Associate Professor Chandani Lokuge

A former Australian Commonwealth Scholar from Sri Lanka, Chandani Lokuge completed her PhD degree at Flinders University, South Australia in 1996. Her thesis was a study of the pioneering Indian women’s autobiography and fiction written in English. She read for the Masters Degree (100% research) at the University of Sri Lanka, Peradeniya on the portrayal of society in English fiction in Sri Lanka by Leonard Woolf, James Goonewardene and Punyakanta Wijenaike.

Chandani works in the Faculty of Arts at Monash University as an Associate Professor and is the Higher Degree Research Coordinator for Creative Writing. As Deputy Associate Dean, International Engagement from 2013-2014 incl., she developed the Monash Joint-Award PhD programme and chaired the Convening Committe of the biennial international conference of the European Association for Studies of Australia (2014). She founded and directed the Monash Centre for Postcolonial Writing from 2002-2011.

Among Chandani’s international appointments are the Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack Chair in Australian Studies at Freie University Berlin (2012), and Le Studium International Research Chair at Le Studium Advanced Studies Institute Loire Valley (2012). She also held a guest professorship at Goethe University Frankfurt in 2015, and at Harvard University’s Humanities Centre in 2008.

Chandani has published 14 books. As Editor of the scholarly Oxford Classics Reissues series of pioneering Indian women’s writing in English, she has published six critical editions including, The Collected Prose and Poetry of Toru Dutt (2008; second edition 2011), and The Memories of Cornelia Sorabji: India’s First Woman Barrister (2002). Her current research is on South Asian diasporic literature and she has guest co-edited several scholarly journals on this theme. She was Editor of the postcolonial section of the Annotated Bibliography of English Studies (Routledge) from 2007-2009, and is a Contributing Editor of Empire Online (Adam Matthews).

Chandani is the author of three novels, If the moon smiled and Turtle Nest (Penguin Australia and India) and Softly, as I Leave You (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing; Colombo: Perera-Hussein) and Moth and Other Stories (Denmark: Dangaroo). The first two novels have been translated into Greek and French resp. Chandani has published or presented her fiction in France, Germany, India, Sri Lanka, US, Cyprus and Australia.

In line with her current research interests, Chandani is now developing the”South Asian Diaspora International Researchers’ Network” (SADIRN) with support from Monash Arts, AustLit Database, Monash Asia Institute and Monash Figshare:


Sir Lanka Godage National Award for Best Novel 2013 awarded to Softly, as I Leave You (Colombo: Perera-Hussein 2012). See: VIC 3800
New South Wales Premier’s (national) Award 2001 short-listing for If the Moon Smiled (Penguin Australia, 2000)

Empire Online database presented to Matheson Library, Monash University for 10 years of free-access to the Monash Community by Adam Matthews Publications, London, for role as Contributing Editor, Empire On-Line:

Serendib Award for Print Journalism presented by the Sri Lankan Community in Australia (national) 2005



  • South Asian diasporic literature
  • Sri Lankan literature
  • Indian women’s literature
  • Travel writing
  • Creative writing


  • Australian Commonwealth Doctoral Scholarship to Sri Lanka (1987-1991)
  • Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts Writer’s grant (2002)
  • Routledge, UK: Editing the Annotated Bibliography of English Studies (2007-2009 incl)
Centre for Postcolonial Writing research project grants
  • Australia-India Council
  • Myer Foundation
  • Arts Victoria
  • Ian Potter Foundation


Books (academic)

  • Lokuge, C., 2006, ed., Toru Dutt: Collected Prose and Poetry, Oxford University Press, New Delhi India.
  • Lokuge, C., 2004, ed., Ratanbai: a High-Caste Child-Wife (Nikambe, S. M.), Oxford University Press, New Delhi India.
  • Lokuge, C., 2003, ed., Love and Life Behind the Purdah (Sorabji, C), Oxford University Press, New Delhi India.
  • Lokuge, C., 2001, ed., India Calling: The Memories of Cornelia Sorabji, India’s first woman barrister, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India.
  • Lokuge C. 1998, ed., Saguna: The First Autobiographical Novel Written in English by an Indian Woman (Satthianadhan, K.), Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India.
  • Lokuge, C. 1998. ed., Kamala: The Story of an Indian Child-Wife, (Satthianadhan, K.) Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India

Books (creative)

  • Lokuge, C., 2011, Softly, As I Leave You, Novel, Arcadia, Melbourne Vic Australia.
  • Lokuge, C., 2003, Turtle Nest, Novel, Penguin Australia, Penguin India, Melbourne Victoria New Delhi India.
  • Lokuge, C., 2000, If the moon smiled, Novel, Penguin Australia, Penguin India, Melbourne Victoria New Delhi India
  • Lokuge, C., 1994, Moth and Other Stories, Dangaroo, Denmark/Sydney

