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
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.More
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
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
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
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
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