AWW Gen 4

Australian Women Writers Gen 4 Week 16-23 Jan. 2022

Pat Brassington. ARC One Gallery

Let us stick to the definition for Gen 4 that I gave at the end of Gen 3 Week: women who began writing in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. As I have discussed before, those who began writing in the 1960s were not Baby Boomers at all, but rather the new writers we boomers took up as we approached and entered adulthood.

You might think that the theoretical underpinning of AWW Gen 4 is Postmodernism, and that is partly true, though the postmodernist period in Art and Literature is generally dated 1970-2000. Here is one definition

Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of skepticism toward what it describes as the grand narratives and ideologies of modernism, as well as opposition to epistemic certainty and the stability of meaning.

Wiki, 7 Mar 2021

You need to understand that the professor for my course at UCQ, John Fitzsimmons, was rightly critical of my grasp of the tenets of postmodernism and all I can say is that is true too of most authors, who seemed to take to it as a fashion, or waves of fashion – including the author in the work, works about the work being written, adopting Magic Realism from South America – and not as a theoretical underpinning.

For me though, this generation is defined by the wonderful optimism of youth born into post-War prosperity which exploded into the 60s with new fashions, new music, new drugs, the Pill, Women’s Lib, the post-Communist politics of the anti-Vietnam War movement, widely available university educations, the Space race, hippies, and in Australia waves of immigration from Southern Europe which obliterated for ever our ‘white picket fence’ Anglo-centricity. And which ended a couple of decades later with the realities of earning a living, bringing up children, and in the unrestrained selfishness unleashed by the undoing of “Big Government” by Thatcher and Reagan (and Keating and Howard).

Below is a list of all the women of this generation that I could locate and the name and date of their first novel (using a Table block for the first time). As you go through note how few of them are born even as late as 1950. Novelists it seems debut mostly in their thirties and forties.

AuthorFirst WorkYear
Thea Astley (1925-2004)Girl with a Monkey1958
Nancy Cato (1917-2000)All the Rivers Run1958
Pat Flower/Bryson (1914-1977)Wax Flowers for Gloria (Crime)1958
Elizabeth O’Connor (1913-2000)The Irishman1960
Patricia Carlon (1927-2002)Circle of Fear (Crime)1961
Mena Calthorpe (1905-1996)The Dyehouse1961
Nene Gare (1919-1994)The Fringe Dwellers1961
Elizabeth Kata/Katayama (1912-1998)A Patch of Blue1961
Gwen Kelly (1922-2012)There is no Refuge1961
Nancy Phelan (1913-2008)The River and the Brook1962
Jessica Anderson (1916-2010)An Ordinary Lunacy1963
Oodgeroo Noonuccal (1920-1993)We Are Going: Poems1964
Suzanne Holly Jones (1945-Harry’s Child1964
Betty Collins (The Copper Crucible1966
Shirley Hazzard (1931-2016)The Evening of the Holiday1966
Jill Neville (1932-1997)Fall Girl1966
Neilma Gantner/Sidney (1922-2015)Beyond the Bay1966
Sue Rhodes (Now You’ll Think I’m Awful (NF)1967
Thelma Forshaw/Korting (1923-1995)An Affair of Clowns1967
Diane Cilento (1932-2011)The Manipulator1968
Lynn Foster (1913-Blow the Wind Southerly1969
Germaine Greer (1939-The Female Eunuch (NF)1970
Barbara Vernon (1916-1978)Bellbird1970
Hesba Fay Brinsmead/Hungerford (1922-2003)Longtime Passing1971
Barbara Hanrahan (1939-1991)The Scent of Eucalyptus1973
Barabara Brooks (1947-Just the Two of Us1974
Colleen McCullough (1937-2015)Tim1974
Jill Hellyer (1925-2012)Not Enough Savages1975
Anigone Kefala (1930s-The First Journey1975
Hilde Knorr (1917-2009)Shoemaker’s Children1975
Marilyn Lake (1949-A Divided Society (NF)1975
Anne Summers (1945-Damned Whores and God’s Police (NF)1975
Bobbi Sykes (1943-2010)Black Power in Australia (NF)1975
Lucy Walker (1917-?)The Runaway Girl (Romance)1975
Anne Brooksbank (1943-Mad Dog Morgan1976
Helen Hodgman (1946-Blue Skies1976
Anne Parry (1931-The Land Behind the World (YA)1976
Wendy Scarfe (1933-The Lotus Throne1976
Glen Tomasetti (1929-2003)Thoroughly Decent People1976
Christine Townend (1944-Travels with Myself1976
Carmel Bird (1940- Dimitra (SS)1976
Faith Bandler (1918-2015) (Indig.)Wacvie1977
Helen Garner (1942-Monkey Grip1977
Colleen Klein (1921-The Heart in the Casket1977
Amy Witting (1918-2001)The Visit1977
Lee Cataldi (1942-Invitation to a Marxist Lesbian Party (P)1978
Jennifer Rankin (1941-1979)Earth Hold1978
Gabrielle Carey (1959-Puberty Blues1979
Kathy Lette (1958-Puberty Blues1979
Margaret Jones (1923-The Confucius Enigma1979
Pauline Marrington (1921-A House Full of Men1979
Blanche d’Alpuget (1945-Monkeys in the Dark1980
Robyn Davidson (1950-Tracks1980
Beverley Farmer (1941-Alone1980
Beatrice Faust (1939-Women, Sex and Pornography (NF)1980
Elizabeth Jolley (1923-2007)Palomino1980
Maria Lewitt (1924-Come Spring1980
Gabrielle Lord (1946-Fortress (Crime)1980
Barbara Pepworth (1955-Early Marks1980
Dale Spender (1943-Man Made Language (NF)1980
Natalie Scott (1928-Wherever we step the land was mined1980
Leonie Sperling (1934-Coins for the Ferryman1981
Mary Gage (1940-Praise the Egg1981
Glenda Adams (1939-Games of the Strong1982
Jean Bedford (1946-Sister Kate1982
Janet Turner Hospital (1942-The Ivory Swing1982
Aviva Layton (1933-Nobody’s Daughter1982
Barbara Brooks (1947-Leaving Queensland1983
Sara Dowse (1938-West Block1983
Georgia Savage (The Tournament1983
Janine Burke (1952-Speaking1984
Dorothy Johnston (1948-Tunnel Vision1984
Valerie Kirwan (1943-Wandering1984
Amanda Lohrey (1947-The Morality of Gentlemen1984
Olga Masters (1919-Loving Daughters1984
Jennifer Rowe/Emily Rodda (1948-Something Special (Childrens)1984
Marion Campbell (1948-Lines of Flight1985
Moya Costello (1952-Kites in Jakarta1985
Stephanie Dowrick (1947-Running Backwards Over Sand1985
Kate Grenville (1950-Lillian’s Story1985
Carol Lansbury (1929-1991)Ringarra1985
Jan McKemmish (1950-2007)A Gap in the Records (Crime)1985
Gail Morgan (1953-The Promise of Rain1985
Anna Murdoch (1944-In Her Own Image1985
Margaret Barbalet (1949-Blood in the Rain1986
Nancy Corbett (1944-Floating1986
Anne Derwent (1941-Warm Bodies1986
Suzanne Falkiner (1952-Rain in the Distance1986
Jennifer Dabbs (1938-Beyond Redemption1987
Marion Halligan (1940-Self Possession1987
Judith Clarke (1943-2020)The Heroic Life of Al Capsella (YA)1988
Jill Dobson (1969-The Inheritors (YA/SF)1988
Nora Dugon (Lonely Summers (YA)1988
Lolo Houbein (1934-Walk a Barefoot Road1988
Ruby Langford (1934-2011) (Indig.)Don’t Take Your Love to Town1988
Kay Schaffer (1945-Women and the Bush (NF)1988
Renate Yates (Rural Pursuits1988

