Kathryn Hummel

Profile  |  Artworks
The Koenji Series, February 2013
The Koenji Series, February 2013
Quick Facts
Birth year
Lives in
Works in
Australia, Bangladesh, India
spoken word, written word, New media poetry, mixed-media, photography, exhibition/performance

Major forms

Narrative non-fiction; essays; short fiction; poetry; new media poetry; spoken word

Distribution of work

Australia; Bangladesh; Hong Kong; India; Nepal; New Zealand; the Philippines; Qatar; Singapore; USA


life as an outsider; identity; belonging; urbanity; time and memory; beauty; the sex lives of travellers; postcolonial realities


A restless Romantic with a taste for snapshots and unexplored terrain, Kathryn Hummel immerses herself in all dimensions of life and writing to extract the lyricism, wit, chaos and despair of the ever-evolving world and the lives that play out across it.

Critical responses to Kathryn's work

'...I have been deeply impressed by [Kathryn's] sensitive appreciation of literature, her critical abilities, her commitment to literature, and her capacity for hard and sustained work. I am an admirer of her poetry, which has been developing steadily in form, technique and existential depth....Kathryn writes out of profound commitment and a healthy respect for the intelligence of her readers. She eschews unnecessary jargon, and is level-headed and analytically astute. I look forward to her development as an intellectual and a poet and writer in the years to come.'

Prof. Kaiser Haq, Poet and Translator, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh

'A typical example of experiment can be seen in [Kathryn Hummel's] reworking...of Shakespare's play Much Ado About Nothing. Act II, scene I of the play is produced in the language that is commonly used today in the Internet chatting....Such new experiments may even prompt the literary world to devise some new genre.'

Bhimsen Thapaliya, The Rising Nepal

'Anatomy of the Wasteland is an intriguing work of poetic imagination. Its disarmingly straightforward means of exhibition compels a sort of involuntary hovering over each image, where the viewer is  suspended in the disjuncture between layers of the abstract and of the readily assimilable - a suspension, more exactly, between the time of these two modes of signification....the exegesis clearly evinces the work's thorough conceptualisation places it, furthermore, as an argument for practice-based research in the academy...

This is to say nothing of the poetry itself. Deceptively transparent, each fragment packs a dense punch, and asks for multiple rereads. These are deeply urban lines, wearing in their proportions and their tone echoes of passing conversation, advertising slogans, text messages (more so given the font choices). The lines themselves are solitary, moving to avoid contact with the cityscape they blow through, their unattainable referents belying the aphoristic form they resemble.'

Review of Anatomy of the Wasteland (photographic prose poem)

'[The Women Alone] is remarkable in a number of ways...blend[ing] the material in both a creative and theoretical sense across writing genres, across cultural sensitivities and across significant theoretical frameworks....

The creative a beautifully realized artefact that uses a variety of creative forms to achieve a tapestry of impressions fo women's lives in Bangladesh that is culturally senstiive, intruiging and of great narrative merit.'

Dr Janie Conway-Herron, Southern Cross University

'I found Ms Hummel's approach...quite unlike any other...It is a unique work...One of the first things I how many academic "boundaries" it crosses--one might say in a positively transgressive manner...In many ways, her resulting text exists within a number of descriptors: it reads like creative non-fcition, like an academic inquiry, like an embedded anthropologist's work, and also evokes the questions that might be raised by a conscientious (and somewhat tortured) cultural tourist. I see this multiplicity as strength...because it induces--and at times even forces--the reader/examiner to see how complex such ethnography...really becomes, if one is honest about the subject/object position while simultaneously challenging it. So here we have what I would call a post post-modern [text]!'

Dr Lynne Van Luven, University of Victoria

Descriptions of major works

Poems from Here

Writing would be a safer exercise if the place writers opened up to was innocuous, but exposure also means inviting in danger, and a loss of control. Sometimes this vulnerability is calculated, sometimes not: there are definitely times when exposure is not innocent but provocative, and demands (deserves?) release. In moving beyond what’s safe, we are never sure of the impact. Poems From Here is a reflection on this element of unsafety, as well as the simultaneous nerve/virtue/foolishness/sincerity/tenacity of self-exposure. Some of the poems record moments in the past, as well as images of the present world (Poems From [over & out] There), others reflect on the themes of belonging, friendship and the tragicomedy of love in various forms (Poems From [in] Here); and on the light, splendour and humour that are so often revealed in periods of complexity and chaos. Finally, Poems From Here refer to the location—not always physical—I find myself writing from, again and again.

The Women Alone: Details of Bangladesh Life and Adda

The Women Alone: Details of Bangladesh Life and Adda presents the real life stories of four figures (women and woman-identifying) in contemporary Bangladesh, weaving together the themes of identity, time, duty, education, money, faith, family and relationships. Surrounding these narratives, recounted in conversation, or adda, and told in non-fiction prose and poetry, is the story of the writer and her reflections on her roles as researcher and foreign woman in Bangladesh. The introductory text Thinking About Writing About ‘The Women Alone’ explains the theory and creative intentions behind The Women Alone, examining such issues as influential literature, language and power, postcolonialism, ethnographic methodology and research methods. The result is a piece of writing and reasoning that crosses many ideological boundaries as it describes the private and public lives of women in Bangladesh.

