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Helen Garner

b. 1942

Helen Garner (b. 1942), author, journalist and feature writer, is one of Australia's best-known writers. Garner was a secondary school teacher before the publication of her first novel, the semi-autobiographical Monkey Grip (1977). Widely praised and winner of a national Book Council Award, it was made into a distinguished feature film released in 1982. A double novella, Honour and Other People's Children (1980), a volume of short stories, Postcards from Surfers (1985) (which won the NSW Premier's Literary Award) and the novels The Children's Bach (1984) (which won the SA Festival Award for Literature) Cosmo Cosmolino (1992), and the collection The Feel of Steel (2001) followed. Garner's fiction has strong moral themes, and since the 1990s she has pursued a variety of profound ethical questions in journal articles and non-fiction books. In 1993 she won a Walkley award for her Time magazine article about Daniel Valerio, a two-year-old who died of systematic abuse inflicted by his mother's boyfriend. Two years later her book The First Stone, exploring claims of sexual harassment at Melbourne University's Ormond College, caused a national sensation. True Stories (1997) a collection of non-fiction pieces, won the Nita B Kibble Award for women's life writing. Garner's most recent investigation of evil, conscience, grief and the law is Joe Cinque's Consolation (2004), about a young engineer murdered by his law student girlfriend in Canberra.

Updated 2018