Listen to Maree’s talk about Parramatta Girls Home to staff at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on February 17th, 2011.
Read an article written by Maree and published in the November 2010 issue of Australian PEN Magazine – you will find it on page 12 in the online PDF version of the magazine.
Listen to Valerie Khoo at the Sydney Writers’ Centre interviewing Maree about her work as a writer.
Ramona Koval talks to Maree on The Book Show, ABC Radio National
Read about Maree’s work as a writer and creative writing teacher on HER CIRCLE EZINE
Richard Aedy interviews Judy Divargue and Maree Giles about their experience inside Parramatta Girls’ Home on Life Matters, ABC Radio National
by Maree Giles (Virago, ISBN 860498868)
Maree Giles’s publishers describe her first novel Invisible Thread as ‘semi-autobiographical’ and ‘based on a true story’ – neither of which is necessarily a recommendation, as such phrases are often used to deflect criticism or excuse poor writing. Happily, with this moving and emotionally involving debut, no such preemptive hype is necessary.
It is 1970 and 14-year-old Ellen Russell decides to move in with her older boyfriend, the druggy surfer Robbie. Her weak and unstable mother is unable to cope and the Australian state, Fighting a rearguard action against hippiedom and free love, declares Ellen guilty of being ‘neglected and exposed to moral danger’. She is sentenced to nine months at the Gunyah Training School for Girls, aptly described by its inmates as hell on earth.
At Gunyah, even when it is discovered that Ellen is pregnant, there is no respite from the harsh and punitive regime administered by the sadistic officers. When her baby Alicia is born she is immediately removed and Ellen is coerced and duped into signing adoption papers.
On her release, she embarks on a personal crusade to regain her daughter and, aided by an alcoholic gynaecologist turned backstreet abortionist, she discovers the shocking truth about the secret state-sanctioned trade in babies.
This is a gritty and unflinching book with a strong narrative pull and a well-drawn and likeable central character. Ellen’s struggle to transcend her troubled upbringing and disastrous surroundings is told with honesty, integrity and the authentic tang of firsthand experience.
Praise for Girl 43
Girl 43 is well written and will make you angry. It deals with a difficult aspect of our history but one that needs to be examined. – Toowoomba Chronicle
Giles tackles some tough topics, not the least of which is forced adoption, but does so in a way that is sensitive to and respectful of the girls who passed through the doors. – Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin
powerful – Cleo
Under the Green Moon
‘Giles’ fluid style and genuine storytelling talent lends itself beautifully to this Australian version of To Kill a Mocking Bird’ – IRELAND ON SUNDAY
The Past Is A Secret Country
‘Compellingly written, this will move many readers’ – PUBLISHING NEWS