Sue Woolfe is the award-winning, best-selling author of three novels, Painted Woman (published Australia 1989), which was translated and published by Editions Phebus in France in 2008, Leaning Towards Infinity (1996), which has been translated into several languages, and her most recent novel, The Secret Cure (2003) reprinted in 2009 by UWA Press. She has adapted both Painted Woman and Leaning Towards Infinity for the stage, with professional productions, and she has adapted Painted Woman for ABC Radio as a play. She compiled Wild Minds: Stories of Misfits and Dreamers, an international collection of short stories, including one of hers, published 1998. She has written and published many other short stories, published in journals and newspapers. She has written, directed and produced many short documentary films, many of which have been shown on television. With Kate Grenville she wrote Making Stories: How Ten Australian Novels Were Written (1991). All her works are still in print.
Sue Woolfe has also written screenplays for film, made 16mm documentaries and edited subtitles for SBS.
Sue Woolfe gained her DCA in 2006 from UTS for her novel The Secret Cure and her accompanying dissertation The Mystery of the Cleaning Lady: A Writer Looks at Creativity and Neuroscience which was published by University of Western Australia in 2007. In this, she sleuthed contemporary neuroscience to discover what is known about the way creative minds work. She uses in her teaching her research into creativity and neuroscience as well as her experience as a novelist and short story writer. She has taught for many years, including on the BBC, and a number of her students have been published, or will be published shortly.
Dr Woolfe was recently featured on the ABC's Talking Heads show. The interview and transcript can be viewed from the Talking Heads website.
Teaching and supervision
I teach students writerly skills, which are not just the practising of those old chestnuts such as character development, but also the basic skills of creativity, such as learning to trust and follow one’s own intuitions, learning to seek and tolerate ambiguity, learning to be provisional, playful and experimental, and losing self-consciousness.
I do not encourage students to read out their work in the workshops largely because this can inhibit that most essential of skills, the loss of self-consciousness. Anecdotal reports corroborate this: certainly, no published writer would read raw work aloud.
Selected publications & creative works