She is the author of five books: a collection of short stories, The Double (Text 2013); three books of poems, The End of the World (Giramondo 2014), Ghostly Subjects (Salt 2009), and Narcissism (Whitmore Press 2005); and a work of literary criticism, Catching Butterflies: Bringing Magical Realism to Ground (Peter Lang 2007).
Maria's fiction has received various grants and prizes. The Double (and Other Stories) received a $25,000 Australia Council 'New Work' grant; was a finalist in the 2015 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, which received a $40,000 Australia Council 'New Work' grant.
Maria's poetry has been similarly acclaimed. The End of the World was named a best book of 2014 by Australian Book Review and reviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Ghostly Subjects was short-listed for a 2010 Queensland Premier's Prize. Maria's poems have also been widely anthologised, appearing annually in The Best Australian Poems (Black Inc) and/or The Best Australian Poetry (UQP) since 2005, as well as in Motherlode: Australian Women’s Poetry 1986-2008 (Puncher & Wattman 2009), Thirty Australian Poets (UQP 2011), Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry (Turnrow 2014), and Contemporary Australian Poetry (Puncher & Wattman, 2016). A program about her poetry aired on Radio National in 2015. She has also performed her poetry on ABC TV and at numerous festivals, including the 2017 International Poetry Festival of Medellín in Colombia.
Maria's literary scholarship focuses on two areas: magical realist literature (in relation to irony, post-colonialism, Indigenous writing, trauma, fakes, and feminism); and theories of creativity (in relation to mental illness, theories of embodied cognition, neuroscience, and socio-material practice.) She has published numerous scholarly articles and book chapters in both areas.
A full list of Maria's grants, prizes and publications in all genres is available on this website under 'Publications.'
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 students who work in her areas of research expertise and interest.