My Body/My Calamity. My Body/My Dignity: The Role of Autobiographical Writing as a Therapeutic and Ethical Strategy for Dealing with a Cancer Diagnosis.

Author Faculty (Discipline)


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Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as:

Rickett, C. (2011). My Body/my calamity. My body/my dignity: The role of autobiographical writing as a therapeutic and ethical strategy for dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Paper presented at the 16th Conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, Byron Bay, Australia. Retrieved from http://www.aawp.org.au/publications/

ISBN: 978-0-9807573-4-7


119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified| 111204 Cancer Therapy (excl. Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy)| 110317 Physiotherapy| 190402 Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)


This paper interrogates how autobiographical texts narrating the trauma of a cancer diagnosis and its subsequent treatment might be read as sites of therapeutic and ethical intervention. When writing about the physical and psychic injury caused by a potentially life-threatening disease, an author often performs imaginative acts of reclaiming and retelling her or his own story, and in so doing challenges and resists culturally reductive and unethical readings of the ill body as medicalised, marginalised or stigmatised.


Used by permission: Australasian Association of Writing Programs and the author.