Recommended biography & memoir

Free: Coming of Age at the End of History

Free: Coming of Age at the End of History

Lea Ypi

An unforgettable coming of age story exploring the meaning of freedom - personal, collective, political - from an extraordinary new voice

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 Read reviewIn the Dream House

In the Dream House

Carmen Maria Machado

In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado's engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing experience with a charismatic but volatile woman, this is a bold dissection of...

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 Read reviewMy Year of Living Vulnerably

My Year of Living Vulnerably

Rick Morton

From Rick Morton, the author of the bestselling, critically acclaimed memoir One Hundred Years of Dirt comes a dazzlingly brilliant book about love, trauma and recovery, My Year of Living Vulnerably.

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Black and Blue

Black and Blue

Veronica Gorrie

The story of an Aboriginal woman who worked as a police officer and fought for justice both within and beyond the Australian police force.

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 Read reviewThe Shape Of Sound

The Shape Of Sound

Fiona Murphy

A vivid and essential memoir of deafness, disability and identity by Australian writer Fiona Murphy

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 Read reviewWhole Notes

Whole Notes

Ed Ayres

Life Lessons Through Music

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Daughter of the River Country

Daughter of the River Country

Dianne O'Brien

From a victim of the ‘stolen generations' comes a remarkable memoir of abuse, survival - and ultimately hope.

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Roots

Roots

SBS Emerging Writers' Competition

Roots brings us thirty of the best stories chosen from more than 2000 entries in the inaugural SBS Emerging Writers' Competition. Voices from a new vein of emerging Australian literary talent.

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 Read reviewFury

Fury

Kathryn Heyman

A raw, painfully honest, heartbreaking account of a young woman raising herself out of abuse and poverty to become her own hero.

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 Read reviewReal Estate: Living Autobiography 3

Real Estate: Living Autobiography 3

Deborah Levy

Fearless and essential - the highly anticipated final instalment in Deborah Levy's critically acclaimed 'Living Autobiography'

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Crying in H Mart

Crying in H Mart

Michelle Zauner

From the indie rockstar Japanese Breakast, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker piece that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up mixed-race, of Korean food, losing her Korean mother,...

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 Read reviewWhy Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Jeanette Winterson

In 1985 Jeanette Winterson's first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, was published. It was Jeanette's version of the story of a terraced house in Accrington, an adopted child, and the thwarted giantess Mrs Winterson. It was a...

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 Read reviewMirka Mora: A Life Making Art

Mirka Mora: A Life Making Art

Sabine Cotte

Mirka Mora features a rich insight into the intellectual life and art practice of one of Australia's most versatile, creative and prolific modern artists.

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Minor Feelings: A Reckoning on Race and the Asian Condition

Minor Feelings: A Reckoning on Race and the Asian Condition

Cathy Park Hong

A fearless work of creative non-fiction about racism in cultural pursuits by award-winning poet Cathy Park Hong.

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Tell Me Why: The Story of My Life and My Music

Tell Me Why: The Story of My Life and My Music

Archie Roach

A powerful memoir of a true Australian legend: stolen child, musical and lyrical genius, and leader.

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 Read reviewAs Beautiful As Any Other: A Memoir of My Body

As Beautiful As Any Other: A Memoir of My Body

Kaya Wilson

When Kaya Wilson came out to his parents as transgender, a year after a near-death surfing accident and just weeks before his father's death, he was met with a startling family history of concealed queerness and shame.

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 Read reviewLate Bloomer: How an Autism Diagnosis Changed My Life

Late Bloomer: How an Autism Diagnosis Changed My Life

Clem Bastow

Clem Bastow grew up feeling like she'd missed a key memo on human behaviour. Then at age 36 she received a life-changing diagnosis: she was autistic.

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Jack Charles: Born-again Blakfella

Jack Charles: Born-again Blakfella

Jack Charles

Stolen from his mother and placed into institutional care when he was only a few months old, Uncle Jack was raised under the government's White Australia Policy. The loneliness and isolation he experienced during those years had a...

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Monsters

Monsters

Alison Croggon

From award-winning writer and critic Alison Croggon, Monsters is a hybrid of memoir and essay that takes as its point of departure the painful breakdown of a relationship between two sisters. 

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 Read reviewCar Crash: A Memoir

Car Crash: A Memoir

Lech Blaine

What is it like to survive a crash that kills your best friends, and how do you move on? From an exceptional debut writer comes a stunning memoir about grief, perseverance and courage.

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Seeking Asylum: Our Stories

Seeking Asylum: Our Stories

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

The voices Australia should hear

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 Read reviewThe Trauma Cleaner

The Trauma Cleaner

Sarah Krasnostein

Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife...

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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Alison Bechdel

Meet the author's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high-school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted...

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 Read reviewThe Way Through the Woods: Of Mushrooms and Mourning

The Way Through the Woods: Of Mushrooms and Mourning

Long Litt Woon

One woman's journey to overcome grief by delving into an overlooked wonder of nature.

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 Read reviewStranger Care: A Memoir of Loving What Isn't Ours

Stranger Care: A Memoir of Loving What Isn’t Ours

Sarah Sentilles

A devastating memoir about motherhood, from the award-winning author of Draw Your Weapons

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 Read reviewEmotional Female

Emotional Female

Yumiko Kadota

Emotional Female charts Kadota's rugged journey through ambition and dedication to exploitation and eventual collapse - and beyond. Yumiko Kadota is a voice for her generation when it comes to work practices and...

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Olive Cotton

Olive Cotton

Helen Ennis

A landmark biography of a singular and important Australian photographer, Olive Cotton, by an award-winning writer - beautifully written and deeply moving.

