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Literature

The first Australian degree program in creative writing was established at WAIT in 1972. Since then, many authors associated with WAIT or Curtin University have deposited signed copies of their books with the library.

In addition to these modern works, the Rare Books collection includes books printed in the 16th – 18th centuries and good examples of Australian authors’ work dating from 1885.

Elizabeth Jolley Research Collection

Elizabeth Jolley with grey hair and wearing a red jumper and glasses, looking off to the side

Elizabeth Jolley (1923-2007) started teaching at WAIT in 1978. In 1998 she was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Curtin and later became Emeritus Professor in Curtin’s School of Communication and Cultural Studies.

She wrote 15 novels and four short story collections. Her novels have been adapted for film and stage, and many of her works have been translated into other languages.

In 2007 Barbara Milech and Brian Dibble, both colleagues of Elizabeth Jolley, began work with the Curtin University Library to publish Elizabeth Jolley: A Bibliography 1965-2007 online as the foundation of the Elizabeth Jolley Research Collection. The collection includes books signed by Jolley, books published in other languages, and art works interpreting her works.

Australian literature and poetry

Australian literature and poetry

We have good representations of Australian literature, including plays and poetry from the late 1800s and throughout the 20th century.

These books are catalogued individually. Most of these titles published up to 1950 are held with other rare books in the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library

English literature

English literature

Our collected rare books include limited editions, examples of fine binding, private press, and early printed books from the hand-press era 16th to 18th century.

Brian Dibble papers

The late Brian Dibble established Australia’s first creative writing degree in 1972 as the Foundation Head of English at the Western Australian Institute of Technology.

His biography of Elizabeth Jolley Doing life was published in 2008. Dibble’s papers comprise manuscript poems by Dorothy Hewitt, Merv Lilley, Fay Zwicky and Hal Colebatch, and correspondence related to the Beloit Poetry Journal chapbook of Western Australian poetry published in 1975.

John Curtin family library

John Curtin family library

Our archive collections hold the personal library of John Curtin, including signed books by Mary Gilmore, Paul Hasluck and Katharine Susanna Prichard.

These books are catalogued individually in two parts; parts one and two.

Children's literature

Children’s literature

We have examples of Australian children’s literature published from the later 19th century, such as Victorian literature, gift books, annuals, nursery rhymes and songs, and religious society publications.