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Rosalind Smith and her corkboard of inspiration, featuring images of her family, Renaissance art and of course, Mary Queen of Scots.

Rosalind Smith Queen of Literature

After making the strategic decision to combine her In addition to developing The Writing Centre, Smith two research passions, true crime writing and Renais- has produced many notable works of research into sance literature, Dr. Rosalind Smith is well on her way the fields of Renaissance women’s writing and contemporary Australian true crime writing, with a pubto becoming ‘Queen’ of Literature. lished book, Sonnets and the English Woman Writer, A Senior Lecturer for the School of Humanities and 1560-1621: The Politics of Absence, and several conSocial Science at the University of Newcastle, Smith tributions to academic books and journals under her has immersed herself in both historical and contem- belt. This framework of knowledge is providing the foundation for the exploration of a new and relatively porary literature. uncharted field of research; True Crime writing in the Utilizing her teaching expertise and thorough knowl- Renaissance period. edge of English and Australian literature, she has extended the learning experience to students across Smith is currently on research leave for the University other disciplines, playing an integral part in the devel- of Newcastle, using the university’s large, online dataopment of The Writing Centre in the University, a ser- bases to investigate the veiled phenomenon of crime vice that aims to give advice and support to students in the renaissance period. with academic writing and assist teachers to educate students with essay preparation

After working closely with the poetry of Mary Queen Century, [that would be] the dominant theme, usually of Scots for her first book, Smith stumbled upon the because they get their lover, or manipulate their lover sub genre of 16th Century True Crime writing. to murder their husband, which is fantastic material!” “Gallows Confession is where women who are about Smith hopes that her exploration of this new genre to go to the gallows circulate these confessions, where of writing will provide a new way of thinking about they go ‘Oh I’m so sorry’ or ‘I’m not that sorry’ and stylistically, the Mary Queen of Scots poems are very similar,” Smith said. “I published all that material and I started to think, what else is there? It really was serendipity.”

“I published all that material and I started to think, what else is there? It really was serendipity”

As Smith’s exploration into the period progresses further and further, the path she treads becomes darker and more twisted, uncovering some startling examples of true crime writing from the era, whose scandalous themes seem to render the romantic sentiment associated with the Renaissance period as inconsequential. “I’ve been thinking will I make [my book] about true crime and women, because lots of the crimes are about women murdering their husbands… In the 16th

Renaissance literature, as she paves the way for other researchers by employing fresh methodologies looking at publication of events rather than individual texts. While her next book may focus on misdeeds and murder, it is Rosalind Smith’s innovative academic approach and that is surely the crowning jewel of her literary kingdom. By Students Renee Smith, Sam Cupitt, and Hannah Thompson

UoN - School of Humanities and Social Science

UoN - School of Humanities and Social Science

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Print Profile, Dr Rosalind Smith