Portfolio of Selected Texts

Cover of Reciprocity: Celebrations on the Life of Jean-Paul Delamotte

November 2023 release

Reciprocity: A Celebration on the life of Jean-Paul Delamotte, edited by Marie Ramsland.

My chapter “The Studio Ici-Aussie” is on living and studying in Paris and meeting amazing people through Jean-Paul and Monique Delamotte’s huge network of friends and associates.

Click to read a sample below.

Lifestyle articles

Click either of these two titles for examples of short pieces produced to order on a 2-day turn-around. I interviewed the business owners and wrote to Glam Adelaide‘s brand style. Their primary readership is female, looking for travel and entertainment recommendations.

Relax in the Paris Creek Hills with Agatha, the Classic Clipper Caravan
Glam Adelaide

Restaurant Botanic adds Three Hats to its growing string of accolades
Glam Adelaide


Content Marketing

Outside Opinion offers consulting solutions to universities and their academic staff. Click on the title of this blog for an example of a B2B text aimed at professional readers.

Delivering Book Proposals that Publishers Want to Publish
Blog, Outside Opinion

Content Marketing (Historical Vignettes)

Writing project for The University of Adelaide‘s 150-years celebration in 2024.

My remit was to select 150 topics from across the University’s achievements, including outstanding scholars, extensive archival and scientific collections and pioneering developments.

Each topic was to be written as a maximum 150-word text for subsequent illustration online and in print. Here are 3 of the now completed 150 texts. The project is currently in production for delivery across various formats in 2023/24.

Julia Gillard (born 1961)

To date Australia’s only female Prime Minister, serving from 2010 to 2013, Julia Gillard began her Arts and Law degrees at the University of Adelaide.

The Hon. Julia Gillard AC was born in Wales and moved with her family to Adelaide in 1966. She went to Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School.

She moved to Melbourne in 1983 after being elected national Education Vice-President of The Australian Union of Students. After her time in office with the student union she completed her degrees at the University of Melbourne.

After graduating as a lawyer, she worked with Slater and Gordon, becoming a partner at just 29 years of age in 1990.

After her service as Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has remained active in public and academic life, especially known for promoting woman’s access to leadership positions.

Arthur Boyd’s 12 Judges

Judges are usually painted with unquestioning reverence.

Arthur Boyd’s whirls of thick oil slapped on with trowel and bare hand depict one judge in a floral dress, another in yellow on crutches pointing at a prostrate Chinese ‘coolie’, and yet another on fire. Many of the twelve paintings in ‘The Judges’ series draw crude attention to the masculine gender.

In being exposed and far from their lofty benches the judges become vulnerable, like those who appear before them.

The University of Adelaide commissioned Arthur Boyd in 1967 to produce a ceramic mural for the relatively new Napier building. Instead he offered ‘The Judges’ series and they arrived from his London studio in time to be exhibited at the Festival of Arts in 1968.

Over half a century later the paintings continue to challenge and shock and are among the University’s most treasured works of art.

Don Dunstan Foundation

The Don Dunstan Foundation was established in 1999 to continue the life’s aim of Don Dunstan for a fairer society.

Don Dunstan (1926-1999) studied law at the University of Adelaide and graduated in 1948. He was also a boarder at St Mark’s College where a Master noted him as a ‘utopian socialist’.

He founded a legal practice in Norwood in 1951 and in 1953 won the State seat of Norwood. The same year he co-founded Meals On Wheels.

As Attorney-General in 1965 he appointed Roma Mitchell as Australia’s first Supreme Court judge, ended discrimination based on race or country of origin, and Australia’s and introduced Aboriginal land rights.

His term as South Australian premier during the 1970s led national reforms in equal opportunities, Aboriginal recognition, consumer rights, electoral reforms, town planning, environmental protections and the Arts.

Travel writing

Part of John Emerson’s chapter in an international collection, Reciprocity: A Celebration on the Life of Jean-Paul Delamotte. Edited by Marie Ramsland. ETT Imprint, Exile Bay NSW.


Light freely streamed in through the studio’s full-length west-facing windows that looked out onto a large open space of lawn and garden beds. An exercise book sat on a shelf with handy suggestions from past visitors for where to shop and find a coffee. There were nine boulangeries within a five-minute walk. The  kitchen was fully equipped and the cupboards full of non-perishable cooking ingredients. Books lined the shelves, many were by a publisher I was to become familiar with, La Petite Maison. Reading Jean-Paul’s Amours de rencontres, I began to learn about his and Monique’s time in Newcastle and Melbourne in the mid-1970’s, their discovery of Australian literature and culture, their daughter Guibourg and the busy cultural hub they had established so Australians and French could meet.

That first stay I also got a firsthand extended experience of the longest transport strike since 1968. All the métro lines and all the buses stopped running for six weeks. I ended up stocking up on snacks and water and walking all the way into the centre of Paris every second day to find the libraries and archives I needed. It was zero, freezing, but always welcoming to return to the warm studio with its underfloor heating.

Legal History

First page of Chapter 12 in an international collection Blackstone and his Commentaries.

CLICK the sample to enlarge it.

My assignment was to research and write from scratch an investigation into the influence of English law on the French Revolution.

I used the brand new Gallica digital archive which saved me from going to the Archives themselves in Paris.

Published with Hart, Oxford and Bloomsbury, London.

Did Blackstone get the Gallic Shrug? Screenshot

First page from Chapter 1 of John Jefferson Bray: A Vigilant Life

Published by Monash University Publishing

Foreword by Michael Kirby

“Dr Emerson wrote an outstanding biography of Bray, explaining his significance for the times in which he lived and worked. It was my privilege to write a Foreword for this biography.”

CLICK the sample to enlarge it.

First paragraphs of John Jefferson Bray biography

Let’s work together.

john [at] jjemerson.com


phone number (as in image to protect from bots)

john [at] jjemerson.com

© 2024 John Emerson. All rights reserved.