Q&A with Helen Garner

Q&A with Helen Garner, author of This House of Grief, shortlisted for the 2015 ABIA General Non-Fiction Book of the Year


How did the idea to write your book originate?


I saw something terrible on the TV news and had a strong urge to find out more about it


What’s your favourite thing about being a published author?


Having readers; and finding the struggle was worth it.


What are some of the things you love about Australian bookstores?


The way booksellers use their imaginations when they talk to customers about what might interest them.


What’s the most recent Australian book that you read and loved?


Kate Grenville’s book about her mother, One Life.


If you could meet any Australian author, dead or alive, who would you like to meet?


I’d like to meet John Bryson again (author of Evil Angels, a wonderful non-fiction book about Lindy Chamberlain and the outrageous way she was treated after her baby daughter was taken by a dingo at Uluru): I’d like to thank him for some very useful advice about writing non-fiction that he gave me in 1993.


What Australian book had the biggest impact on you as a child?


Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs; I still find it brilliant today.


After readers have finished reading your book, which Australian book would you recommend they read next?


Joan London’s novel The Golden Age; it’s beautiful and fresh, full of real feeling that is never sentimental.

This House of Grief