Book chapters

  • Lokuge, C., 2014, The aesthetic of music in Amit Chaudhuri’s fiction, in Constructions of Home in Philosophy, Theory, Literature and Cinema: Essays in Honour of Nilufer E. Bharucha, eds Sridhar Rajeswaran and Klaus Stierstorfer, Centre for Advanced Studies in India, Bhuj-Kachchh Gujarat India, pp. 67-78.
  • Lokuge, C., 2013, Dialoguing with empire: The literary and political rhetoric of Sarojini Naidu, in India in Britain: South Asian Networks and Connections, 1858-1950, eds Susheila Nasta, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke UK, pp. 115-133.
  • Lokuge, C., 2011, Field notes: Discoveries of self in reading and teaching Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, in Beyond ‘Other Cultures’: Transcultural Perspectives on Teaching the New Literatures in English, eds Sabine Doff and Frank Schulze-Engler, Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, Trier Germany, pp. 239-246.
  • Lokuge, C., 2008, A case for literature and the search for alternative visions of individual and national freedom: Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost, in Arbiters of a National Imaginary: Essays on Sri Lanka, eds Chelva Kanaganayakam, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo Sri Lanka, pp. 106-113.

Journal articles

  • Lokuge, C., 2013 (late publication 2015), Sinhalese literary and cultural aesthetics: Martin Wickramasinghe’s novels Gamperaliya and Viragaya, Anglistica AION [E], vol 17, issue 2, Universita degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, Dipartimento di Studi Letterari, Linguistici e Com, Naples Italy, pp. 77-87. View Publication
  • Lokuge, C., 2012, The novelist and censorship: A Sri Lankan-Australian perspective, South Asian Review [P], vol 33, issue 3, South Asian Review, USA, pp. 327-337.
  • Lokuge, C., 2011, Journey into Vishranti: a critico-autobiographical reflection on diasporic dis-belonging, Interventions: International journal of postcolonial studies [P], vol 13, issue 3, Routledge, UK, pp. 483-494.
  • Lokuge, C., 2010, The return journey and the aesthetic of rasa in Michael Ondaatje’s poetry, Moving Worlds: a journal for transcultural writings [P], vol 10, issue 2, University of Leeds, School of English, University of Leeds, pp. 79-91.
  • Lokuge, C., 2008, Revising the homeland: philosophical and aesthetic dimensions in Adib Khan’s Spiral Road, Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, vol 2, issue 1, IIUM Press, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, pp. 47-57.
  • Lokuge, C., 2007, Waters of Desire, Meanjin: On Globalisation and Postcolonial Culture, vol 66, issue 2, Melbourne University Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 25-34.

Short fiction

  • Lokuge, C., 2014, Sand bars of memory: the tsunami in Sri Lanka, , Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings, University of Leeds UK. View Publication
  • Lokuge, C., 2013, A Shadow of Us, Short story, Ciclic, online, p. E.
  • Lokuge, C., 2004, Caves of Infinite Buddhas, Meanjin Company Ltd., Australia, pp. 119-123.
  • Lokuge, C., 2003, Her Red Scarf, Penguin Books, Vic Australia, pp. 82-87.
  • Lokuge, C., 2002, Mala’s baby in Gas and Air: Tales of Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, London UK, pp. 105-113.

Invited Keynote Presentations

  • 2013: Opening Keynote, ‘Sri Lankan Traditions and the British Imperial Imagination’, Leonard Woolf International Symposium, Centre for Life Writing, Oxford University.
  • 2013: Opening keynote, ‘Postcolonial Futures: The Phase of Aesthetics’, International conference, Postcolonial Futures: Phases, Faces, Spaces, University of Tours, sponsored by Le Studium Loire Valley Institute of Advanced Studies, France. Graham Huggan, Professor of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literatures, University of Leeds, and Elleke Boehmer, Professor of Postcolonial Literature, Oxford University, and I were key-speakers.
  • 2012: Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack Chair of Australian Studies Inaugural Lecture: ‘Australian Culture and Diasporic (Dis)belonging’, Australian Embassy, Berlin. Other speaker in the programme: Simon During, Australian Research Professor at University of Queensland
  • 2012: ‘Subversive Censorships: A Creative Writer’s Experience’, Silence in the Post-World: Literature and the (Re)imagining of Geography, Interdisciplinary International Symposium, Freie University Berlin, Germany
  • 2012: ‘Forms and Techniques of an Indigenous Aesthetic: The Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore’, India in the University of Cologne, University of Cologne, Germany

