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Evadne Price Evadne Price i(A46876 works by) (a.k.a. Evadne Fletcher; Evadne Attiwill)
Also writes as: Helen Zenna Smith
Born: Established: ca. 1896 Sussex,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 17 Apr 1985 Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Female
Arrived in Australia: 1976
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The year of Evadne Price's birth is uncertain. It is variously given as 1896, 1901 and even 1905. Some sources suggest that Price was born at sea off the New South Wales coast to English parents. However, Price says she was born in Sussex, England. There is further confusion about Price's early life. Some sources place her education in schools in New South Wales, Belgium and England, but Price states in her 1977 interview with Hazel de Berg that she had never been to Australia prior to her arrival eleven months before the interview (in 1976). This statement is at odds with records that have Price playing the lead role in a Sydney production of Peter Pan in 1906.

By the time Price was fifteen, she was working as an actor in London, but ill health forced her to give up the stage for a career in writing. Her column, 'As a Woman Sees It', appeared for several years in the Sunday Chronicle, and she also contributed to the Daily Sketch. In the late 1920s the first in a series of her 'Jane Turpin' children's stories appeared in Novel Magazine, most of which proved very popular in book form. In 1929 she married the Australian journalist, Ken Attiwell (q.v.), with whom she would later collaborate on several plays.

Troubled by publisher Albert E. Marriott's suggestion that she write a spoof of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front (1929), she persuaded him to accept, instead, a realistic account of a woman's experience of the war by the pseudonymous Helen Zenna Smith. Not So Quiet . . . Stepdaughters of War was published in 1930, quickly becoming a best-seller in England and North America before being translated into many European languages. The novel's realistic scenes of war-time conditions had a significant impact on contemporary readers and it was awarded the French Prix Severigne as 'the novel most calculated to promote international peace.' The post-war story of Helen Zenna Smith continued throughout the 1930s in the sequels Women of the Aftermath (1931), Shadow Women (1932), Luxury Ladies (1933), and They Lived with Me (1934). But the first in this series had the most lasting impact, reprinted by Virago in London and the Feminist Press at the City University of New York in the late 1980s.

A prolific writer, Price was the author of many books of popular fiction for adults. She also wrote radio and television scripts as well as plays for the London stage. In the 1940s she was a war correspondent for People, entering Belsen and later interviewing Goering and covering the Nuremberg trials. After the war, she worked on television as a storyteller and for twenty-five years compiled the horoscope page for She Magazine. She continued this role in Australia, becoming the horoscope columnist for Australian Vogue.

Price died at Manly on 17 April 1985, leaving an unfinished autobiography.

Most Referenced Works


  • Margaret Murphy's Women Writers and Australia incorrectly lists Evadne Price as a pseudonym, as do COPAC and some other sources.
Last amended 29 Jul 2010 10:27:12
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