Story of adoption helps graduate earn Doctorate

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Story of adoption helps graduate earn Doctorate


Published on 24 April 2015

A Springfield communications professional has graduated from USC with a Doctor of Creative Arts and her own book about life as an adoptee.

Jo Sparrow, 44, received her DCA in Creative Writing at the noon USC Graduation Ceremony at Sippy Downs on Thursday 16 April.

Dr Sparrow, who was 19 years old when she met her birth mother and 39 when she met her birth father, said writing the memoir ‘Darling Adopted Daughter’ to publishable quality fulfilled a dream and progressed her ambition to write more books.

“I chose USC because I wanted to learn how to write innovative and interesting creative non-fiction and fiction,” said the former Brisbane schoolgirl with an Arts degree from Monash University and a Public Relations Master’s from the University of Southern Queensland.

“I wanted to be mentored by an experienced and talented author, and after reading ‘Soldier Blue’, the memoir of (USC Creative Writing Lecturer) Dr Paul Williams, I knew I had found my university.

“As my primary supervisor, Dr Williams went above and beyond for me at all times. His feedback was constructive and built my confidence.”

Dr Sparrow, who previously co-authored a book on wedding photography with New York’s Amherst Media Publishing, works at the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.

“My DCA was about self-acceptance and a search for identity. It explores the theory of the ‘primal wound’, adoption, attachment and trauma issues, as well as the portrayal of adoptees in creative non-fiction,” she said.

“I met some amazing fellow students at USC, both when I was on campus at Sippy Downs and through the online creative writing community, USC Inklings.

“I travelled to London to present at my first international conference, published in academic journals and am now leaving USC knowing my capabilities.

“I’d love my sons to study here. I want to feel like a university is glad to have me, not that I should be grateful to be there, and this was my experience at USC.”

She has been nominated for a position on the 2015 Queensland Writers Centre management committee and is finalising her memoir for commercial publication.

Applications are now open to start studying at USC mid-year. Visit the mid-year website, call Student Administration on 5430 2890 or email for more information.

— Julie Schomberg

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