Invited Public events

  • 2015: Panelist with two postcolonial experts on ‘Reading Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace in ABC Radio’s National Books and Arts Programme, Subcontinent Book Club:
  • 2013: ‘Navrasa: Classical Indian Dance Performance’, with renowned Indian classical dancer, Sharmila Sharma (Paris), at Salon Rockefeller, Hotel de l’Univers, Tours, France. Sponsored by Le Studium Loire Valley Institute of Advanced Studies
  • 2012: Le Studium Lecture: ‘My World in Writing – How is a Novel Written?’ Orleans University, Tours, France
  • 2012: Co-Reading with Dr Guillaume Cingal, Here they Come in English and in French: Translation of Chandani Lokuge’s A Shadow of Us’, University Library, University of Tours, France
  • 2012: ‘In Conversation with David Francis’, Melbourne Writers’ Festival, Melbourne
  • 2011: ‘An Evening with Writers in Residence’, Chateau de Lavigny, Switzerland. Writers included Nicholas Shakespeare (UK

Organization of Conferences/Public Event at Monash University (as Director, CPW)

  • 2013: Postcolonial Futures: Phases, Spaces, Faces co-organised with University of Tours.
  • 2011: A Postcolonial Aesthetic: Australian and South Asian Literature and Film, Monash University
  • 2011: Monash Arts Public Lecture X, at State Library of Victoria. ‘Walter Benjamin and Other Illegal Immigrants’ by Robert Young, Julius Silver Professor of English and Comparative Literature, New York University. Opening address by Professor Rae Frances; Introduction by Chandani Lokuge

External Service

  • 2011: External Member, Major Course Review, A478 Master of Arts – Writing and Literature, Deakin University, Burwood
  • 2009-2010 (incl): Monash Primary Contact, Melbourne Writers’ Festival and Emerging Writers’ Festival

Public Intellectual Work

  • 2013: Invited by DFAT to participate in public consultations ‘as a stakeholder in the development of Australia in the Asian Century’, Melbourne
  • 2012: Invited Speaker, Melbourne Writers’ Festival

Membership on International Advisory/Editorial Boards

  • Journal for Postcolonial Writing (Advisory)
  • Postcolonial Text (Canadian Association of Literature and Language Studies)
  • Asiatic: Islamic University of Malaysia Journal of Language and Literature Transnational Literatures; Asia-Pacific Writing Partnership (Adelaide Univ) Contributing Editor, Empire On-Line, Adam Matthews, UK

Higher Degree Research Supervision


Doctorate by Research (main supervisions)

  • Chang, R. “Mindful writing practice: An integrated exploration of mindfulness through creative writing”
  • Savage, A. “The Surrogate Other: Australian-Indonesian Surrogacy Connections”
  • Milner, J. “Redcurrents (Novel); Patterns of Ecological Loss (Exegesis)”
  • McGuire, M. “Polish Migration to Australia”

Doctorate by Research (associate supervisions)

  • Anderson, J. “Permission to speak: an Australian student in China 1979-1983”
  • McFarlane, R. “Spinning droplets: Second generation South East Asian diasporic poetry”

Recent Completions

Doctorate by Research (main supervisions)

  • Uko, N. “In the name of the fathers”
  • Giffard-Foret, P. “Place tectonics in Austral/Asia: hybridity and identity drift in Southeast Asian Australian women’s literature”
  • Convery, S. “Literature as political activism: literary representations of Indigenous Australia by Anglo and Indigenous writers & Big River”
  • Dalal, S. “Reinscribing home: South Asian diasporic fiction in Australia”
  • Evangelista, E. “The lost comedian (a novel) & Beyond the latticed view: translating self, memory and place in a second language (exegesis)”
  • Khan, A. “Jackal’s Orchard (a novel) & In the muses’ labyrinth: discovering the configurations of a creative process (exegesis)”

Doctorate by Research (associate supervisions)

  • Macfarlane, R. “Spinning droplets: Non-first generation East and Southeast Asian Australian poets and the discourse of water”
  • Noske, C. “The call of Salt: White Australian writing and anxieties of landscape”
  • Mooney-Singh, C. “Bamboo in the backyard – emergence of Asia in Australian poetry”
  • Hashim, R. “Malay comedy in a late colonial and post-colonial context: the Singapore comedy films of P. Ramlee, 1957-1964”

Masters by Research (main supervisions)

  • Clifford, MS. “The grace of flight (A Novella) & the shape of the past: memory, loss and exile in Michael Ondaatje’s Divisadero”
  • Fitch, A. “The Role of the Outsider’s Voice in Representation: A Comparative Analysis of Selected Fiction of Toni Morrison and Michael Ondaatje”

Masters by Research (Associate supervisions)

  • Malalasekera, A. “Difficulties Encountered in Translating Postcolonial Writing – A study of Pragmatic Aspects, with Reference to the Translation of Fiction from Sinhala to English”