Hooton & Heseltine, Annals of Australian Literature, 2nd ed. which was my source (mostly), finishes at 1988, so no 1989. One author I deliberately left out, who wrote mostly in this period, was Barbara Jeffris whose first novel came out in 1953 and whose husband bequeathed a valuable annual award in her name for “the best novel written by an Australian author that depicts women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society.”

Quite a number of these women are listed as founding members of the Australian Society of Authors, which I found was begun in 1963, born out of an initiative by the Fellowship of Australian Writers in Sydney, which felt that it and other writers organizations were too state-oriented. The ASA administers a number of awards including the Barbara Jeffris Award above.

Reviews, alphabetically by author:

Glenda Adams, Dancing on Coral (ANZ LitLovers)

Jessica Anderson, The Commandant, (Whispering Gums)
Jessica Anderson, One of the Wattle Birds, (Whispering Gums)

Thea Astley, A Kindness Cup, 1974 (wadh) (Lou)
Thea Astley, Hunting the Wild Pineapple, 1979 (Whispering Gums)
Thea Astley, An Item from the Late News, 1990 (Whispering Gums)
Thea Astley, Reaching Tin River, 1990 (wadh)
Thea Astley, Collected Stories, 1997 (wadh)
Thea Astley, Drylands, 1999 (wadh)(Whispering Gums)
Thea Astley page, ANZLitLovers (here)
Karen Lamb, Thea Astley: Inventing her own weather (Whispering Gums)

Jean Bedford, Sister Kate (ANZ LitLovers)

Margaret Barbalet, Blood in the Rain (ANZ LitLovers)(Whispering Gums)

Carmel Bird, The Bluebird Café, 1990 (wadh)
Carmel Bird, Field of Poppies (ANZ LitLovers)
Carmel Bird, Family Skeleton (ANZ LitLovers)
Carmel Bird, Child of the Twilight (ANZ LitLovers)

Mena Calthorpe, The Dyehouse (Whispering Gums)

Patricia Carlon, The Whispering Wall (Jessica White)

Nancy Cato, All the Rivers Run (Whispering Gums)

