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Broadside: Helen Garner

Listen to Broadside: Helen Garner

'I just threw out all ideas of inspiration years ago. It's all just noticing. You've got to walk around the world looking at things and listening and paying attention.'

In the words of one critic 'to read Helen Garner is to discover what might be her defining characteristic: awakeness and aliveness to the thingness of things'. Garner, a national treasure, has now spent almost half a century showing us who we are and how it is. And she has sharpened this singular style — her humour, sense of the absurd and incisive observation – over a lifetime of writing diaries. 

Photograph of Sarah Krasnostein and Helen Garner on stage

Sarah Krasnostein, left, and Helen Garner — Photo: Hannah Koelmeyer

To coincide with the publication of Yellow Notebook, Diaries Volume I: 1978–1987, Garner shares with us the pages that offer a glimpse into the honing and shaping of a craft. Beginning in the 1970s just after the publication of her first novel, Monkey Grip, the book offers a unique insight into how decades of privately shaped internal dialogue creates a voice, and makes a writer.

In conversation with Sarah Krasnostein, Garner discusses the logic of writing, redacting and publishing one's diaries – as well as reflecting on creativity, the emotionally loaded space of hospitals and courtrooms, the architecture of sentences and her fascination with strangers.


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