Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 19, 2018

Expressions of Interest: Elizabeth Jolley Week in June

Update (later the same day): The Elizabeth Jolley page is now live… find it in the menu above.

Fremantle Press Edition

The arrival of a lovely new Fremantle Press edition of The Newspaper of Claremont Street (in their Treasures Collection) is what’s triggered the idea of hosting an Elizabeth Jolley Week starting on what would have been her 95th birthday.  The Week will run from 4/6/18 to 11/6/18.

Monica Elizabeth Jolley (1923-2007) was born in England on the fourth of June, 1923 but she migrated to Australia in 1959 with her husband Leonard Jolley, and it was in Australia that she began writing and became one of our best-loved authors.  Her first book Five Acre Virgin and Other Stories (1976) was published in 1976 when she was 53, and she went on to write six collections of short stories, fifteen novels and three works of non-fiction.

I’ve read all her novels, but only three are reviewed here: Miss Peabody’s Inheritance (1983); The Sugar Mother (1988); and An Innocent Gentleman (2001).  I’ve also read Brian Dibble’s biography, Doing Life  which shows that Jolley led a very interesting life indeed.  I am hoping that hosting Elizabeth Jolley Week will encourage other readers to revisit and review her works, or to discover her writing for the first time.  The plan is to develop an Elizabeth Jolley page here, similar to the Christina Stead page which harvested all the reviews that grew out of Christina Stead Week in 2017.

Everybody’s time poor these days but the good thing about Jolley’s books is that she eschewed the chunkster and her novels are concise, though of course you can read her short stories too.

If you are interested and you think you’d like to join in, please comment below, and tell us what you’ve chosen to read if you’ve already decided.

Titles to choose from are:

Novels (all links below are to Wikipedia)

Short Stories


*The image of Elizabeth Jolley is from Wikipedia where it appears to be available for Fair Use.


  1. This is a very welcome idea, Lisa. I am not absolutely sure what you mean by joining in. I have never taken part in an online conversation. Do you want people to write some sort of review, comment, memoir to be published on your blog? I reviewed several of Elizabeth’s books, but am not sure I could find the reviews now.

    • Hello Carmel, I could have guessed that you’d be an admirer!
      You can join in any way you like: people write reviews on their own blogs or at Goodreads or Library Thing, but they also contribute brief thoughts about the books as comments. So you could join in with comments adding your expertise to my reviews and other people’s, but also if you could find links to your reviews online then I could add them to the Jolley page (when I’ve constructed it, that is).

      • The digital files of my reviews have long since disappeared in the mists of dead computers, but in the copies of the books I have found the newspaper clippings of my reviews of The George’s Wife, Fellow Passengers, and Lovesong. I am thinking about what to do with these, and am tempted just to put them back into the books.

        • I’ve just done a quick search and I think AustLit has a digital copy of the review you sent me. See
          Of course I can’t get into it because I’m not a registered user, and even if I were, there’s no point in me linking to it because my readers couldn’t see it.
          But if you are so minded you could contact them and ask for a digital copy of it for your own files.
          And you could load the scan you emailed to me as an image on your blog and then I could link to it. I’ve Googled but I can’t find your BirdsWords blog and I’ve just realised that I haven’t added it to my Authors’ Blogs (in the RH menu) – can you give me the URL and I’ll do that now?

          • I’ll try to join in as there are a few books I’d love to have on my blog, including Central Mischief which I’ve had for years and years and haven’t read. Like you, I only have a couple of my blog. The middle of the year is going to be tricky for me but I’ll do my best even if in the end I just do ONE short story!

            Newspaper is the book I often buy to give to people. I’ve probably given it to more people than any other book.

            BTW You can subscribe to birdswords. Here is the site URL:

            • That’s interesting about Newpaper! You will want to give the Fremantle edition from now on, gorgeous slightly smaller than usual hardback with a lovely silky bookmark ribbon!
              Thanks for the link, I don’t know why I couldn’t find it with Google. I’ve added it to my author blogs blogroll so now I can’t lose it again!

              • Yes, I will … because in the past I’ve tended to grab copies willy-nilly when I’ve seen them to have on hand. I was always sorry when Fremantle lost writers like Jolley. They took the risk and then the biggies, like Penguin, got the gain. Still, it’s hard to blame authors as life is tough for them too.

                • Yes, I understand why writers do it, but it does seem a bit disloyal…

            • PS Can you please let me have the URLs of the reviews you’ve already got on your blog. I haven’t finished setting up the Jolley page yet but I’d like to add those links to it if I may.

