Susan Murphy

Dr Susan Murphy is both a writer and authorized Zen teacher and lineage-holder, teaching since 1998. Her most recent book is Upside Down Zen, published both in Australia (Hachette Livre, 2004), and the USA (Wisdom Publications, 2006). She is founding teacher of Zen Open Circle in Sydney, as well as teacher for the Melbourne Zen Group, and associate teacher with Pacific Zen Institute in Northern California, leading retreats in all three places.

During two decades as an academic in screen studies and writer on film (co-author with Elizabeth Jacka of a two-volume study The Screening Of Australia, 1985 and 1987, a widely recognised classic of Australian film scholarship; and The Imaginary Industry, 1988), she gradually gravitated into working as a screenwriter and director. Film and television writing credits include The Midas Touch (mini-series, 1988), Secrets (six one-off dramas) and in 1991, her own feature film as writer-director, Breathing Under Water. Shown in national and international film festivals in 1992 including London, Manchester and Mannheim, the film achieved national exhibition and collected several prizes including the Mannheim Critics Prize, and an Australian film award for Best Sound Design.

In 1997 Susan was awarded a a five-year QEII Research Fellowship by the Australian Research Council in social ecology for a study of sense of place based mainly in film and radio work. She is a frequent freelance producer of feature radio works for ABC Radio National Radio Eye and 360 and has worked with the Bell Shakespeare Company and Griffin Theatre playwrights in residence using a dreamwork-based process in rehearsal and writing.

Susan’s book about the search for new ways of thinking in this time of planetary crisis, Minding the Earth, Mending the World, will be published by Picador Australia in August 2012.