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Issue Details: First known date: 2001... 2001 Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

From the correspondence between Cusack, James and Franklin across the years 1928 to the death of Franklin in 1954, Yarn Spinners: A Story in Letters has been shaped by a process of selection, editing, weaving and providing narrative links in order to develop a continuous narrative of the friendship, collaborations and inter-related lives of these three Australian women writers. The Prologue gives a biographical overview of each of their lives. Each of the five narrative Parts is briefly prefaced with its socio-historical context.

Part I:1928-1935 sets up the Cusack-James relationship as they write to each other as young women graduates: Cusack is teaching in remote rural NSW schools whilst James does the Grand Tour of Europe, finally settling down in London where she marries in 1933.

Part II :1938-39 establishes the friendship of Cusack and Franklin which develops during their collaboration on the scandalous sesqui-centennial satire Pioneers on Parade. In Part III:1945-47, Cusack and James, both burnt out at the end of WWII, set up a writing retreat in the Blue Mountains and collaborate on their prizewinning bestseller expose of wartime Sydney, Come In Spinner.

In Part IV: 1947-49, James returns to London and Cusack follows through the revisions demanded by the Daily Telegraph before they will award the thousand pounds prize money. Cusack is also researching her "tuberculosis novel" Say No To Death. All That Swagger is published by Angus & Robertson whilst Franklin endures her nephew's war neurosis and makes her final Will, providing for an annual [Miles] Franklin Award. In mid-1949 Cusack leaves for Europe.

In Part V:1950-55 the Cusack-Franklin-James friendships are now essentially carried through their correspondence; Come In Spinner is published to press acclaim in London, with Cusack's Say No To Death, Southern Steel and Caddie following in quick succession. Angus & Robertson finally began publishing the "Brent of Bin Bin" series. James, now divorced, rearing two daughters, begins work with London publisher Constable & Co as a reader and talent scout for Australian writers. Franklin and Cusack's friendship provides the emotional fulcrum for this final Part.

The Chronology (1879-2001) provides the facts of the lives and works; the Biographical Notes provide an inventory of most of the cast of characters who appear in the letters.

Notes

  • Dedication:

    For my mother

    Evadne Joyce (Checklin) North

    and David Richard Warring

    sine qua non

    In memory of Jim McGrath

    "A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • St Lucia, Indooroopilly - St Lucia area, Brisbane - North West, Brisbane, Queensland,: University of Queensland Press , 2001 .
      image of person or book cover 1479902706348089609.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: xi, 441p.p.
      Description: illus., ports., bibl.
      Note/s:
      • Includes chronology of authors' lives (pp.379-397) and biographical notes (pp.398-420)
      ISBN: 0702231924
    • Blackheath, Blue Mountains, Sydney, New South Wales,: Brandl and Schlesinger , 2017 .
      image of person or book cover 866858567063013028.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 566p.
      Edition info: 2nd edition
      Description: illus. (b & w)
      Note/s:
      • Published February 2017

        Includes bibliographical references (pages 505-515) and index.

      ISBN: 9780994429605, 9780994429728

Works about this Work

Fresh Spin on Women of Letters Peter Pierce , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 17 February 2018; (p. 18)

— Review of Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin Dymphna Cusack , Miles Franklin , Florence James , 2001 anthology correspondence biography

'The long subtitle of Marilla North’s entertaining revision of her book Yarn Spinners (first published in 2001) declares this to be 'A story of friendship, politics and a shared commitment to a distinctive Australian literature, woven through the letters of Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin and their congenials'.' (Introduction)

[Review] Yarn Spinners Elizabeth Webby , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 77 no. 1 2017; (p. 236-240)

— Review of Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin Dymphna Cusack , Miles Franklin , Florence James , 2001 anthology correspondence biography

