Creditable or reprehensible? The literary journalism of Helen Garner

Willa McDonald*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The Reactions By critics and the general public to the literary journalism of Helen Garner, one of Australia's leading writers, demonstrate that writing reportage with the eye of a novelist raises professional and ethical challenges. Garner's nonfiction, while masterly in its use of language, has a history of drawing heated comments from the mainstream Australian media but little attention from the academy as the subject of literary analysis. While she has many champions, Garner remains a controversial writer to many critics, such as Katherine Wilson, Matthew Ricketson, Virginia Trioli, and Inga Clendinnen, for the way she utilizes fictional techniques in the portrayal of factual situations, concentrates in her work on the subjectivity of the narrator, and, consequently, displays her personal politics.1 It is uncomfortable territory for those who prefer their reportage straight and who distrust emotional analyses in favor of the rational.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiterary Journalism across the Globe
Subtitle of host publicationJournalistic Traditions and Transnational Influences
EditorsJohn S. Bak, Bill Reynolds
Place of PublicationAmherst, MA
PublisherUniversity of Massachusetts Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781558498761, 1613760329
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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