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This is the first biography of one of Australia’s most beloved novelists, Thea Astley (1925–2004). Over a 50-year writing career, Astley published more than a dozen novels and short story collections, including The Acolyte, Drylands, and The Slow Natives, and was the first person to win multiple Miles Franklin Awards. With many of her works published internationally, Astle This is the first biography of one of Australia’s most beloved novelists, Thea Astley (1925–2004). Over a 50-year writing career, Astley published more than a dozen novels and short story collections, including The Acolyte, Drylands, and The Slow Natives, and was the first person to win multiple Miles Franklin Awards. With many of her works published internationally, Astley was a trailblazer for women writers. In her personal life, she was renowned for her dry wit, eccentricity, and compassion. Karen Lamb has drawn on an unparalleled range of interviews and correspondence to create a detailed picture of Thea the woman, as well as Astley the writer. She has sought to understand Astley’s private world and how that shaped the distinctive body of work that is Thea Astley’s literary legacy.


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This is the first biography of one of Australia’s most beloved novelists, Thea Astley (1925–2004). Over a 50-year writing career, Astley published more than a dozen novels and short story collections, including The Acolyte, Drylands, and The Slow Natives, and was the first person to win multiple Miles Franklin Awards. With many of her works published internationally, Astle This is the first biography of one of Australia’s most beloved novelists, Thea Astley (1925–2004). Over a 50-year writing career, Astley published more than a dozen novels and short story collections, including The Acolyte, Drylands, and The Slow Natives, and was the first person to win multiple Miles Franklin Awards. With many of her works published internationally, Astley was a trailblazer for women writers. In her personal life, she was renowned for her dry wit, eccentricity, and compassion. Karen Lamb has drawn on an unparalleled range of interviews and correspondence to create a detailed picture of Thea the woman, as well as Astley the writer. She has sought to understand Astley’s private world and how that shaped the distinctive body of work that is Thea Astley’s literary legacy.

30 review for Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    I really enjoyed reading this biog of Thea Astley. I studied lit in north qld so she was a popular novelist on courses and in bookshops. I strongly identified with her version of north qld. What a complex mix of brazen abrasiveness and vulnerability she turns out to be. A lovely entwining of her life and life's work which is non determinist but beautifully reflective of both. I really enjoyed reading this biog of Thea Astley. I studied lit in north qld so she was a popular novelist on courses and in bookshops. I strongly identified with her version of north qld. What a complex mix of brazen abrasiveness and vulnerability she turns out to be. A lovely entwining of her life and life's work which is non determinist but beautifully reflective of both.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    A wonderful biography which does full justice to the richness and complexity of a talented, contradictory, and complicated woman.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This biography of Thea Astley is so good I can confidently say that readers will enjoy it even if they’ve never read a word of Astley’s – though they will soon finding themselves wanting to do so. In telling the story of Astley’s life as a writer, the book traverses Queensland’s emergence from a cultural backwater, the massive social changes stemming from the Whitlam years, the dynamics of the Australian publishing industry and most importantly of all, the story of Astley the ‘anti-feminist’ who This biography of Thea Astley is so good I can confidently say that readers will enjoy it even if they’ve never read a word of Astley’s – though they will soon finding themselves wanting to do so. In telling the story of Astley’s life as a writer, the book traverses Queensland’s emergence from a cultural backwater, the massive social changes stemming from the Whitlam years, the dynamics of the Australian publishing industry and most importantly of all, the story of Astley the ‘anti-feminist’ who fought all her life for women’s writing to be accorded respect, recognition and adequate remuneration. They should have named the Stella Prize the Astleys, it would have been so much more apt, IMO. Now, as you know if you’ve read my previous posts about Thea Astley and her work, she was the multi award-winning author of fourteen novels and three short story collections. Amongst other prizes, she won the Miles Franklin four times, Premiers’ awards, the Patrick White award and the ALS medal, not to mention an OAM (Order of Australia), so it seems bizarre that she was constantly badgering her publishers to do more for her and complaining about a lack of recognition. But Karen Lamb makes a very convincing case that this seemingly perverse behaviour stemmed from a deep insecurity and from an acute awareness that male writers were supported differently both in terms of sales-generating publicity and with promotion of their books into international markets. Especially in the early years of Astley's writing career… Thea Astley (1925-2004) grew up in a staunchly Catholic household, witnessing the unhappy marriage of her journalist father Cecil and his wife Eileen. Cecil had frustrated literary ambitions, but when Thea sent her parents a copy of her first novel in 1958 their response was less than encouraging: To read the rest of my review please visit http://anzlitlovers.com/2015/07/26/th...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anne Fenn

