Across 40 years of work, Helen Garner’s writing has been unsparing, in equal measure, of her subjects and of herself. Now, Bernadette Brennan has completed the first full-length study of Garner’s career, A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work. This literary portrait maps the writer’s life against her work, including the previously unavailable National Library of Australia archive of her personal papers. Bernadette talks to Susan Wyndham about scrutinising the life of the sharpest self-scrutiniser. 

Bernadette Brennan (Australian)

Bernadette Brennan is an academic and researcher in contemporary Australian writing. She is particularly interested in the relationship between literature and ethics. Bernadette is the author of a number of publications, including a monograph on Brian Castro and two edited collections: Just Words?: Australian Authors Writing for Justice and Ethical Investigations: Essays on Australian Literature and Poetics. Her most recent publication is A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work.

Susan Wyndham (Australian)

Susan Wyndham

Susan Wyndham is the former literary editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, now a freelance journalist, book reviewer, events moderator and a judge for the 2019 Prine Minister’s Literary Awards. She is the author of Life In His Hands, and editor of My Mother, My Father: on losing a parent, and a contributor to several other books.