Education and training

  • March 2009–September 2012 Doctor of Philosophy in Social Sciences (Communication and Information Studies), School of Communication, International Studies and Languages, University of South Australia.

  • March 2005–June 2006 Honours in Bachelor of Arts (First Class: English and Gender Studies), University of Adelaide.

  • March 2000-December 2002 Bachelor of Arts, University of Adelaide.

Arts-related activities

  • March 2014 Participant in the Market Development Skills Workshop for Australian Authors, SA Writers' Centre/Australia Council for the Arts, Adelaide

  • January 2013 Presenter at the Postcoloniality in Transition International Conference, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad

  • December 2012 Contributor to e-flux's Agency of Unrealized Projects online exhibition:

  • December 2012 Performer in The Poetic Bliss International Poetry Fest, J.K.C College, Guntur

  • April 2012 Organiser and convenor of Bare Naked Poetry: A Night of Vers Libre, Alliance Française de Dhaka

  • April 2012 Guest speaker/visiting poet at East West University, Dhaka

  • October 2011 Presenter and convener at the Twelfth Humanities Graduate Research Conference, Curtin University, Perth

  • June 2011 Research participant in the Thinking Poetry master class, University of Melbourne, Melbourne

  • July 2010 Presenter at the Social Alternatives Workshop, University of South Australia, Adelaide

  • December 2009 Presenter and convener at the Forum on Contemporary Theory XII International Conference, Trivandrum

  • December 2009 Presenter at the Empire and English Studies International Conference, East West University, Dhaka


  • May 2013–June 2013 Artist in Residence, Forever Now project, Vitalstatistix and Aphids
  • May 2011–October 2011 Cafe Poet in Residence, The Reading Room and Australian Poetry

Awards and nominations

  • November 2013 The Dorothy Porter Award for Emerging Poets, Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards
  • September 2013 Nominated for the Pushcart Prize XXXVII
  • August 2013 Nominated as one of the Top 3 Most Compelling Writers, Fair Clout Poetry
  • September 2011 Hawke Research Institute’s Thesis Completion grant
  • March 2009 Australian Postgraduate Award from the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
  • April 2002 Zonta Club of Adelaide Woman of Achievement Award

Publications and links    


(Forthcoming) Poems From Here. 2014. Hobart: Walleah Press.

Peer Reviewed Journal Publications

(Forthcoming) 'Runia Reflected: Talk Amongst Outsiders in Bangladesh' in Gay Lynch and Gillian Dooley (eds). Transnational Literature. 6: 2, 2014.

‘Anatomy of the Wasteland’ in Bridie McCarthy and Alice Healy-Ingram (eds). New Scholar: Creative Practice as Research. 2: 1, 2013.

‘Ingress’ in Vishwanath Bite (ed). The Criterion: An International Journal in English. 4: II, 2013.

‘Before and After A Night Out: the Impact of Revelation in Bangladesh’. M/C Journal: ‘impact’. 14: 6, 2011.

‘What’s So Great About Gulshan, Anyway? Instructions for the expatriated’. Social Alternatives: Shifting Cultures. 30:2, 2011: 13-16.

‘Austen’s English Roses’. Meanjin. 56.3&4. 1997: 735-737.

Peer Reviewed Conference Papers

‘Wipe Your Boots at the Door: The Global Soul Returning Home’ in Julie Lunn, Stephanie Bizjak and Sue Summers (eds). Changing Facts: Changing Minds; Changing Worlds. 2013. Perth: Black Swan Press, 116-155.

‘Deliciously In Between: Transgressing Borders with Gay Best friendship’ in Abdul R. JanMohamed (ed). Reconsidering Social Identification: Race, Gender, Class and Caste. 2011. New Delhi: Routledge, 260-81.


(Forthcoming) ‘Delhi morning’ in Semeen Ali (ed). Delhi, An Anthology of Poems. 2014. Delhi: Cyberwit.

(Forthcoming) ‘Delhi pm' in Semeen Ali (ed). Delhi, An Anthology of Poems. 2014. Delhi: Cyberwit.

(Forthcoming) ‘Words of Longing' in Semeen Ali (ed). Delhi, An Anthology of Poems. 2014. Delhi: Cyberwit

(Forthcoming) ‘Hell has a Lal Qil’ah View’ in Semeen Ali (ed). Delhi, An Anthology of Poems. 2014. Delhi: Cyberwit.

'Massage' in Fakrul Alam and Shamsad Mortuza (eds). Six Seasons Review. 1:1. October 2013. 47.

'Art in Motion' in Fakrul Alam and Shamsad Mortuza (eds). Six Seasons Review. 1:1. October 2013. 48.

