Dr Kelly

Dr Kelly Gardiner

Lecturer, Creative & Professional Writing

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Creative Arts and English

Humanities 2, Room 520, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BA, Professional Writing & Literature (Deakin); MA, Literature (Deakin); PhD, English - Creative Writing (La Trobe).



Membership of professional associations

Australian Society of Authors, Writers Victoria, Association of Australasian Writing Programs, Historical Novel Society, Asia Pacific Writers and Translators. Alumna of Varuna Writers House and Fellow of May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust.

Area of study

Creative Writing

Brief profile

Kelly Gardiner's latest book is 1917, a novel for young readers as part of Scolastic's 'Australia's Great War' series.

Her previous novel, Goddess, is based on the remarkable life of the seventeenth century French swordswoman and opera singer, Julie d’Aubigny. It was the creative component of her doctoral project at La Trobe.

Her other books include The Sultan’s Eyes and Act of Faith, historical novels for young adults set during the time of the English Civil Wars and the Spanish Inquisition. Both books were shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and Act of Faith was also shortlisted for the Gold Inky Award, and Highly Commended in the Barbara Jefferis Award. Both were Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Notable Books. The Sultan’s Eyes was selected by the International Youth Library as one of the world’s most important YA novels of 2014.

Her books for younger readers are the ‘Swashbuckler’ adventure trilogy – Ocean Without End, The Pirate’s Revenge and The Silver Swan – and a picture book, Billabong Bill’s Bushfire Christmas.

Kelly has worked on newspapers, magazines, and websites, and her features, book reviews and travel writing have appeared in magazines and newspapers including The New York TimesMarie Claire, New Idea, and Australian Good Taste.

Her poems have been published in journals such as Southerly, Going Down Swinging, The Australian Women’s Book Review, Mattoid and Veranda

Research interests

Creative Writing

- Fiction, life writing, children's literature, young adult fiction

Literary Studies

- Biofictions, historical fiction, women's writing, travel memoir

Teaching units

Writing Fiction

Writing Creative Nonfiction

Professional Writing

Recent publications

Gardiner, K, 2017, 1917: Australia’s Great War, Scholastic, Sydney.

Gardiner, K, 2017, 'Fictions of love: Writing about seventeenth century ideas of love and gender', Fluid Gender, Fluid Love, Wernmei Yong Ade and Deirdre Byrne (editors), InterDisciplinary Press/Brill, Oxford (forthcoming).

Gardiner, K, 2017, ‘Double-crossings: Narratives of gender and love in The Woman in White and Fingersmith’, in Words Written, Spoken, Acted, Deirdre Byrne (editor), InterDisciplinary Press/Brill, Oxford (forthcoming). 

Gardiner, K, 2016, Review: ‘The Queen of the Night,’ by Alexander Chee, The New York Times, 17 February, 2016

Gardiner, K, 2015 'Plucky girls and female gentlemen: The amateur sleuth in historical mysteries', Australian Journal of Crime Fiction, Issue 1, Volume 2.

Gardiner, K, 2015 'Still here, still queer', Text Journal, Special Issue 31

Gardiner, K and Pfister, S. V. (editors), 2015, Past and Present: Perspectives on Gender and Love, InterDisciplinary Press, Oxford.

Gardiner, K, 2015, ‘We will remember: Return to Gallipoli’, Sunday Star Times, 19 April 2015.

Gardiner, K, 2015, ‘When pirates ruled: Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Coast’, Sunday Star Times, 8 February 2015.

Gardiner, K, 2014 Goddess, Fourth Estate, Sydney.

Gardiner, K, 2013 The Sultan’s Eyes, HarperCollins, Sydney. 

Gardiner, K, 2011 Act of Faith, HarperCollins, Sydney. 

Gardiner, K, 2007 (hardcover) and 2008 (paperback), Billabong Bill’s Bushfire Christmas,  Random House, Sydney.

Gardiner, K, 2007 The Silver Swan, HarperCollins, Auckland.

Gardiner, K, 2007 The Pirate’s Revenge, HarperCollins, Auckland.

Gardiner, K, 2006 Ocean Without End, HarperCollins, Auckland.


Older publications

Published community sector research includes:

  • What Are Nice Girls Like You Doing In A Place Like This? Young Women and Housing Services in Australia, National Youth Coalition for Housing, 1987
  • Your Dream, Our Nightmare, National Youth Coalition for Housing, 1989
  • Do You Come Here Often? Youth Homelessness in Australia, National Youth Coalition for Housing, 1990
  • Dollars and Sense, co-written with Michele O’Neil, Youth Accommodation Coalition of Victoria, 1991.

Research projects


Creative practice:

Wildfall, a historical fantasy novel for teens.

Grace, a biofictional novel on the meeting between Elizabeth 1 and the Irish pirate queen Grace O'Malley.

Roar, a young adult novel set in 1980s London and on safari through revolution-era Africa.

Boots, a young adult novel in serial form, in tribute to early crime stories, about two female bushrangers turned detectives in 1850s Victoria.

Sisterhood: Feminists in the Family, a work of creative nonfiction/memoir on the women's and peace movements in Australia during the First World War and in the 1980s.

Sublime, an experiment in travel narrative and literary history.

Literary studies:

Plucky girls and hot chicks with superpowers: an investigation into key female character types and archetypes in fiction from early modern writing to contemporary young adult fiction.

Fictions of women: research into historical biofictions about famous and infamous women.

Creating the past: collaborative research into historical biofictions from the Antipodes