Judy Osborne

Memoirs of an Anzac, cover image
Memoirs of an Anzac, cover image
Against his mother’s wishes, John Charles Barrie joined the Australian army in 1909. Five years later, he was on his way to Egypt as an officer with the Australian Imperial Force. He survived the war to write his memoirs, which were kept by his family for 80 years.

Made public for the first time, this book gives first-hand accounts of Barrie’s wounding at Gallipoli on that fateful first Anzac Day, his recuperation in England, and the friendships he made there. It chronicles his escape from rehab so that he could return to the war in France, and his fighting for days on end, waist-deep in mud in the trenches.

Memoirs of an Anzac tells of the horrors of war, but it is also lightened with the good humour that resulted from thousands of young Australian men being thrown together in dire circumstances.

This is not a history textbook, nor is it a series of diary notes and letters — it is a gut-wrenching, heart-warming true story that will move you. This very personal memoir has been made available by John Barrie’s grand-daughter, Judy Osborne, and Introduced and Annotated by Ross McMullin.

Amanda Webster

webster-tear-cvr Born into privilege and wealth, Amanda Webster is a sixth generation Australian descended from white settlers and the third generation to grow up in Kalgoorlie. When she turned five Amanda started school and became friends with Aboriginal children fromthe nearby Kurrawang Mission. At that time the lives of the Aboriginal people were controlled by the Chief Protector and his local representatives, one of whom was Webster’s very own grandfather.

Forty years later, Webster returns to her hometown. She confronts her racist blunders, her cultural ignorance and her family’s secret past. And so begins her journey of reconcilication and friendship, taking her into a world she hardly knew existed.

A Tear in the Soul is a frank, beautifully written account of Webster’s personal journey towards the relisation that she, like generations of Australians, grew up with a distorted and idealised version of the past.

Do boys get anorexia? People were often surprised when Amanda Webster told them her son Riche was not just a bit too skinny, but dangerously ill.

Then they would ask, ‘How did he get it?’
That was the question Amanda asked herself. She had trained as a doctor. She knew that every disease has a cause. And if her eleven-year-old son had an eating disorder, surely the cause must be something she and her husband Kevin had done — or failed to do?


Amanda Webster grew up in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. She graduated from the University of Western Australia as a doctor, but left medicine to raise a family with her husband. Amanda turned to writing after her son’s illness; subsequently her work has appeared in several US literary journals. Amanda lives in Sydney with her husband and two of her three children.

Amanda Webster, photo Karl Schwerdtfeger

World rights: Text Publishing

Susan Swingler

The House of Fiction:
Leonard, Susan and Elizabeth Jolley

One daughter, two wives, and the man they all loved…
The House of Fiction is a memoir about a daughter’s quest for her absent father. It sheds a new and surprising light on one of Australia’s most important writers — and the complex fabrications Elizabeth Jolley weaved in her personal life across time.


Photo, right:
Leonard Jolley and
Monica Knight
(later Elizabeth Jolley),
late 1930s-early 1940s.

Susan Swingler was born in Birmingham, UK, and lives in rural Gloucestershire. Her jobs have ranged from freelance photographer to gardener, university lecturer to curator and researcher. She and her husband travel widely and have made regular visits to Australia since the late 1970s.

Andrew Riemer


A scholar, essayist and cultural journalist, Andrew was born in Budapest and arrived in Australia in 1947. In his latest book, Between the Fish and the Mudcake, he reminisces on writers, books, food, music and places.

The first volume of his memoirs, Inside Outside — Life Between Two Worlds, won the NSW Ethnic Affairs Commission Prize in 1992. This was followed by The Habsburg Café (1992); America with Subtitles (1995); and Sandstone Gothic (1998).

Andrew’s biography of Robert Hughes, Hughes: End of Modernism, was published by Duffy and Snellgrove in 2001.

He has recently turned to the translation of French literature. His translation of Ce Que Racontait by Catherine Rey was published by Giramondo.

A new non-fiction title, My Family’s History of Smoking, was published by Melbourne University Press in 2008.

Shirley Painter

When Shirley Painter’s first book was published, she was 83 years old. She was lucky to get that far: when she was four years old, she was so badly injured she was pronounced dead and taken to the morgue. The man who had beaten her almost to death was her father.

The Bean Patch is the story of how a young girl survived growing up in a volatile household in the 1920s and 1930s; how school, and later university, became her escape route from a family filled with secrets and violence.

It is also the story of how, as a mature woman and a mother herself, she came face to face with what happened to her as a child — how she found the strength to drag her terrible and long-buried memories into the light in order to move on.

Beautifully written, this is a disturbing, compelling and ultimately inspirational story.

Rights sold: Australia/New Zealand (HarperCollins Australia, Sept. 2002)

Mary Moody

moody-sweet-cvrMary’s latest memoir, Sweet Surrender, was released in May 2009. Surrendering… to the process of ageing, to the pull of family, the influence of her parents, her husband and children who have shaped the person she now is.
Rights sold: Australia/New Zealand (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Prior work

Over a decade ago, Mary left her family and her busy Australian life behind for a  six month break away from it all in France, buying a dilapitated house in the small village of Frayssinet-le-Gélat in the Lot region. She turned the experience into a personal memoir titled Au Revoir which was released in 2001 by Pan Macmillan.