'Yarn Spinners was first published by the University of Queensland Press in 2001 with the much shorter subtitle of ' A Story of Letters'. Coming after over a decade of increased attention to the lives and work of Austrlai's earlier women writers, thanks to the impact of femenist literary history and criticism, it was perhaps less necessary then to spell out just what the story was about. In epilogue Marilla North noted some ofthe fruits of the revival of interest in cusack work. Her play Morning Sacrifice (1943) was about to be produced by the Sydney Theatre Company and there was to be a reprint of her novel Say No to Death (1951). During the 1988 Bicentenary there had been reprints of the novels she wrote with Miles Franklin, Pioneers on Parade (1939), and Florence James, Come in Spinner (1951). Many of the letters in Yarn Spinners relate to the writing and publication of these two jointly- authored works. Today, while some of Cusack's novels can be ordered from Allen and Unwin as print on demand titles, they are not readliy available in bookshops, and she has been largley forgotten again.' (Introduction)

Lives and Letters Barbara Garlick , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: Overland , Winter no. 171 2003; (p. 92-95)

— Review of A Certain Style : Beatrice Davis, A Literary Life Jacqueline Kent , 2001 single work biography ; A Steady Storm of Correspondence : Selected Letters of Gwen Harwood : 1943-1995 Gwen Harwood , 2001 selected work correspondence ; Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin Dymphna Cusack , Miles Franklin , Florence James , 2001 anthology correspondence biography ; Memories of an Australian Childhood, 1880-1900 Amie Livingstone Stirling , 1980 single work autobiography ; A Wealth of Women : Australian Women's Lives from 1788 to the Present Prue Torney-Parlicki , Alison Alexander , 2001 single work biography
Weaving a Conversation Jacqueline Kent , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , October no. 235 2001; (p. 50-51)

— Review of Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin Dymphna Cusack , Miles Franklin , Florence James , 2001 anthology correspondence biography
Untitled Michele McFarland , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: JAS Review of Books , no. 2 2001;

— Review of Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin Dymphna Cusack , Miles Franklin , Florence James , 2001 anthology correspondence biography
Lives and Letters Barbara Garlick , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: Overland , Winter no. 171 2003; (p. 92-95)

— Review of A Certain Style : Beatrice Davis, A Literary Life Jacqueline Kent , 2001 single work biography ; A Steady Storm of Correspondence : Selected Letters of Gwen Harwood : 1943-1995 Gwen Harwood , 2001 selected work correspondence ; Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin Dymphna Cusack , Miles Franklin , Florence James , 2001 anthology correspondence biography ; Memories of an Australian Childhood, 1880-1900 Amie Livingstone Stirling , 1980 single work autobiography ; A Wealth of Women : Australian Women's Lives from 1788 to the Present Prue Torney-Parlicki , Alison Alexander , 2001 single work biography
Yarn Spinners Carole Ferrier , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 18 August 2001; (p. 6)

— Review of Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin Dymphna Cusack , Miles Franklin , Florence James , 2001 anthology correspondence biography
Women Who Shaped an Era Patricia Clarke , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 8 September 2001; (p. 17)

— Review of Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin Dymphna Cusack , Miles Franklin , Florence James , 2001 anthology correspondence biography
The Complexities of Female Friendship Maryanne Dever , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Women's Book Review , vol. 13 no. 1 2001;

— Review of Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin Dymphna Cusack , Miles Franklin , Florence James , 2001 anthology correspondence biography ; Passionate Friends : Mary Fullerton, Mabel Singleton, and Miles Franklin Sylvia Martin , 2001 single work biography
Three Out of the Pack Barry Oakley , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 29-30 September 2001; (p. 8-9)

— Review of Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin Dymphna Cusack , Miles Franklin , Florence James , 2001 anthology correspondence biography
Yarn Spinners Carole Ferrier , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 18 August 2001; (p. 6)

— Review of Yarn Spinners : A Story in Letters : Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin Dymphna Cusack , Miles Franklin , Florence James , 2001 anthology correspondence biography
Last amended 12 May 2017 17:13:55
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