The Green Bell: a memoir of love, madness & poetry

By Paula Keogh Affirm Press


Paula Keogh

Judges' report


Paula Keogh’s portrait of a relationship formed in spaces of dark and light is touching and insightful. Set in Canberra in 1972–73, The Green Bell is centered around the time Paula shared with the poet Michael Dransfield, following their meeting in the psychiatric ward of Canberra Hospital. It is also an important illustration of the social and cultural changes of the times, and a recent history of psychiatric care in Australia and controversial DST and ECT treatment. The present-tense narrative heightens its subject matter of poetry and pain, and evokes an immediate past, while advocating for a better future. The Green Bell is an important life story, thoughtfully told.