Forthcoming in 2018: Girls at the Piano
Girls at the Piano is a literary romp through the history of the piano, viewed from the perspective of some historical and fictional women who sat at the instrument over the course of its history. The book also traces my own ambivalent relationship to the instrument and investigates the mystery of my musical grandmother Alice, who gave up a blossoming professional life in music in Scotland to migrate to Australia in 1921. Allen & Unwin will publish the book in early 2018.
Airmail: Women of Letters (2015)
I am proud to have an essay in the international Airmail: Women of Letters anthology, the third collection from the successful Women of Letters events series. My letter, to ‘the person I misjudged’, is addressed to my grandmother Alice – whose story forms a large part of Girls at the Piano. I first read the essay at the Housing Works Bookstore in New York in 2013.
The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement (2008)
“This tender, funny and sometimes achingly painful book is not a book about death. It is a book about life. And, above all, a book about love.” – Lily Brett
“A quite remarkable memoir from an unusually talented Australian writer” – Stephanie Dowrick
“This book is both profound and universal. It is a truly remarkable piece of writing, which should be read by everyone who wants to understand the mysteries of love and death.” – Sydney Morning Herald
Single at 32, married at 33, and widowed at 34.
A young professional woman finally meets the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with, only to discover that he is terminally ill. After her beloved John’s death from cancer, Virginia was faced with addressing the chronic rising damp problem in the house they had shared and, over her first year as a young widow, her house had to dry from the inside out – and so did Virginia. The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement is a wry and touching love story that plays with the parallels between our homes and ourselves.
Book clubs / reading groups: Here are some useful questions to assist bookclub discussions.
Now available as an e-book!
Here’s an academic article considering memoirs of bereavement, focusing on my Young Widows Book and When It Rains by Maggie McKellar, written by University of Sydney professor Bernadette Brennan.