'Poema: Lessons in Japanese' in Fakrul Alam and Shamsad Mortuza (eds). Six Seasons Review. 1:1. October 2013. 50.

‘Birthday Triptych’ in Ayn Frances Dela Cruz, (ed). Paper Monster Press: I, Icarus. 9. 2013.

‘Summer Sleep’ in R. K. Biswas (ed). The Four Quarters Magazine: To Ugliness. April. 2013.

‘One Good Thing’ in R. K. Biswas (ed). The Four Quarters Magazine: To Ugliness. April. 2013.

‘Fish on Monroe’ in Andrew Burke, Peter Jeffrey, Nathan Hondros, et al. (eds). Regime 02: A Magazine of New Writing. 2. 2013. 15.

‘Gentlemanwallah’ in Roxy Hornbeck and Natasha Lovato (eds). quiet Shorts: All or Nothing: Stories of the disillusioned, disenfranchised and displaced. 2:2, 2012. 66.

‘Navigation’ in P. Gopichand and P. Nagasuseela (eds). The Poetic Bliss. 2012. Guntur: JKC College, 94.

‘Crucify Eve’ in P. Gopichand and P. Nagasuseela (eds). The Poetic Bliss. 2012. Guntur: JKC College, 93.

‘Dhanmondi Morning Metaphors’ in Vaughan Raptatahana (ed). Blackmail Press: Marginalization. 31. November 2011.

‘Last Drinks in Adelaide’ in Peter Bower (ed). SWAMP Issue 8. School of Humanities and Social Science of the University of Newcastle, Australia. 22 March 2011.

‘Un Vieillard Au Bord De La Mer’. Spring Poetry Festival: Opinion. Ed. Sue Cook. Norwood: South Australian English Teachers Association, 1999. 34.


(Forthcoming) ‘Charting Koenji’ in Shannon Young (ed). How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? True Stories of Expat Women in Asia. 2014. Hong Kong: Signal 8 Press.

'Place’ in Mikey Leung and Belinda Meggitt (eds). Positive Light. 2012. Dhaka: Drik. 48.

‘Deep Desh’ in Mikey Leung and Belinda Meggitt (eds). Bangladesh. 2012. Bucks, UK: Bradt Travel Guides. 110.

‘Cafe Poet update: Writing and Watching’. Australian Poetry. June 2011.

‘Guided By a Bengali Poet’. PopMatters. 3 June 2008.

‘Rickshaw vs Car.’ Himal SouthAsian: Voices, 21 March 2008.

‘The Rickshaw as an Endangered Species.’ PopMatters. 28 February 2008.

‘In Conversation with Kaiser Haq.’ PopMatters. 1 January 2008.

‘Living in a Po-Co World.’ PopMatters. 12 November 2007.

‘An Outsider Gets Brief Glimpses of the Real Tibet.’ The Record, Friday 12 October 2007.

‘Sacred Ornas and Secret Longings.’ PopMatters. 8 October 2007.

‘During the Deluge.’ PopMatters. 17 September 2007.

‘Travellers See a Disney-fied Tibet.’ Gulf Times, Thursday September 20 2007.

‘Travels in Little China.’ PopMatters. 15 August 2007.

‘Seeking Some Reprieve.’ PopMatters. 20 June 2007.

‘Dr Dhaka’s Lonely Hearts Club.’ PopMatters. 23 May 2007.

‘Deep ’Desh.’ PopMatters. 17 April 2007.

‘My Wandering Days.’ PopMatters. 13 March 2007.

‘Women of the Evolution: (Another) Discussion of Chick Lit.’ PopMatters. 19 February 2007.

‘A New Year’s Career.’ PopMatters. 15 January 2007.

‘Five Years’ Moldering, Now.’ PopMatters. 1 January 2007.

‘Bye-Bye Bridesmaiding.’ Sun Journal, 3 December 2006.

‘Bridesmaids Revisited.’ PopMatters. 20 November 2006.

‘Reel Australia.’ PopMatters. 17 October 2006.

‘I Am/We Are/You May or May Not Be, Depending.’ PopMatters. 20 September 2006.

‘Little Americans: They’re Everywhere!’ PopMatters. 6 August 2006.

‘Invasion of the McMansions.’ PopMatters. 18 July 2006.

‘Little America’s Term of Love’. PopMatters. 11 June 2006.


‘Love Letters to VS Naipaul: Hurricane Katrina’. Love Letters to VS Naipaul. July 11 2011.

‘Playing the Swan’. Party Walls. Adelaide: Seaview, 2003.

‘Blowing It Out’. Cornerfold: Quitting. Issue 5 May 2003.

‘Much Ado About Nothing: The SMS Version’. Anthology of Australasian Short Stories. Ed. Brian Dibble. Kathmandu: Spiny Babbler, 2003. 197-203.

‘A Kind of Conscious Sleep’. Piping Shrike: Ex Nihilo. Magill: Piping Shrike, 2001. 37-42.