AustLit logo
NLA image of person
Helen Garner Helen Garner i(A10495 works by)
Born: Established: 1942 Geelong, Geelong City - Geelong East area, Geelong area, Geelong - Terang - Lake Bolac area, Victoria, ;
Gender: Female
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

Works By

Preview all
1 Helen Garner: 'Is There Hope for Women and Men?' Helen Garner , 2020 single work extract
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 1 November 2020;
'In this extract from her 1987 diary, Helen Garner chronicles a tumultuous time in her life, including the beginning of an all-consuming affair'
1 The Lockdown Diaries Helen Garner , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: The Monthly , October no. 171 2020; (p. 18-23)
'A personal narrative is presented in which author shares her experience of living during lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic such as panic-buying.'
1 1 y separately published work icon One Day I'll Remember This : Diaries 1987-1995 Helen Garner , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2020 19599730 2020 single work diary

'Helen Garner’s second volume of diaries charts a tumultuous stage in her life. Beginning in 1987, as she embarks on an affair that she knows will be all-consuming, and ending in 1995 with the publication of The First Stone and the bombshell that followed it, Garner reveals the inner life of a woman in love and a great writer at work.

'With devastating honesty, she grapples with what it means for her sense of self to be so entwined with another—how to survive as an artist in a partnership that is both thrilling and uncompromising. And through it all we see the elevating, and grounding, power of work.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1 The Invisible Arrow : How Does One Stop Writing? Helen Garner , 2020 single work essay
— Appears in: Griffith Review , April no. 68 2020; (p. 10-17)
'Why did they ask me for an essay about stopping writing? And seventy-seven and I m pretty tired. And lately I think I've copped what the French call 'un coup de vieux : a blow of old. I've got arthritis in my left wrist, my right knee gives twinges, and my left foot sometimes aches and stabs all day. Other days, nothing hurts at all. i don' know what this means. I've read that when people are grieving over the dead, of someone they love they can suffer from 'shooting pains'. My dear friend in France died a few weeks ago. I knew he was going to, he was awfully sick, but when the email came and I saw the words 'died last night  it was like a punch in the chest. I didn't cry, I was numb and I still am, but for whole days I had to keep sighing and sighing as 1 went about my business, I couldn't seem to fill my lungs; and sheets of silvery pain went fleeting through me, moving in flashes up and down my limbs and in and out of my joints and across my lower back. I could only move slowly and I heard myself grunt like an old woman whenever I sat down or stood up. am an old woman. I've never written at home, because when I'm hanging round here I keep thinking up tasks, inventing housework, bargaining with my laziness: if I put on a load of washing, for example, forty minutes later I'll be allowed to get up from the desk and hang it on the line. So I've always rented an office in another suburb, a drab room without Wi-Fi where there's nothing to do.' (Introduction)
 
1 And Suddenly, There’s a Story Helen Garner , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 11 April 2020; (p. 14)
1 Diaries (2018–19) Helen Garner , 2019 single work diary
— Appears in: The Monthly , December/January no. 162 2019; (p. 66-67)
1 The Outstretched Limb Helen Garner , 2019 extract autobiography (Yellow Notebook : Diaries Volume I, 1978-1986)
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 9 November 2019; (p. 21)

'In this exclusive extract from Helen Garner’s Yellow Notebook, the diarist considers her novel Monkey Grip, Rainer Maria Rilke, Woody Allen, Apocalypse Now, ennui, love, self-disgust and hamsters.' (Introduction) 

1 My Early Diaries Filled Me with so Much Shame I Burned Them. I’m Publishing the Rest Helen Garner , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 30 October 2019;

'Revisiting a diary forces you to confront ‘ugly, foolish behaviour’, writes Helen Garner. Pulling together a book of extracts was instructive – but not easy.'

1 8 y separately published work icon Yellow Notebook : Diaries Volume I, 1978-1986 Helen Garner , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2019 17065992 2019 single work diary

'HELEN Garner has kept a diary for almost all her life. But until now, those exercise books filled with her thoughts, observations, frustrations and joys have been locked away, out of bounds, in a laundry cupboard.

'Finally, Garner has opened her diaries and invited readers into the world behind her novels and works of non-fiction. Recorded with frankness, humour and steel-sharp wit, these accounts of everyday life provide an intimate insight into the work of one of Australia’s greatest living writers.

'Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume 1, in this elegant hardback edition, spans about a decade beginning in the late 1970s just after the publication of her first novel, Monkey Grip. It will delight Garner fans and those new to her work alike.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1 How You Are When You Leave Helen Garner , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The Monthly , November no. 150 2018; (p. 20-21)

'In September a reading group at Tarrengower women’s prison chose one of my books to discuss, and invited me along to the meeting. Till then the only prison I’d ever been inside was the grim bluestone fortress of Pentridge in Coburg, 40 years ago. Minimum-security Tarrengower, in the central Victorian countryside near Maldon, is a very different story, set low in a rolling grassy landscape under a big sky, with stands of eucalypts that fluttered and winked in the sunlight of a spring afternoon.'  (Introduction)

1 A Sorry Procession Helen Garner , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: The Monthly , July no. 146 2018; (p. 22-23)

'Business is already underway when I slide in at 10 am. There’s a subdued hum. People wait alone, or shuffle about nervously in small family groups. Up on the bench the curly-headed magistrate is leaning forward on his elbows to stare at the offender before him with an expression that would cause me to cringe but bounces off this booze artist like a thrown peanut in a bar.' (Introduction)

1 The Comforters Helen Garner , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: The Monthly , May no. 144 2018; (p. 16-17)

'I couldn't work out who they were, but on days when none of them passed, I missed them: quiet middle-aged women who moved with a light tread along the corridor of the Supreme Court of Victoria, where I sat waiting for the long, sad trial I was following to resume. Sometimes one of them would pause near my bench. They never launched into taxing conversation, but merely offered me a moment of their company. I thought of them as the comforters. Once another of them brought me a spare lamington on a plate. The heavy timber door through which she disappeared was labelled “Court Network”. I wondered if I would ever have the nerve to knock on that door.' (Introduction)

1 1 Why She Broke Helen Garner , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Best Australian Essays 2017 2017; (p. 257-270)

'It happened in broad daylight, one April afternoon in 2015, while the citizens of an outer-western Melbourne suburb called Wyndham Vale were peaceably going about their business.' 

1 Helen Garner, Peter Carey and Alexis Wright on What They're Reading in November Beau Donelly , Nick Toscano , Fiona Wright , Garry Disher , Kári Gíslason , Richard Fidler , Alex Miller , Alexis Wright , A. S. Patrić , Peter Carey , Helen Garner , 2017 single work
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 22 November 2017;
1 Telling Tales Helen Garner , Peter Craven (interviewer), 2017 single work interview
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 11 November 2017; (p. 14)

'Helen Garner talks with Peter Craven about uncertainty, truth, guilt, justice and facing the music

'There’s something preposterous about Helen Garner being 75. The woman who became famous for Monkey Grip — the novel (was it?) about being with a junkie — and who a decade or so later produced that elegant novella The Children’s Bach, which compelled the admir­ation of Raymond Carver, has for the longest time been writing riveting nonfiction focused in practice on courtroom dramas and controversies. They range from The First Stone, about the Ormond­ College affair, in which a master was accused­ of abusing the girls; then to Joe Cinque’s Consol­ation, about the degree of responsibility a young woman might bear for killing her boyfriend; and more recently This House of Grief, about Robert Farquharson, found guilty of deliberately drowning his three children in his car.' (Introduction)

1 y separately published work icon True Stories : The Collected Short Non-Fiction Helen Garner , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2017 12205115 2017 selected work prose

'Helen Garner visits the morgue, and goes cruising on a Russian ship. She sees women giving birth, and gets the sack for teaching her students about sex. She attends a school dance and a gun show. She writes about dreaming, about turning fifty, and the storm caused by The First Stone. Her story on the murder of the two-year-old Daniel Valerio wins her a Walkley Award.

'Garner looks at the world with a shrewd and sympathetic eye. Her non-fiction is always passionate and compelling. True Stories is an extraordinary book, spanning fifty years of work, by one of Australia’s great writers.' (Publication summary)

1 2 y separately published work icon Stories : The Collected Short Fiction Helen Garner , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2017 11559998 2017 selected work short story

'This handsome hardback edition of Helen Garner’s collected short fiction celebrates the seventy-fifth birthday of one of Australia’s most loved authors. These stories—that delve into the complexities of love and longing, of the pain, darkness and joy of life—are all told with her characteristic sharpness of observation, honesty and humour. Each one a perfect piece, together they showcase Garner’s mastery of the form.' (Publication summary)

1 A Party Helen Garner , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: Everywhere I Look 2016; (p. 207-210)
1 Dawn Service Helen Garner , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: Everywhere I Look 2016; (p. 204-206)
1 Big Brass Bed Helen Garner , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: Everywhere I Look 2016; (p. 201-203)
X