    A very interesting and informative read about Thea Astley. She was such a character, bitter about lack of recognition for years, but was pretty famous, read in schools, published around the world, a great prize winner, had all 8 books in print, what more did she want? I like her work a lot. This biography does an excellent job explaining her influences - dominating conservative mother, beloved father, long lasting Catholic imprinting of beliefs. Could feel alienated but also great company, with A very interesting and informative read about Thea Astley. She was such a character, bitter about lack of recognition for years, but was pretty famous, read in schools, published around the world, a great prize winner, had all 8 books in print, what more did she want? I like her work a lot. This biography does an excellent job explaining her influences - dominating conservative mother, beloved father, long lasting Catholic imprinting of beliefs. Could feel alienated but also great company, with many male and female friends. She was funny, blunt, dangerously flippant at times. Her younger self was more agreeable and tolerant. As an older person, an academic, she seems to have had no qualms about humiliating students at times exercising her power. Her Queensland settings make good sense, she worked in small towns there, had great affection for the people and place. She was one of those annoyingly contrarian women who say 'I'm not a feminist', while working with and supporting women writers. Karen Lamb is a dedicated follower of Thea Astley's career. She worked for years, researching, interviewing, analysing and reading to produce a biography that covers her subject in a fair and detailed manner. She gives Astley a context and brings her to life as a rounded individual. I've learned a lot from this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sybil Nolan

    Well worth the wait! I loved Karen Lamb's evocation of Brisbane in Thea Astley's youth, which chimed so well with the atmosphere I remember from my father's family. Also her subtle study of Astley's combination of robust personality and defensive frame of mind. Well worth the wait! I loved Karen Lamb's evocation of Brisbane in Thea Astley's youth, which chimed so well with the atmosphere I remember from my father's family. Also her subtle study of Astley's combination of robust personality and defensive frame of mind.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susie Anderson

    truly an astounding woman.. the book was written so seductively. not only did i learn about thea as a writer but also much about australian literary and general culture.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Malcolm Frawley

    Thea Astley has been my favourite Australian author since I first read her short story collection, Hunting The Wild Pineapple, in 1982. I am even the proud owner of a personally-inscribed copy of Beachmasters. A biography of this acclaimed writer has been long overdue - she did, after all, win 4 Miles Franklin Awards - & Karen Lamb has done a great job in taking us on her journey. A fascinating character, & an extraordinary novelist, sadly no longer with us. Highly recommended. And if you haven' Thea Astley has been my favourite Australian author since I first read her short story collection, Hunting The Wild Pineapple, in 1982. I am even the proud owner of a personally-inscribed copy of Beachmasters. A biography of this acclaimed writer has been long overdue - she did, after all, win 4 Miles Franklin Awards - & Karen Lamb has done a great job in taking us on her journey. A fascinating character, & an extraordinary novelist, sadly no longer with us. Highly recommended. And if you haven't read any Astley maybe start with Pineapple, A Descant For Gossips or A Kindness Cup.

  8. 4 out of 5

    kashbot

    Interesting subject, average book, especially in the difficult ‘childhood’ section.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Australian writer that should be read! Karen Lamb reveals the life Thea Astley....#MustRead.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Di

    A detailed and interesting account of the life of one of Australia's most important writers. A detailed and interesting account of the life of one of Australia's most important writers.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Cook

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah McCord

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jo

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susan Maccallum

  17. 4 out of 5

    Molly

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

  19. 4 out of 5

    UQP Books

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan hancox

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ana Gray

  22. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kali Napier

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jo

  26. 4 out of 5

    Grier

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ellen McLeay

  28. 4 out of 5

    Richard Ewart

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sammy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Hunt

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