Merlinda Bobis

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Doctorate of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong 1995. Master of Arts in Literature, University of Santo Tomas Manila 1987. Bachelor of Arts, Aquinas University of Legazpi 1980


Dr. Merlinda Bobis is a trilingual Filipino-Australian writer, performer, and scholar. She published 4 novels, 6 poetry books, 2 collections of short stories, a monograph of lectures on creative research and had 10 dramatic works performed/produced in Australia, Philippines, US, Canada, Spain, Singapore, China, France, Slovakia and Thailand. She has more than a hundred literary and scholarly works published in various anthologies, journals and magazines. Author's website:

Her literary awards include the 2021 Canberra Critics’ Circle Award for her collection of short stories The Kindness of Birds; the 2016 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards for her novel Locust Girl. A Lovesong; three Philippine National Book Awards (2016: Locust Girl, 2014: Fish-Hair Woman, 2000: White Turtle); 2013 MUBA for her novel Fish-Hair Woman; 2000 Steele Rudd Award for the Best Published Collection of Australian Short Stories for White Turtle; 2006 Philippine National Balagtas Award for her poetry and prose (in English, Filipino and Bikol); 1998 Prix Italia, 1998 Australian Writers’ Guild Award and 1995 Ian Reed Radio Drama Prize for her play Rita’s Lullaby; three Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in Literature Poetry Category. The Kindness of Birds was also shortlisted for the 2022 Christina Stead Prize and the Steele Rudd Award, and was Highly Commended for the 2022 ACT Book of the Year. As well, her sixth poetry book Accidents of Composition was Highly Commended for the 2018 ACT Book of the Year. Other shortlistings include the 2016 ACT Book of the Year for Locust Girl, 2006 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal for her first novel Banana Heart Summer and the 1998 The Age Poetry Book of the Year for Summer Was a Fast Train Without Terminals.

Her scholarly works are negotiations between creative and critical practice in relation to lived politics and advocacy that explore issues around gender, environment, migration, borders, war, memory, and colonisation. In Australia, the Philippines and Canada, she has also developed and facilitated community arts and advocacy projects on environment, resilience of women and girls, migration and language, and cross-cultural engagement. Her latest community project was Sulatan sa Panahon ng Pandemya ('Letter-writing in the Time of Pandemic', 2022), which involved 24 Filipinas exchanging letters across Australia, the Philippines and the US.

She taught Creative Writing for 21 years at University of Wollongong, and English and Literature for 10 years at Philippine tertiary institutions.



Researcher's projects

1) Novel in progress on trees as repositories of memory of climate, colonisation and conflict. 2) Book of scholarly essays: Border Lover: Creative-Critical Essays on Arts Practice. 2) Nature-Culture Ecology = Nature-Culture Pedagogy: Nature and Culture Conservation Project for Philippine High Schools. 3) Mga Anak ng Alaala ('Children of Memory': Remembering and Understanding Home: Canada and Philippines, Winnipeg Story Project).

Research interests

Novel, Short story, Poetry, Performance, Creative-Critical practice, Creative-Critical empathy, Ethics of Care, Creative arts and advocacy, Environment and culture, Gender, Decolonisation, Borders and Cross-cultural engagement, Transnationalism, Conflict and trauma.

Expertise Areas

  • Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)
  • Performing Arts and Creative Writing not elsewhere classified