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Lily Brett


Lily Brett was born in Germany to survivors of the Auschwitz death camp and migrated to Australia with her parents in 1948. She is an internationally acclaimed essayist, poet and novelist – Lola Bensky is her sixth novel.

Lily grew up in Melbourne. As a teenager, her ambition was to lose weight. Her idea of exercise was to ride her bicycle around in circles in her parents’ small backyard. She daydreamed her way through the high school for gifted students she attended and skipped her finals to watch Hitchcock’s Psycho. Lily persuaded her parents to send her to France where, having (inevitably) failed in her bid to be admitted to La Sorbonne, and upset that no-one understood her French, she cashed in her return airfare, bought a London taxi-cab and travelled through Europe for six months.

Returning to Australia, Lily landed a job writing for Go-Set magazine, Australia’s first music magazine, working alongside Ian Molly Meldrum, Stan Rofe and Vince Lovegrove. To this day, Lily is sure that she got job because they needed her car, a pink Valiant. From her first embarrassing moments – turning down an opportunity to interview Bob Dylan and asking the secretary to show her how to load paper into a typewriter, Lily became one of the magazines leading reporters, eventually filing stories from London, New York, Los Angeles and the Monterey Pop Festival.

During this period, Lily also appeared on Uptight, Australia’s top rating TV pop show in the 1960s. Here is a clip of The Go!! Show – with an interview (and kiss!) by Johnny Young.

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.