence, paragraph and chapter are the standard textual forms that represent the richness of character, setting and event, and the insights into human nature they embody. In this paper I draw on approaches from literature, painting and poststructuralist philosophy to investigate the process by which words become worlds
Macris, A 2005, '"High Impact: the research quality framework and creative writing"', Perth.
Macris, A 2003, '"Beckett and the Politics of Futility"', Sydney.
Macris, A 2011, '"The New Millennium: facades and duplicities"', Belgrade.
Macris, A 2000, '"In conversation with Anna Johnston"', University of Tasmania.
Macris, A 2018, 'The Health Inspectors, Part 2', Verity La., Canberra.
Macris, A 2018, 'The Health Inspectors, Part 1', Verity La..
Macris, A 2017, '8 Turner Street, Redfern', Sydney Review of Books.
This research is in the field of 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Macris, A 2014, 'An Interview with Anthony Macris', Seizure, Xoum Publishing, Sydney.
Macris, A 2014, 'Departure Gate', Verity Lane, Verity Lane, Canberra.
Macris, A 2013, 'Departure Gate', Verity Lane, Canberra, pp. 1-4.
Macris, A 2011, '"So Close, So Far"', Good Weekend Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald, Fairfax, Sydney, pp. 20-24.
It's with mixed feelings that I listen to Bill Shorten talk about how we can empower the disabled and their carers in the wake of the release of a Productivity Commission draft report that confronts their long-term needs.
IT'S of the great truisms of fiction writing: show, don't tell. Like all truisms, it needs to be handled with care. Showing, in its most extreme form, will lead you simply to compiling a list of objects. While you'll achieve all the concreteness and specificity you could desire, you'll also risk boring the readers stupid as they drag themselves through sentences that read like shopping lists.
This extract comes from a book-length work of creative non-fiction that documents my son's regression into severe autism at the age of eighteen months, and my family's struggle to provide him with appropriate therapy. The book will be published by Penguin Australia in March 2011. It was funded by two New Work grants from the Literature Board of the Australia Council (2006, 2008), as well as an Early Research Project Grant from UTS, and a Faculty Project Grant from UOW. This 2008 Meanjin extract received enthusiastic media attention in a review in the Age newspaper (13/08/2008), and in an ABC Radio broadcast (2/08/09). The extract depicts the initial stages of my son's regression, which lays the foundation for the book's structure. This comprises both narrative and researched components, and applies an innovate methodology to the creative non-fiction genre: the bodies of knowledge required to understand and treat autism as well as a critical appraisal of them become part of the lived experience dramatised in the narrative. The research underpinning the extract is extensive, and falls into two areas. The first is the investigation of clinical matters: aetiologies and definitions of autism (DSM-IV); the history of behaviourism (Skinner) and the autism-specific therapy Applied Behavioural Analysis (Lovaas). The second deals with social and ethical issues, and investigates inadequate public resourcing and its consequences for children with autism and their families.
Spider's Lane is a chapter from my novel-in-progress, Great Western Highway. In traditional novelistic terms, it deals with the novel's love story, as a young Sydney couple comes to grips with the decision to start a family in uncertain economic times, and explores themes of commitment and belonging in contemporary urban contexts. In more theoretical terms, it is an example of a literary figure I am developing, that of the affect sign. Drawing on Deleuze's conception of the representation of affect in Cinema, the chapter harnesses narrative (forward movement), setting, image and lyricism to create a tableau of affective sensation that is particular to novelistic representation. The central theme of Great Western Highway is the penetration of market forces into the social fabric of contemporary Western societies such as Australia. The novel also provides a model of structural innovation that revives experimentation within narrative form in contemporary Australian writing, which has traditionally been entrenched in realist modes. The research methodology of the project was highly interdisciplinary, involving engagements with Thatcherism; corporeal narratology (Punday); theories of the culture industry (Horkheimer & Adorno); the French nouveau roman (Simon); Modernism (Joyce, Celine); and aspects of Postmodernism that deal with popular culture and self-reflexivity in the literary and media fields (Jameson, Warhol). The novel was written with the assistance of three New Work grants from the Literature Board of the Australia Council, and highly commended in the NSW Writers' Fellowship 2000.
