Piano Lessons by Anna Goldsworthy

First Published 2009 by Black Inc.

piano lessons

There is a little game I like to play as I drive through Adelaide’s most leafy suburbs: how would my life have turned out had it begun here instead of modest Modbury with its 3-bedroom houses from the seventies? What would I be doing now, who would I have married, where would I be living, what holidays would I be taking? And I noticed that whilst reading Piano Lessons I was playing the same game; where would I be if I had had the Goldsworthys for parents instead of the Kramers? Would I be where Anna Goldsworthy is now instead of struggling on with the writing while raising four kids on my own and doing a bit of cleaning on the side?

Oddly enough, I never play this kind of game when driving through Adelaide’s rough parts. In the same way as I am not drawn to reading so called ‘inspirational’ memoirs where the author has survived a childhood of abuse, mentally ill parents and the like. But this was a book that ticked all my boxes, and I went back and read it all over again a year or so later.

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A Writing Life by Giulia Giuffré

First published 1990 by Allen & Unwin

A writing life

This is a book which every female Australian writer should own a copy of. I should dearly love one and must track one down.

I first discovered it in a library in 2004 and brought it home because Nancy Cato was in it. But through this book I discovered a whole generation of Australian women writers who are no longer with us, and I thank God that  Giulia Giuffré was able to interview them before they passed away.

As Giuffré says in her introduction, “I embarked on this project because I was curious about the women writers of Australia, especially the older ones, whose careers spanned most of the decades of the twentieth century… Many of these writers had known Miles Franklin and Katharine Susanna Prichard.” Some of these authors had their books reviewed by Miles Franklin in her diaries; Christina Stead, Eleanor Dark, Marjorie Barnard, Kylie Tennant, and others flitted in and out of the diaries.

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