Also writes as: M. Barnard Eldershaw
Born: Established: 16 Aug 1897 Ashfield ; Died: 8 May 1987 Point Clare
Marjorie Barnard was born and educated in Sydney, graduating from the University of Sydney in 1920 with first-class honours in history. While at university, she met Flora Eldershaw, with whom she would collaborate, as 'M. Barnard Eldershaw', on five novels, three histories, short stories, and a significant number of essays between 1929 and 1947. Barnard worked as a librarian at Sydney Technical College until 1935, when she resigned to write full time. Apart from her return to librarianship at the CSIRO between 1942-1950, she continued to write full time for the rest of her writing life.
The most admired novels from her collaboration with Flora Eldershaw are A House is Built, which won the first Bulletin Novel Competition in 1928 and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1947). The former is a historical novel set in nineteenth-century Sydney and the latter, an anti-utopian novel, connects one day in the twenty-fourth century with several decades in twentieth-century Australia, telling the story of Australia's destruction. In the 1980s, the 1947 novel was edited and much material restored under the title Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1983). Barnard's own writing included novels, histories, and a substantial critical study of Miles Franklin. In 1945, Barnard joined Franklin, Mary Gilmore, and Eleanor Dark as a foundation member of the Australian Book Society. As a literary critic, she contributed many articles to Meanjin and Southerly in the 1950s and 1960s and was one of the first to substantially comment on the works of Patrick White.
Barnard received a number of awards and honours, including an AO, the Patrick White Literary Award in 1983, and an honorary D. Litt from the University of Sydney in 1986. She died in 1987.