Review of Helen Garner, by Kerryn Goldsworthy, Masks, Tapestries, Journeys: Essays in Honour of Dorothy Jones, edited by Gerry Turcotte, and Reading Aboriginal Women's Autobiography, by Anne Brewster
Since its inception in 1992, the Oxford Australian Writers Series has published the literary biographies of fourteen Australian writers, five female and nine male, including David Malouf, Christina Stead, Gwen Harwood, Patrick White, Peter Carey and Judith Wright. Those authors chosen as a part of the series all seem to be a part of the ever-debated Australian literary canon. So, before even picking up the book, the question arose: Why was Helen Gamer chosen to be in the series? Kerryn Goldsworthy attempts to answer this question by claiming that Gamer 'is and has been for a decade or more, one of the biggest and best known names in Australian fiction' (17). Though that statement may indeed be true, one might question what Gamer is 'best known' for and whether the criteria used to judge how well she is known are used also to judge the popularity of writers such as Thea Astley, Jessica Anderson and Elizabeth Jolley, who have achieved success similar to or exceeding that of Gamer, but have not yet been included in the Oxford series.
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Cite as: Watson, Chris. ‘Review of Helen Garner, by Kerryn Goldsworthy, Masks, Tapestries, Journeys: Essays in Honour of Dorothy Jones, edited by Gerry Turcotte, and Reading Aboriginal Women's Autobiography, by Anne Brewster.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 18, no. 3, 1998, doi: 10.20314/als.b4c705969a.