Author Note - Lyn Jacobs

Author Note: Lyn Jacobs (aka Marilyn Jacobs, nee Seward)

Before her retirement in 2002, Dr Lyn Jacobs was Associate Professor in Australian Literature and Australian Studies at the Flinders University in South Australia where she taught English from 1979 and lectured from 1988. Publications include: A Bibliography of Australian Literary Responses to ‘Asia’ 1788-2000 with A. Chittleborough and G. Worby, a subset of the Australian Literary Gateway 2001 (initially co-authored with R Hosking, 1995), Soundings: Poetry and Poetics (co-edited with J. Kroll, 1998) and Reading Tim Winton with R. Rossiter (Angus and Robertson, 1993). Dr Jacobs is the author of Against The Grain: Beverley Farmer’s Writing, the first critical survey of this author’s work in 2001 (UQP series, Studies in Australian Literature). Her essay on Farmer’s last publication, ‘Beverley Farmer 1941-2018, Archetypes and Fluency in This Water: Five Tales’ appears in JASAL, vol 3, no 18, 2018. Her summary of Farmer’s achievement on winning the Patrick White prize for literature was published in Antipodes in December, 2009.

Dr Jacobs’ articles and reviews of Australian fiction, poetry and women’s writing have been published in national and international journals. Her essay on Tim Winton and West Australian Writing featured in A Companion to Australian Literature since 1900 (Camden House. NY 2007), ‘When in Rome: Australian Poets in the Eternal City’ appeared in Island Magazine in 1999 and her consideration of Vincent Buckley’s poetic sequence, Late Winter Child, (JASAL, 201) was included in the festschrift dedicated to his memory (Vincent Buckley: Practising Not Dying, ed, J. Wright, 2011). Her interest in Gail Jones’ fiction resulted in the essay ‘Gail Jones “Light Writing”: Memory and Photo-graph’ (published in Australian and American journals, JASAL and Antipodes, in 2006). Further articles considered the writing of Eric Willmot, Thea Astley, Francis Webb, Kate Grenville, Murray Bail, Tan Twan Eng, Beth Yahp, Ding Xiaoqui, Alex Miller, Fiona McGregor, Lau Siew Mei, Susan Johnson, Nicholas Jose, Anson Cameron, James Bardon and others. She was a contributor to World Authors 1985-1990, Who’s Who in Australian and New Zealand Contemporary Women’s Writing and Australian Writers 1975-2000(USE Gale Research, 2006). A comprehensive list of publications, including occasional poems and stories, can be accessed through Austlit: the national literary resource data base.

Lyn was born and raised in Adelaide, educated at Adelaide Girls High and worked as a clerk, receptionist/ book-keeper before marriage, the birth of two sons, adult matriculation and a year of teacher education studies at Sturt Teachers College. Transferring to Humanities at Flinders she graduated in BA Hons in 1979.She was awarded a Chancellor’s Commendation in English and Drama (1977), The Ann Flaxman Prize in English and The University Medal in 1978. She won Commonwealth Post-Graduate Research Awards and completed her PhD in Australian Poetry (a comparative study of the poetry of Kenneth Slessor, Francis Webb and Vincent Buckley) in 1986 while tutoring in the English Department in Humanities at Flinders. She developed topics in Contemporary Australian Fiction, Australian Poetry, Women’s writing, Australian Literary responses to ‘Asia’ and Australian Studies in BA and B.Ed programs and supervised multiple successful student postgraduate degrees in Australian Literature over a decade. From 1990-2004 Lyn served as SA representative and executive member for ASAL, as a member of AAALS, and as chair/ presenter/ judging panelist for Writers’ week. She was appointed Associate Professor in 1999.

In September 1990, Beverley Farmer wrote to Lyn Jacobs to thank her for ‘the intent and penetrating study’ of her fiction published in Australian Literary Studies. This article focused on the early short stories but later reviews of A Body of Water and The Seal Woman (ABR 1992) were also valued by the author who expressed her gratitude for ‘a Reader out there, on whom nothing is lost’ (correspondence, September 1992). Beverley visited Flinders University as writer in residence and in Spring of 1998 a special edition of Southerly included a series of essays on her work and a dialogue between Farmer and Jacobs that focused on The House in the Light. Over the years a friendship developed and an on-going email correspondence about writing, family and world affairs in general that lasted from this time until Beverley’s death in 2018. Lyn won an ARC research award to write a comprehensive critical study for UQP Studies in Australian Literature. Prior to its publication in 2001 Farmer agreed to read the draft of Against the Grain: Beverley Farmer’s Writing for factual accuracy (family and Greek references). Lyn stayed with Beverley at Point Lonsdale. Much later, when Beverley was unwell and struggling to edit her own final work Lyn was able to return the favour and proof the manuscripts of The Bone House and This Water: Five Tales. Lyn attended the family celebration of Beverley’s life in Point Lonsdale in 2018.