Home > People > Kate Rossmanith


Associate Professor Kate Rossmanith is a Sydney-based writer and academic. She is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at Macquarie University where she leads a program of research on the role that imagination plays in knowledge-making and world-building. An ethnographer, Kate researches narrative and emotion-concepts in legal processes, as well as methods and forms of writing. She is a leading scholar on remorse and is the author of the essay-memoir Small Wrongs: How we really say sorry in love, life and law (2018); co-editor of the collection Remorse and Criminal Justice: Multi-disciplinary perspectives (2022); and writer/director/narrator of the short documentary Unnatural Deaths (2018). Her current research is on the ways in which ‘closure’ functions as an emotional expectation in the justice system and in our lives.

Kate studies how researchers and writers use writing-forms – traditional scholarly writing as well as fiction, essay, memoir, poetry – to open up new thinking-and-feeling spaces. Her essays ‘Ditching the New Yorker Voice’ (2022) and ‘On Not Asking “Should I Insert Myself in the Text?”’ (2023) explore the compositional and conceptual challenges that writers face when developing a ‘narrating voice’ in ideas-based prose. Her essays have appeared in Lit Hub Daily, Public Books, Sydney Review of Books, and The Monthly.

At the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, Kate will explore what first-person writing is doing in hybrid nonfiction. There has been a steady rise in the production of monographs that synthesise first-person writing with rigorous research and critique. There is no agreement among researchers, however, about what the self-narration is doing in such work nor how it can best be conceptualised. Kate’s project will advance understanding around this.

Research Interests
ethnography, nonfiction writing, emotion, narrative, legal processes, imagination, performance