A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work

Author(s): Bernadette Brennan


Helen Garner is one of Australia's most important, and some would say, most admired living writers. That admiration is inspired by a sense that she is honest, authentic and fearless in the pursuit of her craft. But Garner also courts controversy, not least because she refuses to be constrained by the rules of literary form. She appears to write so much of herself into her non-fiction, and many of her own experiences inform her fiction. But who is the 'I' in Helen Garner's work? Dr Bernadette Brennan has had access to previously unavailable papers in Garner's archive, and she provides a lively and rigorous reading of the books, journals and correspondence of one of Australia's most beloved women of letters.A Writing Lifeis the first full-length study of Garner's work, a literary portrait that maps Garner's writing against the different stages of her life.


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* Extract to run in a major publication such as Good Weekend & the NZ Herald * Feature review coverage guaranteed in all leading newspapers * Feature reviews in literary publications such as Australian Book Review, the Monthly, Saturday Paper and NZ's North and South * Widespread review coverage online on sites such as the Guardian, the Conversation, Booktopia, Huffington Post, the Daily Review, and Sydney's Review of Books * Radio interviews with Bernadette Brennan on ABC RN, ABC local radio programs and Radio NZ's Kim Hill plus RRR, 2SER etc * Reading copies available before publication * Budget for bookseller catalogues * Feature title in Text newsletters and website

Long-listed for The Stella Prize 2018 (Australia).


Review: 'Billed as "the first full-length study of Garner's 40 years of work, a literary portrait that maps all of her books against the different stages of her life". Well, who wouldn't want to read that?' Australian 'Brennan's depiction of Garner's fearless approach to the very difficult subjects of The First Stone, Joe Cinque's Consolation and This House of Grief is beautifully modulated and a real triumph. She has captured and interpreted an important writer and her work beautifully.' Books + Publishing 'A timely and important book. It's a critical biography, with a deft and intelligent focus on the whole body of Garner's work, but rich in biographical detail to situate the course of a writing life in the lived experience which produced it. The works are analysed meticulously, sensitively, carefully, and the reader's reward is to be granted access to a biographical context for each book which richly enhanced our understanding and appreciation of Garner's long and wonderful career...Beautifully modulated and a real triumph. She has captured and interpreted an important reader and her work beautifully.' Books + Publishing 'The New York Times journalist Richard Eder once wrote that a skilled interviewer needs "alertness to the answer that hints at a life half-hidden and stimulates a question that gets it to emerge, shake itself and look around". Brennan possess this rare talent and she proves a canny interlocutor for Garner, their conversations forming an essential and fascinating part of the book...Brennan herself writes with an eloquence and perceptiveness equal to her subject. Her tone is never overly reverential or adulatory, the close analysis of the texts is lucid and intelligent and she is not afraid to prove difficult and controversial aspects of Garner's life and work.' West Australian

Dr Bernadette Brennan is an academic and researcher in contemporary Australian writing, literature and ethics. She is the author of a number of publications, including a monograph on Brian Castro and two edited collections: Just Words?: Australian Authors Writing for Justice (UQP 2008), and Ethical Investigations: Essays on Australian Literature and Poetics (Vagabond 2008). She lives in Sydney.

General Fields

  • : 9781925498035
  • : Text Publishing Company
  • : Text Publishing Company
  • : March 2017
  • : 234mm X 153mm
  • : April 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Bernadette Brennan
  • : Paperback
  • : 417
  • : English
  • : 352