Member Loginmenu
Joan Lindsay

Joan Lindsay: The Hidden Life of the Woman Who Wrote Picnic at Hanging Rock

Brenda Niall

Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock has captivated and perplexed generations. But the woman behind the novel is as much an enigma as the disappearance of the fictitious schoolgirls and their teacher.

Joan Lindsay, wife of painter, art entrepreneur and National Gallery of Victoria director Daryl Lindsay, sacrificed her own artistic talent in deference to her husband, as was the order of the day. She painted landscapes with skill, but gave it up; wrote plays and novels of little merit; took routine journalism commissions for much-needed funds; and happily played hostess to guests including Dame Nellie Melba, Robert Helpman, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, as well as Keith and Elisabeth Murdoch and Robert Menzies, at the Lindsay country house on the Mornington Peninsula—all the while giving no indication of the literary brilliance that would emerge late in her life. There were clues, though, as Brenda Niall reveals in this fascinating biography. Joan’s unconventional attitude towards time—she allowed no clocks in the house and never wore a watch—and her deep reverence for the Australian landscape hint at the mystical centre of her masterpiece.

Was Joan really the dutiful wife, or was she patiently waiting her chance? Was Picnic at Hanging Rock a burst of creativity in response to a life held in check? Or did something happen behind the carefully curated scenes that gave rise to her extraordinary novel? Joan Lindsay: The Hidden Life of the Woman who Wrote Picnic at Hanging Rock explores these questions and more in an engaging and surprising portrait of a fascinating Australian woman.

Brenda Niall
About the Author

Brenda Niall is one of Australia’s foremost biographers. She is the author of several award-winning biographies, including her acclaimed accounts of the Boyd family and her portrait of the Durack sisters, True North. In 2016 she won the Australian Literature Society’s Gold Medal and the National Biography Award for Mannix. In 2004 she was...

Read Moreright
Text publication date:
29 October 2024
AU Price:
NZ Price:
Loading Rating
Praise for Brenda Niall
andJoan Lindsay

‘Brenda Niall is in a class of her own…Her books have all been works of insight and substance, their observations carefully considered.’

‘A compelling Australian story that is just as relevant to today’s social fabric as it was when it first began more than 130 years ago.’

Other editions ofJoan Lindsay
  • Joan Lindsay
    ISBN: 9781923059016
    29 October 2024
    Buy ebook