Highway of Death is a chapter from my novel-in-progress, Great Western Highway, and deals with representations of war in media and urban contexts. It presents a case study of the first Gulf War (1990-1991), and explores the levels of representations that go from theatre-of-war image production (footage of pilot screens as they conduct precision bombing), to the redeployment of these images in the media field (use of this footage in televison news broadcasts). This investigation of image circulation in digital warfare is underpinned by the work of Jean Baudrillard and Paul Virilio, particularly their theories of simulacrum and the rhetoric of the image.The central theme of Great Western Highway is the penetration of market forces into the social fabric of contemporary Western societies such as Australia. The novel also provides a model of structural innovation that revives experimentation within narrative form in contemporary Australian writing, which has traditionally been e ntrenched in realist modes. The research methodology of the project was highly interdisciplinary, involving engagements with Thatcherism; corporeal narratology (Punday); theories of the culture industry (Horkheimer & Adorno); the French nouveau roman (Simon); Modernism (Joyce, Celine); and aspects of Postmodernism that deal with popular culture and self-reflexivity in the literary and media fields (Jameson, Warhol). The novel was written with the assistance of three New Work grants from the Literature Board of the Australia Council, and highly commended in the NSW Writers' Fellowship 2000.
Macris, A 2006, '"Autographic"', The Bulletin, ACP, Sydney.
I was invited to contribute a chapter from my novel-in-progress, Great Western Highway, to Le Passant Ordinaire, a French journal of philosophy, literature and politics funded by the French Ministry for Culture and Communication. The novel was written with the assistance of three New Work grants from the Literature Board of the Australia Council, and highly commended in the NSW Writers' Fellowship 2000. Le Passant lists me as "l'une des figures majeures de la litterature contemporaine australienne." Other contributors to the issue include international intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Etienne Balibar. The central theme of Great Western Highway is the penetration of market forces into the social fabric of contemporary Western societies such as Australia. The chapter's main innovation is in the way it manifests a novelistic form whose structure reflects, or even embodies, market transformations in society. It explores the contemporary media machine's proliferation of images, self-reflexivity and dissolution of the distinction between image producers and consumers in critically aware ways. It also provides a model of structural innovation that revives experimentation with narrative form in contemporary Australian writing, which has traditionally been entrenched in realist modes. The research methodology of the project was highly interdisciplinary, involving engagements with Thatcherism; corporeal narratology (Punday); theories of the culture industry (Horkheimer & Adorno); the French nouveau roman (Simon); Modernism (Joyce, Celine); and aspects of Postmodernism that deal with popular culture and self-reflexivity in the literary and media fields (Jameson, Warhol).
Macris, A 2002, 'TCF', Overland, O L Society Limited, Melbourne.
Macris, A 2002, 'One-Armed Bandit', Vision Splendid: Journal of Australian Studies, UQP, St Lucia, QLD, pp. 167-172.
Macris, A 2002, '"Thanks, but no Yanks"', The Bulletin, ACP, Sydney.
Macris, A 2001, '"Brand Hex"', The Bulletin, ACP, Sydney.
Macris, A 2000, 'The Olympia', Jacket, Australian Literary Management, Sydney.
Macris, A 2000, '"Youth loses the plot as market beckons"', Sydney Morning Herald, Fairfax, Sydney.
Macris, A 1997, 'Capital, Volume One', Allen & Unwin, St Leonards.
Macris, A 1997, '"Driving through Brisbane" (from Capital, Volume One)', Australian Book Review, ABR, Melbourne, pp. 68-69.
Macris, A 1996, '"Mark'n'Paul'n'Caitlin" (from Capital, Volume One)', Anithesis, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, pp. 71-85.
Macris, A 1995, '"Dogbowie" (from Capital, Volume One)', Going Down Swinging, GDS, Melbourne.
Macris, A 1994, '"The Ham Museum"', Tart and Juicy (Ed Michael Gifkins), Random Vintage, New Zealand, pp. 14-18.
Macris, A 1993, '"Concrete" (from Capital, Volume One)', Outrider, Phoenix Publications, Brisbane, pp. 251-258.
Macris, A 1993, '"Cloudscape with cassette tape and duracells"', Picador New Writing, Picador, Sydney.
Macris, A 1992, '"Sydney-Madrid"', Antipodes, American-Australian Association of Literary Studies, Memphis, Tennessee, pp. 131-138.
Macris, A 1990, '"The Nest Egg"', Outrider, Phoenix Publications, Brisbane, pp. 1-22.
Macris, A 1988, '"Triumph of the Will"', Southerly, English Association, Sydney.
Macris, A 1988, '"The Quiet Achiever"', Australian Writing Now, Penguin/Phoenix Publications, Brisbane, pp. 369-383.
Macris, A, 'ATM', Heat, Giramondo, Sydney.
Macris, A University of Wollongong 2007, RQF Evidence Portfolio: Creative Arts Research Centre.
Macris, A, Porritt, D, Cooper, B & Monk, T NSW Department of Corrective Services 1988, "Evaluation of the Special Care Unit: Draft Report", p. 180, NSW.