Although I’m wary of reading memoirs in public (as I tend to dissolve into tears), I have gained so much, as a reader, writer and as a human being, from regularly stepping outside of my natural habitat of fiction to embrace life tales from some truly amazing fellow humans.

The three memoirs below had me crying, laughing and then cry-laughing which is a real thing (seriously just ask my partner).

Also, if you have the courage to write your own story and want to know more about the subtle art particular to this genre, Lee Kofman, author of The Dangerous Bride and co-editor of Rebellious Daughters (see below), will be presenting Introduction to Memoir at the NSW Writers’ Centre on Saturday, 9 September from 10am – 4pm.

Kofman - web

Everything to Live For by Turia Pitt and Libby Harkness

The inspirational story of Turia Pitt whose life was changed forever after she was caught by fire during an ultra-marathon race in Western Australia in 2011.


I was lucky enough to see Turia and her partner Michael speak in Sydney earlier this year; they really are a dynamic duo. Their energy and clever banter is infectious and the style of her memoir really captures the depth of their strength. There are many players in this tale and I found the story riveting.

Skin donation saved Turia’s life.

To register or for more information visit

The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do

An incredible journey told with Anh Do’s trademark humour, kindness, strength, sadness and intelligence.


I’m late coming to Anh Do’s 2011 award-winning and beautifully crafted memoir which details his family’s flight from Vietnam and early life in Australia.

Given the ongoing debate regarding the plight of refugees in this country, now is a great time to pick up this memoir if you haven’t already.

I’m looking forward to sharing the young reader version (The Little Refugee by Anh Do and Suzanne Do and illustrated by Bruce Whatley) with my own children. The authors’ profits go to Trish Franklin’s Loreto Vietnam-Australia Program (based in Ho Chi Minh City), which provides shelter, food and education for disabled and destitute children.

Rebellious Daughters edited by Maria Katsonis and Lee Kofman

A collection of intimate and touching stories of rebellion and independence from some of Australia’s greatest female writers.


I was in Dymocks, searching for some creative writing text books for my students, when I happened across the bright yellow cover of Rebellious Daughters. A quick glance at the names on the cover (Jane Caro, Michelle Law, Susan Wyndham and Krissy Kneen just to name a few) sold me.

I grabbed a copy with no idea that a percentage of sales support the Women’s Legal Service Victoria.

So, not only was this book a fantastic read (I really felt that I’d just sat down for coffee with 17 amazing women who shared their intimate stories) but a great cause too.

Happy reading!