Brenda Niall

Brenda Niall reviews 'Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a lady novelist' by Anne Boyd Rioux

Brenda Niall
22 August 2016

If Constance Fenimore Woolson is remembered today, it is likely to be as a friend of Henry James, and a minor character in his much-chronicled life. Anne Boyd Rioux's ...

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Books of the Year 2015

Robert Adamson et al.
23 November 2015

Jennifer Maiden's The Fox Petition: New Poems (Giramondo) conjures foxes 'whose eyes were ghosts with pity' and foxes of language that transform the world's headlines

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Simon Caterson reviews 'Mannix' by Brenda Niall

Simon Caterson
25 March 2015

With her long-awaited life of Archbishop Daniel Mannix, Brenda Niall, one of Australia’s leading biographers, has conquered a subject that for decades she regarded as compelling yet ‘intractable’. ‘As a presence (I wouldn’t claim such a remote and magisterial being as a neighbour) Daniel Mannix was part of my childhood,’ Niall recalls. She grew up in the ... More

Penelope Fitzgerald’s Secret River of Creativity

Brenda Niall
26 February 2014

Award-winning biographer Brenda Niall welcomes the first biography of Penelope Fitzgerald by superlative British biographer Hermione Lee, and is fascinated by the great novelist’s secret river of creativity.

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Brenda Niall: 'Ettie and Nettie'

Brenda Niall
29 January 2013

It is a brilliant summer day in July 1935. The scene is a house called Green Ridges, near Hastings, Sussex. Two women, seated but not relaxed, face each other across a formal drawing room. This is the first time they have met. Nettie Palmer, Australian writer and journalist, has come to stay overnight with the novelist Henry Handel Richardson.

As novelist an ... More

Brenda Niall reviews 'University Unlimited'

Brenda Niall
24 May 2012

For a young academic in need of a job, 1964 was a lucky time. After three pioneering years with small enrolments, Monash University was bracing itself for the first big influx of postwar baby boomers. Above the flat and muddy stretches of Clayton farmland, where Wellington boots had been the footwear of choice, the first tall buildings were emerging. The Arts wing o ... More

Open Page with Brenda Niall

20 March 2012

Why do you write?

Writing has always seemed an easy, natural thing to do. But it was a long time before I thought of myself as a writer rather than an academic.

Are you a vivid dreamer?

I don’t think so. I hardly ever remember any of my dreams, so I suspect they are ... More

Brenda Niall reviews 'A Man of Parts: A Novel'

Brenda Niall
29 June 2011

Nearly seven years ago, David Lodge had the bad luck to collide with Colm Tóibín when both writers produced a novel about Henry James. Tóibín was the first to publish; his work The Master (2004) won high praise and a Booker Prize nomination. Lodge’s Author, Author (2004), trailing six months behind, suffered in the inevitable comparisons. The ... More

Brenda Niall reviews 'Blue Skies'

Brenda Niall
24 March 2011

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 enterprisin ... More