Leaping into Waterfalls: The Enigmatic Gillian Mears

Bernadette Brennan

Leaping into Waterfalls: The Enigmatic Gillian Mears
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Leaping into Waterfalls: The Enigmatic Gillian Mears

Bernadette Brennan

Gillian Mears appeared to many to be a shy woman from Grafton, but her lived and imaginative lives were rich with adventure, risk and often transgressive passion. In her award-winning and acclaimed novels and short stories, Mears wrote fearlessly of the dark undercurrents of country and family life, always probing the depths and complexity of human desire.


Mears' sensuality and sexuality were the driving forces of her life and writing. As an adult, she was plagued by ill health yet remained steadfast in her quest to be independent and free; while recovering from open-heart surgery, she traversed the country alone in a de-commissioned ambulance. By her midforties, multiple sclerosis had confined her to a wheelchair. Undaunted, she continued to write and publish until her death five years later in 2016.

Mears amassed an extensive collection of diaries, letters, manuscripts, photographs, recordings and ephemera, and deposited it with the Mitchell Library. She was a prolific correspondent with significant figures of the cultural landscape-Gerald Murnane, David Malouf, Tim Winton, Elizabeth Jolley, Helen Garner, Drusilla Modjeska, Kate Grenville and Marr Grounds. This meticulous and moving biography reads Mears' life and work within that broader cultural community to celebrate her truly extraordinary achievements and adventures.

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