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Two Cultures, One Story

Two Cultures, One Story

Dr Robert Isaacs, Tanaz Byramji

Told with grace and strength, this memoir shares the inside story of a respected Elder and his drive to break down cultural barriers and improve the lives of his people.

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 Read reviewYellow Notebook: Diaries Volume One, 1978-1987

Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume One, 1978-1987

Helen Garner

The private diaries of one of Australia's greatest living writers, the much loved, fearless and fierce Helen Garner.

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 Read reviewThe Dancer: A Biography for Philippa Cullen

The Dancer: A Biography for Philippa Cullen

Evelyn Juers

The new book by prize-winning biographer Evelyn Juers, author of The House of Exile and The Recluse, portrays the life and background of a pioneering Australian dancer who died at the age of twenty-five in a remote town in India.

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Childhood

Childhood

Tove Ditlevsen, Tiina Nunnally, Michael Favala Goldman

The astonishing first volume in Ditlevsen's celebrated autobiographical trilogy - a major publication for Penguin Classics in 2019.

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 Special priceYear of the Monkey

Year of the Monkey

Patti Smith

From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids and M Train, a profound, beautifully realized memoir in which dreams and reality are vividly woven into a tapestry of one transformative year.

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Love Stories

Love Stories

Trent Dalton

Trent Dalton, Australia's best-loved writer, goes out into the world and asks a simple, direct question: 'Can you please tell me a love story?'

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 Read reviewUncanny Valley: Seduction and Disillusionment in San Francisco's Startup Scene

Uncanny Valley: Seduction and Disillusionment in San Francisco’s Startup Scene

Anna Wiener

'Joan Didion at a startup' Rebecca Solnit 'Impossibly pleasurable' Jia Tolentino 'This is essential reading' Stylist

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Rudolf Nureyev: The Life

Rudolf Nureyev: The Life

Julie Kavanagh

Born on a train in Stalin's Russia, Rudolf Nureyev was ballet's pop icon. Nureyev's achievements and conquests became legendary: he rose out of Tatar peasant poverty to become the Kirov's thrilling maverick star; slept with his...

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 Read reviewThe Hate Race

The Hate Race

Maxine Beneba Clarke

'Maxine Beneba Clarke is a powerful and fearless storyteller...Clarke is the read deal, and will, if we're lucky, be an essential voice in world literature for years to come' - Dave Eggers, international bestselling author

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Priestdaddy: A Memoir

Priestdaddy: A Memoir

Patricia Lockwood

The childhood of Patricia Lockwood, the poet dubbed 'The Smutty-Metaphor Queen of Lawrence, Kansas' by The New York Times, was unusual in many respects. There was the location: an impoverished,  nuclear waste-riddled area of...

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Becoming

Becoming

Michelle Obama

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States

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 Read reviewMiss Ex-Yugoslavia

Miss Ex-Yugoslavia

Sofija Stefanovic

Unpolished Gem with a touch of Stasiland: a funny, dark and tender memoir about growing up between the lunacy of Yugoslavia's civil war and suburban Australia.

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 Read reviewEducated

Educated

Tara Westover

An extraordinary memoir about a woman's discovery of education, its transformative power and the price she has to pay for it.

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 Read reviewThree Women

Three Women

Lisa Taddeo

Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions.

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 Read reviewEggshell Skull

Eggshell Skull

Bri Lee

A fiercely intelligent, heartbreakingly honest memoir and feminist call to arms in the tradition of Fight Like A Girl

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One Hundred Years of Dirt

One Hundred Years of Dirt

Rick Morton

Social mobility is not a train you get to board after you've scraped together enough for the ticket. You have to build the whole bloody engine, with nothing but a spoon and hand-me-down psychological distress.

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 Read reviewTracker

Tracker

Alexis Wright

Miles Franklin-winning author Alexis Wright has crafted a memoir in story form of the charismatic Indigenous leader Tracker Tilmouth, and an epic portrait of a important period in the political life of Australia, reminiscent in...

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The Argonauts

The Argonauts

Maggie Nelson

An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of 'autotheory' offering fresh, fierce and timely...

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A Life of My Own

A Life of My Own

Claire Tomalin

A memoir that follows Claire Tomalin through triumph and tragedy in about equal measure, from the disastrous marriage of her parents and the often difficult wartime childhood that followed, to her own marriage to the brilliant...

$22.99Buy now

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The Enigmatic Mr Deakin

The Enigmatic Mr Deakin

Judith Brett

Alfred Deakin-scholar, spiritualist, prime minister-was instrumental in creating modern Australia. In the first biography of Deakin in more than half a century, the acclaimed political historian Judith Brett deftly weaves together...

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Just Kids

Just Kids

Patti Smith

Winner of the 2010 Non-Fiction National Book Award Patti Smith's evocative, honest and moving coming-of-age story of her extraordinary relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe

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Holding the Man

Holding the Man

Timothy Conigrave

At an all-boys school in Melbourne, Timothy Conigrave falls wildly and sweetly in love with the captain of the football team. So begins a relationship that weathers disapproval, separation and, ultimately, death. This book...

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 Read reviewWhen Breath Becomes Air: THE MILLION COPY BESTSELLER

When Breath Becomes Air: THE MILLION COPY BESTSELLER

Paul Kalanithi

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling...

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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

William Finnegan

A deeply rendered self-portrait of a lifelong surfer by the acclaimed New Yorker writer

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Naked

Naked

David Sedaris

A riotous collection of memoirs which explores the absurd hilarity of modern life and creates a wickedly incisive portrait of an all-too-familiar world.

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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

Jeannette Walls

Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents. At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings...

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Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential

Anthony Bourdain

The bestselling author of Don't Eat Before You Read This expands his appetizer into a deliciously funny, delightfully shocking banquet that lays out his 25 years of sex, drugs, and haute cuisine.

$19.99Buy now

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