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Meeting #4: Helen Garner Edition


Helen Garner’s name is synonymous with excellence and rigour in narrative non-fiction today. She’s famous for spare yet stirring prose, dark subject matter and brutal introspection (the New Yorker’s James Wood called her a ‘savage self-scrutineer’).

In our final Longform Society meeting for 2017 – and as her collections, Stories and True Stories, are republished – we’ll explore some seminal essays from this peerless figure in Australian writing.

Chime in with your own perspectives – in the room, or online (the event will be live streamed) – as our panel consider Garner’s craft, her impact and the essays that have stayed with them. Our texts include examples of her early work, and her most influential stories.

The texts:

  • ‘Killing Daniel’ (1993)
  • ‘The Art of the Dumb Question’ (1996)
  • ‘Sighs Too Deep for Words’ (2001)

(PDFs are no longer available for download.)

For regular links to the reading list, and live stream reminders, subscribe to the Longform Society’s emails below. (If you want to come along, you’ll also need to book a ticket.)


Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham AM is the author of seven books, across multiple fiction and nonfiction, children and adults and include City of Trees – Essays on life, death and the need for a forest, and Melbourne. She is also editor of the collection Fire, Flood, Plague: Australian writers respond to 2020... Read more

Bernadette Brennan

Bernadette Brennan is an academic and researcher in contemporary Australian writing, literature and ethics. She 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 (UQP 2008), and Ethical ... Read more

Chloe Hooper

Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island (2008) won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. Her latest book is The Arsonist: A Mi... Read more


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