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Garner, Helen (1942 - )

2001 Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Born
7 November 1942
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Occupation
Journalist, Scriptwriter and Writer
Website
http://www.unimelb.edu.au/150/150people/garner.html

Summary

Helen Garner is an award-winning Australian novelist, short story writer, screenwriter and journalist. After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1965 she worked as a high school teacher. While teaching, she contributed to journals and worked in theatre. Her first novel Monkey Grip was published in 1977. It was an instant success, winning a National Book Council award in 1978 and being filmed in 1982.

Garner has successfully written both fiction and non-fiction. Considerable controversy attended the 1995 publication of The First Stone: Some Questions about Sex and Power, an examination of allegations of misconduct in a University college. In 1993, she won a Walkley award for her feature article on the sad death of a small child, Daniel Valerio.

Garner has written three scripts for Australian films: Monkey Grip (Cameron, 1982), Two Friends (Campion, 1986) and The Last Days Of Chez Nous (Armstrong, 1992). Along with her novels, short stories and journalism, these films have cast Garner as a central figure in the history of Australian film and literature.

Details

Garner was born in Geelong in 1942. She attended the Manifold Heights State School, Ocean Grove State School and The Hermitage. She graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English and French. She then worked as a high school teacher between 1966 and 1972. In 1968 she married Bill Garner and was divorced in 1971.

In 1972, Garner was fired by the Victorian Department of Education for her publications in the magazine, The Digger. Throughout the 1970s, Garner also published in the Women's Liberation journal Vashti's Voice.

Her first novel, Monkey Grip, was published in 1977. The book was very successful, winning the National Book Council Award in 1978. In 1982, garner wrote the script for the feature film Monkey Grip (Cameron, 1982). The film followed the lives of a small group of inner city people and how sex and drugs impacted their lives.

In 1980, she married Jean-Jacques Portail and divorced in 1985. She has also married and divorced Australian writer Murray Bail.

In 1986, her collection of short stories, Postcards from Surfers, won the 1986 NSW Premier's Literary Award and her novel The Children's Bach won the 1986 SA Premier's Literary Award. Also in 1986, Garner wrote the script for Two Friends (Campion, 1986).

In 1991, Garner wrote the script for the dramatic comedy The Last Days of Chez Nous (Armstrong, 1992). Produced by Jan Chapman, the film explored the relationship between two very different daughters and their father.

In 1993, her novel Cosmo Cosmolino was nominated for a Miles Franklin Award.

In 1995, her non-fiction The First Stone: Some Questions About Sex and Power, caused intense uproar amongst feminists.

Events

1993
Walkley Award (Print) - Best Feature Writing, ' Why Did Daniel Have To Die?', Time Australia
2001
Inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women
2005
Walkley Award (Literary) - Non-Fiction Book, 'Joe Cinque's Consolation', Pan Macmillan

Sources used to compile this entry: Flesch, Juliet and McPhee, Peter, 'Helen Garner (1942 - )', in University of Melbourne - 150 Years: 150 Stories (On-line edition), Flesch, Juliet and McPhee, Peter, University of Melbourne, 2002, http://www.unimelb.edu.au/150/150people/garner.html; Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (Australia) - records of the W.G. Walkley Awards, 1956 - 1999, 1956 - 1999, MLMSS 6898; Entertainment and Arts Alliance (Australia) Media; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales; http://www.walkleys.com/winners/database.html.

Related entries

Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (Australia) - records of the W.G. Walkley Awards, 1956 - 1999, 1956 - 1999, MLMSS 6898; Entertainment and Arts Alliance (Australia) Media; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Women's Redress Press - book files, 1976-1996, including correspondence, contracts, readers' reports, reviews and photographs, 1976 - 1996, MLMSS 6308/7-10; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

National Film and Sound Archive

  • Australian Film Commission: Script Laboratory: Women's Programme: Group Shot of Participants, 710346; National Film and Sound Archive. Details
  • Garner, Helen : Interviewed By Steve Stockwell, 1979, 81365; National Film and Sound Archive. Details
  • The Last Days of Chez Nous, 1991, 141129; National Film and Sound Archive. Details
  • Monkey Grip, 1982, 32455; National Film and Sound Archive. Details
  • Two Friends, 1986, 558898; National Film and Sound Archive. Details

National Library of Australia, Manuscript Section

  • Papers of Helen Garner, 1990-2005 [manuscript], 1990 - 2005, MS 9265; National Library of Australia, Manuscript Section. Details

National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection

  • Helen Garner interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection, ORAL TRC 1/1260; National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection. Details
  • Interview with Helen Garner, author [sound recording] / interviewer, Sara Dowse, ORAL TRC 5384; National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection. Details

Nikki Henningham and Hollie Aerts

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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