With its witty cover, showing an overturned pram, Blue Skies places itself in the era of The Female Eunuch (1971) and adds a Gothic horror touch. Written by expatriate Australian author Helen Hodgman, and published to critical acclaim and literary awards in London in 1976, Blue Skies has been rediscovered by Text Publishing’s enterprising sleuths. As with the similarly reclaimed novels of Madeleine St John, The Women in Black and The Essence of the Thing, this is a good find.
Brenda Niall’s writing career began during her time as an academic at Monash University, where she was Reader in the Department of English. Since 1995 she has been writing full time. Her books include award-winning biographies Martin Boyd: A Life (1988), Georgiana (1995), The Boyds (2002), Judy Cassab (2005), and a memoir, Life Class (2007). Her book The Riddle of Father Hackett was shortlisted for the 2010 Magarey Medal for Biography. She is a frequent reviewer for The Age and ABR, and has been a guest at the Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Byron Bay literary festivals. In 2004 she was awarded an AO for services to Australian Literature. Her most recent books are Can You Hear the Sea? My grandmother's story (2018) and Friends and Rivals: Ethel Turner, Barbara Baynton, Henry Handel Richardson and Nettie Palmer (2020).
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September 2016, no. 384
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