Mary and her husband David had lived in a beautiful old house in the Blue Mountains for over twenty years. Returning to Australia, she realised that farming was one thing she had always wanted to do. She and David discovered Yetholme, a beautiful old Federation house set on 28 acres near Orange, some 500 kilometers to the west of Sydney, and saw the potential to set up a French-style farm complete with potager garden and goose and duck breeding. So that took care of Australia.

But there was still France, with memories of wonderful times she’d had and a house waiting to be renovated. And a sister that she had not seen for over thirty  years who has come back into her life as a result of the publication of Au Revoir.

What resulted was the best-selling Last Tango in Toulouse, a moving, tender and at times hilarious account of farming and houses, marriage, lovers, and glorious, glorious food, and then the final part of her memoir, Long Hot Summer, which was released in  2005.

This was followed by a beautifully photo-illustrated book titled Lunch at Madame Murat’s (Pan Macmillan), a celebration of the local restaurant managed by Madame Murat in Frayssinet-le-Gélat.

Mary Moody is a prolific and popular gardening author, memoirist and television presenter.

Catriona Menzies-Pike: The Long Run

No one ever expected Catriona Menzies-Pike to run a marathon. She hated running, and was a hopeless athlete. When she was twenty her parents died suddenly — and for a decade she was stuck. She started running on a whim, and finally her grief started to move too.

Until very recently, it was frowned upon for women to run long distances. Running was deemed unladylike — and probably dangerous. How did women’s running go from being suspect to wildly popular? How does a high school klutz become a marathon runner? This fascinating book combines memoir and cultural history to explore the rich and contradictory topic of women and running.

Anne Gorman: The Country Wife

gorman-wife-cvrIn the tradition of Sara Henderson’s From Strength to Strength, comes a powerful true story of heartbreak and triumph.

When she is five, Anne Gorman’s family disintegrates. After thirteen pregnancies and the death of two children, her devout Catholic mother has a breakdown and Anne and her younger sisters are placed in a convent. Struggling to survive a childhood marred by fear and uncertainty, Anne sees education as her lifeline to freedom. After graduating from university, she’s set to take on the world.

But her plans come unstuck when she falls in love. Marrying a farmer and becoming a mother of five was a life she never imagined. Yet in this alien landscape she finds love and a sense of belonging. When her husband becomes gravely ill, Anne has to find the courage to keep the farm and her family afloat.

Against a backdrop of dramatic historic change, from the shadow of war to the rise of feminism, an uncertain young girl grows into a woman of substance.

Here’s part of a recent review of the book:

The Country Wife, Anne Gorman, tells a great Australian story; by Shaunagh O’Connor
in The Weekly Times, March 04, 2015 12:00AM

OF all the life stories ever written down in homes across Australia, it takes a special one to catch the eye of a publisher. Anne Gorman’s memoir is one of the lucky ones to reach publication and The Country Wife is a story worth sharing.

Gorman, born in 1934, doesn’t tell of fame, fortune or outrageous misfortune but rather a simple life story of the joys and hardships that are part of the human condition and how she navigated them. Born the 11th child of a loving and comfortable family of 13 siblings in Sydney, Gorman’s childhood world fell apart when she went away to a convent boarding school at the age of five after the breakdown of her mother, who had experienced the death of two of those children.

Gorman was rescued from the regimented, loveless institution after her mother’s recovery, but at the same time experienced the death of her beloved father.

Gorman writes honestly and thoughtfully of life during World War II and being evacuated to the Blue Mountains to escape the Japanese invasion of Sydney. She tells of repeated sexual assault at the hands of her teenage brother six years older than her, and of her inability to tell anyone what was happening, of studying social work at university where she graduated as a social worker and then a meeting with a farmer in his 30s, Bruce Gorman, from Yerong Creek, south of Wagga Wagga. The Gorman romance led to marriage, five children, a life on the family property and involvement in all aspects of rural community life.

When her husband is diagnosed with stomach cancer she enters the realm of carer and the roller-coaster of hope offered by second opinions and drugs and the despair of a progressive illness.

After Bruce’s death Gorman decides it is up to her to continue work on the farm while raising her children, all still at school. A worthy tale of city girl turned accomplished country resident.


Michelle Dicinoski

dicinoski-michelle-2012Michelle has found the love of her life — and now she just wants to get married and live happily ever after.

The only problem is, she’s in love with an American woman, Heather, and neither Australia nor America recognises same-sex marriage. What to do? For Michelle, the answer is clear: go to Canada and get hitched there.

This is the deep, funny, heartwarming and brave story of that trip. Along the way, Michelle reflects on why anyone would want to get married anyway, on the power of acceptance, and on the startling ghost stories in her family.

World Rights: Black Inc, 2013

Michelle Dicinoski writes non-fiction and poetry. Her second book, Ghost Wife: A Memoir of Love and Defiance, was published by Black Inc. in March 2013. Her poetry collection Electricity for Beginners was published in 2011. Her poems and essays have appeared in anthologies, newspapers and journals including the The Best Australian Poems, The Australian, and Meanjin.

Michelle has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Queensland, and received a Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship for 2012-2013. She lives in Melbourne.