  2. I’ll join. I’ve read Miss Peabody’s Inheritance (which I loved and is my fav, so far). Emma should read it.
    Also: the Newspaper of C Street
    The Sugar Mother.
    Haven’t decided which one yet.

    • Wonderful! Thanks Guy:)

  3. I read The Boy Behind the Curtain by Tim Winton earlier this year and he talks about E Jolley in one of the chapters. He had her for a teacher in Western Australia and he speaks highly of her and what an influence she was on his own writing career.

    • Wouldn’t it have been fantastic to have had her as a teacher! What I always loved about her books was that she thought differently to everyone else, she had her own distinctive way of looking at the world and I’m sure that’s what she would have encouraged in her students.

  4. I’m happy to express my interest! I’ve reviewed Newspaper so I’ll say Doing Life which has sat in my TBR for too long. I wrote an essay on The Well for my degree but I think it is lost and own a couple of others. Also I have Jolley in D’Aeth’s Wheatbelt. So that gives me plenty of scope.

    • Excellent. Am I right in thinking that it might have been your idea for me to do a Jolley Week?

  5. Yes I’m in. My phone just lost a whole longer answer and now demands that I log in.

  6. Hi Lisa, what a great idea. I will join in and read Cabin Fever. I will look for links later this week.

    • Wonderful, that’s a great book, one of my favourites:)

  7. Yes it is a great read:

  8. I’ve just managed to get two very reasonably priced books from Abe.Miss Peabody’s Inheritance and The Sugar Mother. So I’m in!!

    • That’s great, two terrific choices:)

  9. […] of The Newspaper of Claremont Street, Lisa Hill at ANZ LitLovers LitBlog has decided to host an Elizabeth Jolley Week from the 4th-11th June, starting on what would have been her 95th birthday. Jolley was an […]

  10. This is me belatedly putting up my hand to say count me in. I’ve got a few Jolleys in my TBR. I loved ‘Mr Scobie’s Riddle’ when I read it a few years back and I was intrigued by ‘The Newspaper of Claremont Street’. Funnily enough, an American publisher contacted me after seeing those reviews (published circa 2011) to offer me a review copy of ‘Mrs Peabody’s Inheritance’ which they just republished. Shamefully, I still haven’t read it…

    • That’s great, thanks, Kim:)

  11. […] I’ve just taken delivery of two books by Elizabeth Jolley in time for a week focused on her work that Lisa at ANZLitLovers is hosting in June.  I’ve bought Miss Peabody’s Inheritance and The Sugar Mother  (the links take you to Lisa’s reviews). The Elizabeth Jolley page is here  […]

  12. […] ANZLitLovers Elizabeth Jolley Week June 4-11 2018 […]

  13. […] kick off Elizabeth Jolley Week on the anniversary of her death on June 4th, I read a new Fremantle Press ‘Treasures […]

  14. I missed news of this until your review – for the first day of the event – popped into my feed, but I am thrilled. I’ve only read two of her novels but I just love them (and have reread as well).

    • Do you have reviews on your blog? If you give me the links, I can reblog them as part of EJ Week and also add them to the EJ page:)

  15. Hi Lisa, I have my review of My Father’s Moon ready. Sorry I don’t have a blog and I don’t have your email address. Will I post the review here?

    • Absolutely. We could do it as a guest review! If you email it to me (find my email address where I hide it from spammers at the bottom of the RH menu in the Copyright notice) I will whip it into a post and voila! (Please provide the ISBN so that I can find the right cover image.) Thanks, Meg!

  16. […] Read for Lisa’s (ANZLitLovers) Elizabeth Jolley Week. […]

  17. Do I give my link for my review here? I think so, so here it is, at last!! I so wanted to do this book justice:

    • Thanks, Sue, I’ll will add it to the EJ page now:)

  18. […] Read for Lisa’s (ANZLitLovers) Elizabeth Jolley Week. […]

  19. And here’s the short story I promised:

  20. […] pressed it into my hand and told me I would love it. I have only vague memories of it, so when Lisa at ANZLitLovers announced she was going to host an Elizabeth Jolley week, I knew this was the book I was going to read and […]

  21. Hello… right at the wire… I’ve reviewed The Well here:

    • LOL You know me, Kim, I am very flexible about numbers and dates! Your contributions are welcome any time. BTW I have added your other Jolley reviews to the Elizabeth Jolley page as well. One way or another, I am hoping to have all of her novels reviewed eventually… it really is quite disconcerting to visit Goodreads and find that there’s not one review for some of her books!

  22. […] readers will know that in June I joined in Lisa’s (ANZLitLovers) Elizabeth Jolley Week by posting two reviews, one of which was for the novella Orchard thieves. In that post I mentioned […]

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