Pen Portraits

Women writers and journalists in nineteenth century Australia

Patricia Clarke
AUD $24.99
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Pen Portraits describes the accomplishments of Australia's earliest women writers and pays belated tribute to their contribution to colonial life and letters.

Pen Portraits tells the story of the achievements of Australia's earliest women writers.

Despite being confined to a life within the home in a frontier society, some talented (and very determined) women in colonial Australia carved out careers as writers. Among them were writers of popular serials, whose latest instalments were as eagerly awaited as the latest episode is in today's TV 'soapies'; writers of newspaper features and columns; even a foreign correspondent.

But it was not until the 1880s that a very few won full-time positions as journalists. For some this was the exciting storming of an all-male preserve, for most it meant the society pages - the 'deadly dreary ruck of long dress reports'.

Nevertheless, there was a handful of women who ran the new women's magazines, and in these magazines women writers carried on the fight for the vote, for the right to an education, for freedom to work and freedom from unhappy marriages.

Pen Portraits presents these women's worlds, their brave choices and their remarkable lives. Lavishly illustrated, Pen Portraits pays belated tribute to their contribution to colonial life and letters.

Patricia Clarke, a journalist for many years and the author of The Governesses and A Colonial Woman, has uncovered the stories of almost a hundred women, from the first woman to publish in Australia to those whose work gained international acclaim; from the writers of moral tales to those whose 'daring' copy brought a raffish touch to the newspapers of the day; from crusading reformers to society ladies who wrote the social notes.

Author bio:

Patricia Clarke, journalist and historian, is the author of A Colonial Woman, the biography of the pioneering Mary Braidwood Mowle 1827-1857, and The Governesses, a rich insight into daily life in the Australian colonies in the mid-nineteenth century as seen through the eyes of governesses who travelled from England to take up posts with local families. She has also just completed Her Brief, Bright Day (forthcoming), the story of Louisa Atkinson, the first Australian-born woman novelist and a noted naturalist, and is compiling, with Dale Spender, a collection of letters and diaries written by women during Australia's first half-century.

Actively involved in heritage issues and in local and family history, Patricia Clarke is the editor of the Canberra Historical Journal.

Category: History
ISBN: 9780043370070
Table Of Contents: Illustrations


1. A Blank Page

2. The First to Publish

3. A Degree of Professionalism

4. Visitors and Lady Travellers

5. Eccentric Entrepreneurs

6. Mostly Moral and Earnest

7. Early Journalists and Country Editors

8. Voices from the Bush

9. Renown, Mostly Abroad

10. New Women in Print

11. Women's Voices, Very Diverse

12. Women's Pages, Slightly Fanciful

13. Newspaper Women and Social Ladies

14. Postscript


Select Bibliography

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: November 1988
Page Extent: 306
Format: Paperback - B format
Age: 0 - 0
Subject: History