Helen Garner is one of Australia's most important and most admired writers. She is revered for her fearless honesty in the pursuit of her craft. An honesty that makes readers feel like they know her.

Garner also courts controversy, not least because she refuses to be constrained by the rules of literary form. She writes herself into her nonfiction, and many of her own experiences help to shape her stories and novels. 

But who is the 'I' in Helen Garner's writing?

Garner's work and life are intricately interwoven. It is not possible to understand one without the other. In this literary portrait Brennan maps Garner's books, screenplays, letters, diaries and other unpublished work, against the different stages of her life. This is the first full-length study of Garner's forty years of writing. An invaluable read for anyone wanting to appreciate Helen Garner and her work more deeply.

Interview with Sarah Kanowski Radio National Books and Arts 5 May 2017

Interview with Susan Wyndham, from 2018 Sydney Writer's Festival.

Awards for A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work

  • Longlisted for the Stella Prize 2018
  • Longlisted for the 2018 ABIA Biography Book of the Year
  • Shortlisted for the 2018 Mascara Literary Review Avant-garde Awards for non-fiction
  • Shortlisted for the Magarey Medal for Biography 2018
  • Shortlisted for the National Biography Award 2018