Maria is the author of a collection of short stories, The Double (Text 2013), which was developed with the help of a $25,000 Australia Council ‘New Work’ grant, was a finalist for the $30,000 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s ‘Best Writing Award’, and was named a best book of 2013 by The Australian and other forums. The inaugural winner of the Australian Book Review Elizabeth Jolley short story prize, Maria's stories have also been anthologised nationally and internationally. She is now finishing a novel for Text Publishing, with the help of a $40,000 Australia Council 'New Work' grant and an Arteles Creative Centre International Residency.
Maria is also the author of three books of poems: The End of the World (Giramondo 2014); Ghostly Subjects (Salt 2009), which was short-listed for a 2010 Queensland Premier’s Prize; and the chapbook Narcissism (Whitmore Press 2005). A fourth collection, Trigger Warning, is in press with UQP. Maria's poems have been widely anthologised in Australia, appearing annually in The Best Australian Poems (Black Inc) and/or The Best Australian Poetry (UQP) from 2005, and they have also been translated and published internationally. A program about her poetry aired on Radio National in 2015, and she has performed her poetry on ABC TV and at numerous festivals, including the 2017 International Poetry Festival of Medellín in Colombia.
Maria is also the author of a work of literary criticism, Catching Butterflies: Bringing Magical Realism to Ground (Peter Lang 2007), and co-editor of The Limits of Life Writing (Routledge 2018). Maria's scholarship focuses on two areas— magical realist literature, and understanding creativity—and she has published numerous scholarly articles and book chapters in both areas. She is also a regular reviewer for The Saturday Paper.
Maria is an Associate Professor in Writing and Literature at Deakin University in Geelong, Victoria, where she has been the recipient of institutional teaching awards, including two 2016 Faculty of Arts and Education awards for PhD supervision and Workplace Integrated Learning, and a 2013 Vice Chancellor's Special Recognition Award. She supervises PhD candidates who work in her areas of research expertise, as well as candidates in the 1-year PhD by Prior Publication program.