Memoirs are powerful ways to tell very personal stories. We love those that inspire thoughtful discussion, convey ideas and give us an insight into the author’s life.

Here’s just a few of our favourites from Australian authors.

Say HelloSay Hello – Carly Findlay

In this thought-provoking work, Findlay will challenge all your assumptions and beliefs about what it is like to have a visibly different appearance. Carly lives with a rare skin condition, Ichthyosis. The challenges she encounters every day, and what she has to live with, will have you cheering for her and her courage and irrepressible spirit. Her continued advocacy for others who face adversity is inspiring.

This is an honest and moving account on appearance diversity.

Eggshell SkullEggshell Skull – Bri Lee

The eggshell skull doctrine determines that a defendant must take their victim as they find them. In this moving memoir, Lee explores whether this can work both ways. As she journeys through the Australian legal system, as the daughter of a policeman, as a law student, and finally as a judge’s associate in metropolitan and regional Queensland, she discovers that justice can look very different, especially for women. The shocking injustice she witnesses every day finally force her to confront her own personal history, one she’d vowed she’d never tell. And this is how, after years of struggle, she found herself on the other side of the courtroom, telling her story.

A haunting and insightful look into how victims struggle for justice in the legal system.

The Tears of StrangersThe Tears of Strangers – Stan Grant [B1681]

Grant recounts the story of the Wiradjuri people of New South Wales and the landowning Grants, descendants of an Irish rebel. White as well as black, he has ultimately to reconcile that he is descended from the oppressors as well as the oppressed and his personal success has removed him from the violence, alcoholism and despair experienced by many of his cousins. A story not only about Grant’s family, but also detailing the continued struggles of the Wiradjuri people and the social and political changes over the last forty years.

A heartfelt read about identity and survival.

Unconditional LoveUnconditional Love – Jocelyn Moorhouse

Moorhouse has had a successful career as a gifted scriptwriter and film director, while also balancing her marriage and four children. From a young age, she knew she wanted to work in film. Meeting P.J. Hogan, becoming parents and filmmakers together was a turning point. But when they discovered that two of their children were autistic, Jocelyn’s life turned upside down.

Moorhouse’s account of her family and work in the film industry is insightful and heartfelt. Her account of her work on Australian films such as The Dressmaker is highlighted, along with the highs and lows of a career in Hollywood.

This is a joy to read about one of Australia’s finest filmmakers and her family.

Well done, those menWell Done, Those Men – Barry Heard [B1914]

As a young man from a small Victorian country town, Barry Heard was conscripted into the army when he was only 21, fought in Vietnam and came back to cope as best he could. In his laconic, Aussie, blokey voice, Heard describes simply what happened – during his training, in action, and after his return to civilian life. Writing this memoir marked his emergence from the massive breakdown that finally overtook him.

Gripping, at times funny, affecting and alarming, this book enlarges our understanding of the damage war can do.

ReckoningReckoning – Magda Szubanski [B2266]

Magda Szubanski, one of Australia’s most beloved comedic performers, recounts her life growing up in the suburb of Croydon, her career as an actor, and the quest to find out the truth about her father, a Polish assassin during World War II. This multi-award winning memoir is a serious exploration on finding courage and acceptance, and a daughter’s love for her father.

This moving portrayal is a continued book group favourite and a must-read.


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