A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work

By Bernadette Brennan Text Publishing


Bernadette Brennan

Judges' report


This is a literary portrait of one our most important living writers. Bernadette Brennan has had access to previously unavailable papers, as well as to Helen Garner’s journals and correspondence. Various family, friends and colleagues shared their insights with Bernadette to create a vibrant picture of a woman working and struggling to be a writer and, more importantly, to be true to herself. It is a companion to the great and varied body of Garner’s work encompassing as it does forty years of fiction, nonfiction, short stories and essays. A Writing Life is also a history of our time, and an invitation to discover the works of this sometimes-controversial author. Neither literary criticism nor biography it’s a compassionate but honest exploration of the many internal and external forces that have influenced Garner’s oeuvre; an author who seeks to understand herself and her relationships primarily through her work. In this book the reader is invited into Helen Garner’s world of writing, reading and ideas. With a style that is clear and elegant, Bernadette Brennan has crafted an immensely thought-provoking and enjoyable book.