Excavating a Bonanza: Sarah Campion


Sarah Campion, an ardent traveller, spent several months in Sydney and in North Queensland in 1939. Many of her experiences and observations in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand are reflected in her novels. Aiming ‘to set a shaky biographical record as straight as possible’, Lawson presents an overview of Campion’s life, travels and forming influences. Her findings are based on her own research as well as on personal interviews with the author in New Zealand and on ‘life chronologies’ Campion sent her before her death. Discussing Campion’s fiction, Lawson focuses on the writer’s ‘Australian’ novels : the Burdekin trilogy. She argues that the trilogy makes up a ‘significant Australian classic’, and that Dr. Golightly is ‘a masterpiece of crime fiction’. ‘As soon as the present long drought in scholarly and heritage publishing breaks, all those who care for literature should move to bring Campion’s exhilarating fiction—all lost works of excellence—back to the lives of Australian readers’ (360).

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Published 1 May 2004 in Volume 21 No. 3. Subjects: Critical reception, Writer's recognition & popularity, Writer's world.

Cite as: Lawson, Elizabeth. ‘Excavating a Bonanza: Sarah Campion.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 21, no. 3, 2004, doi: 10.20314/als.552fc3014b.