Author: Guest blogger
By Liz Byrski
Ten years ago, after almost four decades of writing non-fiction, I took the plunge into fiction. As a reader I was increasingly frustrated by the absence of realistic images of older women in Australian popular culture generally and novels in particular. I set out to see if I could write the books I wanted to read. The transition was a terrific challenge; considerably harder than I had imagined but six novels later it’s proved to be well worth the struggle.
I am one of the millions of women around the world who were drawn into the women’s movement of the seventies by the consciousness-raising fiction of feminist writers. I left school in 1960, began work in a typing pool, became a secretary and was married and expecting my first child when I read Sue Kaufman’s Diary of a Mad Housewife and Dorothy Bryant’s Ella Price’s Journal. All my unease and resentment about the treatment of women was captured and expressed in those books. The realities were laid bare through the voices of the characters and the insights into their inner lives which resonated with my own. So when I began my first attempt at fiction almost three decades later I went back to those books and others, including The Women’s Room. I wanted to identify what had made them so powerful, and how I could develop a form of feminist fiction that would speak to women of my age in a new century.
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