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Leaping into Waterfalls

The enigmatic Gillian Mears

Bernadette Brennan



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Allen & Unwin
01 October 2021
Gillian Mears appeared to many to be a shy woman from Grafton, but her lived and imaginative lives were rich with adventure, risk and often transgressive passion. In her award-winning and acclaimed novels and short stories, Mears wrote fearlessly of the dark undercurrents of country and family life, always probing the depths and complexity of human desire.

Mears' sensuality and sexuality were the driving forces of her life and writing. As an adult, she was plagued by ill health yet remained steadfast in her quest to be independent and free; while recovering from open-heart surgery, she traversed the country alone in a de-commissioned ambulance. By her mid-forties, multiple sclerosis had confined her to a wheelchair. Undaunted, she continued to write and publish until her death five years later in 2016.

Mears amassed an extensive collection of diaries, letters, manuscripts, photographs, recordings and ephemera, and deposited it with the Mitchell Library. She was a prolific correspondent with significant figures of the cultural landscape-Gerald Murnane, David Malouf, Tim Winton, Elizabeth Jolley, Helen Garner, Drusilla Modjeska, Kate Grenville and Marr Grounds. This meticulous and moving biography reads Mears' life and work within that broader cultural community to celebrate her truly extraordinary achievements and adventures.
Imprint:   Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   473g
ISBN:   9781760879785
ISBN 10:   1760879789
Pages:   360
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Bernadette Brennan is a critic and researcher of contemporary Australian writing. Her most recent award-winning work, A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work, offers a fascinating literary portrait of one of Australia's best-loved authors. Bernadette's literary criticism has been widely published in Australia and abroad. She is the recipient of the Copyright Agency's inaugural Fellowship for Non-Fiction writing and is currently one of five judges for the Miles Franklin Award.

  • Short-listed for Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction 2022 (Australia)
  • Short-listed for NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2022 (Australia)

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