Moya Costello, Barbara Brooks, Anna Gibbs, Rosslyn Prosser eds, Mud map: Australian Women’s Experimental Writing (ANZ LitLovers)

Sara Dowse, West Block, 1983 (wadh)(Whispering Gums)

Beverley Farmer, This Water: Five Tales (ANZ LitLovers)
Beverley Farmer, A Body of Water (ANZ LitLovers)(ANZ LitLovers)

Nene Gare, The Fringe Dwellers, 1961 (wadh)

Helen Garner, Monkey Grip, 1977, (wadh)
Helen Garner, Honour & Other People’s Children, 1980 (wadh)
Helen Garner, Cosmo Cosmolino, 1992 (wadh-1) (wadh-2)
Helen Garner, The Feel of Steel, 2001 (wadh)
Helen Garner, The Spare Room, 2008 (wadh)(ANZ LitLovers)

Kate Grenville, Sarah Thornhill (ANZ LitLovers)
Kate Grenville, Searching for the Secret River (ANZ LitLovers)
Kate Grenville, The Lieutenant (ANZ LitLovers)

Marion Halligan, Goodbye Sweetheart (ANZ LitLovers)
Marion Halligan, Valley of Grace (ANZ LitLovers)
Marion Halligan, The Hanged Man in the Garden (ANZLL/Karenlee Thompson)
Marion Halligan, Murder on the Apricot Coast (ANZ LitLovers)

Barbara Hanrahan, Where the Queens all Strayed (ANZ LitLovers)
Barbara Hanrahan, A Chelsea Girl (ANZ LitLovers)

Lyn Harwood ed., The Babe is Wise, 1987 (wadh)

Helen Hodgman, The Bad Policeman, (ANZ LitLovers)
Helen Hodgman, Blue Skies, (ANZ LitLovers)

Janet Turner Hospital, Orpheus Lost, 2007 (wadh)(Whispering Gums)(ANZLitLovers)
Janette Turner Hospital, Charades (ANZ LitLovers)
Janette Turner Hospital, Forecast: Turbulence (ANZ LitLovers)

Elizabeth Jolley, The Newspaper of Claremont Street, 1981 (wadh)
Elizabeth Jolley, Milk and Honey, 1984 (wadh)
Elizabeth Jolley, The Georges’ Wife, 1993 (wadh)
Elizabeth Jolley, Lovesong, 1997 (wadh)
Elizabeth Jolley page, ANZLitLovers (here)

Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds, What’s Wrong with Anzac? (ANZ LitLovers)

Ruby Langford Ginibi, Don’t Take Your Love to Town, 1988 (wadh)(ANZ LitLovers)

Amanda Lohrey, The Labyrinth (ANZ LitLovers)
Amanda Lohrey, The Reading Group (ANZ LitLovers)
Amanda Lohrey, A Short History of Richard Kline (ANZ LitLovers)
Amanda Lohrey, Reading Madame Bovary (ANZ LitLovers)
Amanda Lohrey, Vertigo (ANZ LitLovers)

Olga Masters, Loving Daughters (ANZ LitLovers)
Olga Masters, Amy’s Children (ANZ LitLovers)
Olga Masters, Sensational Snippets: The Home Girls (ANZ LitLovers)

Alice Nannup, When the Pelican Laughed, 1992 (wadh)

Dale Spender, Mothers of the Novel, 1986 (wadh)(Buried in Print)
Dale Spender, Writing a New World, 1988 (wadh)

Anne Summers, Damned Whores and God’s Police (ANZ LitLovers)

Amy Witting, The Visit, 1977 (ANZ LitLovers)
Amy Witting, I for Isobel, 1990 (ANZ LitLovers)
Amy Witting, Isobel on the way to the Corner Shop, 1999 (Whispering Gums)


The Australian Legend, AWW Gen 4, Postmodern? (here)
The Australian Legend, More Gen 4 Stuff (here)
The Australian Legend, Australian Women Writers Gen 4 (here)
The Australian Legend, Elizabeth Jolley, Tony Hughes-d’Aeth (here)
The Australian Legend, Louisa Lawson v Kaye Schaffer (here)

Whispering Gums, Monday Musings: Reflections of a 1970s feminist (here)
Whispering Gums, Epiphany in Harrower’s The fun of the fair (here)
Whispering Gums, Monday Musings: Jessica Anderson (here)
Whispering Gums, Favourite quotes from Thea Astley’s Coda (here)
Whispering Gums, Thea Astley, The monstrous accent on youth (here)
Whispering Gums, Favourite Writers: 3, Thea Astley (here)
Whispering Gums, Monday Musings: Nancy Cato (here)


21 thoughts on “AWW Gen 4

  1. At last I recognise some names and have even read two of the authors: Germaine Greer and Elizabeth Jolley (though not the one you list here). There is hope for me yet!


    • First novel The Lotus Throne (1976) doesn’t appear in the annals, not for ’75, ’76 or ’77, and likewise Neither Here nor There (1984). The publishers are clearly local so I’m not sure why that happened. But I’m happy to make amends.


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