Doing Life: A Biography of Elizabeth Jolley

Doing Life: A Biography of Elizabeth Jolley

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Brian Dibble


Elizabeth Jolley was a fine writer. Her publishing career began in her fifties in Australia, but her writing developed through the decades in England and Scotland, from her family of origin, in boarding schools and hospital wards, and into her independent adult life.

The array of wild characters in her fiction—misfits and those on the edge of society—can also be found in the remarkable life of Elizabeth Jolley. It could be said that the times suited Jolley’s rise as a major Australian writer, when old habits of who and what could be published were broken.

Brian Dibble was given complete access to the writer’s private papers and has spent more than a decade travelling the world to follow leads on the story of Elizabeth Jolley. This is a lyrical and readable biography, one that presents a world of family and pleasures, but always infused somewhere with an unexpended sadness.


Shortlisted – 2010 National Biography Award
Shortlisted – 2009 Prime Minister’s Literary Award


Praise for Doing Life:

An excellent and illuminating book.



Book details

FORMAT: Paperback
EXTENT: 350 pages
SIZE: 235 x 155 mm
ISBN: 9781921401060
CATEGORY: Biography and AutobiographyBrian DibbleGeneral Non-fiction,