DR Janie Conway-Herron came to the halls of academe through some interesting pathways - music, theatre, human rights activism and advocacy for Indigenous peoples.
Now she's retiring after 16 years as a senior lecturer in creative writing at Southern Cross University, to devote more time to... creative writing.
Her own stuff.
Janie gave her last lecture to her first-year SCU students last week. She called it "Full Circle: Activism, Creativity and Academia".
"I've experienced the many ways in which a personal activism and creativity, when combined with an academic career, can be both fruitful and fraught," she told her students.
From a family with a fine musical heritage, including two operatic uncles and a bandleader grandfather, Janie's brothers have also made their mark on the Australian music scene. Jim Conway was the harmonica player for the Backsliders for many years and then there's Mic Conway of Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band fame. Janie, in her former life as a singer songwriter, was one of the first Australian women to play electric guitar in a rock band.
"I was in Sydney with my son Tamlin, not making any money, and realised it was time to get a proper job," she told The Echo.
"So I enrolled in uni as a mature-age student and found I was so inspired by being in a world of creative ideas.
"It helped me to focus my political energy, too, and my passion for human rights and Indigenous issues.
"I went on to do a Masters degree, and then when I got a scholarship, I came to the Northern Rivers to write my PhD."
Since 2004, Janie has travelled regularly to the Thai/Burma border to run creative writing workshops with Burmese women refugees.
They are women from various Indigenous groups, from areas that used to be independent kingdoms, who have made it out of Burma but still stay near the border of their homeland.
"There's a network of people and organisations there, just waiting for the right moment to go back into Burma," Janie said.
Their extraordinary stories of courage and resilience, written in some cases at risk of their lives, are collected and published in anthologies.
Janie refers to a phrase used by Melbourne writer Arnold Zable - "the healing power of story" - to explain the effect that writing their stories has on the refugee women.
"When people tell their story, they come to feel they have control over it - that's part of the healing," she explained.
"Then when the stories get out, more people know of them and that draws in more healing energy too.
"We're hoping Aung San Suu Kyi will write the foreword for the next anthology."
Janie published her first book, Beneath the Grace of Clouds, in 2010.
"It dealt with issues of belonging, and family history," she said.
"I've always been involved with Indigenous and human rights issues. For my next book, I've been to the UK for a sequel and set up connection with Romany groups."
Janie was part of the Rock Against Racism movement in the 1980s, which had a strong Indigenous focus.
Now she's working on a new novel, tentatively titled Spotlighting.
Though she has given her last lecture, Janie said she will continue to write new units for a "new-look writing program for 2013" until the end of this year.
"Last year a friend of mine died. She had been writing a book, but she died before it was finished.
"That's what made me decide I had to turn full circle, go back to what I loved, and finish another book."