Arts Alumna Helen Garner launches new work at the Melbourne Writers Festival

Australian literary legend and Faculty of Arts alumna Helen Garner delivered the opening night address at this year's Melbourne Writers Festival.

Adding to her expanding catalogue of work, which has influenced generations of Australian writers and readers, in a Melbourne Writers Festival exclusive, Garner discussed her latest book, This House of Grief: The Story of a Murder Trial, a harrowing account of the trial of Robert Farquharson, convicted of drowning his three sons on Father's Day 2005.

About This House of Grief;

On the evening of 4 September 2005, Father's Day, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother, Cindy, when his car left the road and plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven and two, drowned. Was this an act of revenge or a tragic accident? The court case became Helen Garner's obsession. She followed it on its protracted course until the final verdict.

In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. She presents the theatre of the courtroom with its actors and audience, all gathered for the purpose of bearing witness to the truth, players in the extraordinary and unpredictable drama of the quest for justice.

As one of Australia's best-known writers, Garner's work spans a variety of forms including newsprint, novels, short stories and the screen. She has published many works of fiction, including Monkey Grip, Cosmo Cosmolino and The Children's Bach, for which she was won numerous awards. In 1993, Garner received a Walkley Award for journalism, one of the most prestigious awards for non-fiction writing in Australia, whilst in 2006 she was honoured with the Melbourne Prize for Literature, which recognises and rewards excellence in literature. Her novel, The Spare Room, released in 2008, won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction, the Queensland Premier's Award for Fiction and the Barbara Jefferis Award, an award bestowed upon 'the best novel written by an Australian author that depicts women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society'.

In her latest work, This House of Grief, Garner's journalistic experience and detailed observation, coupled with her consummate command of the English language, make for an entirely captivating read.

Helen Garner is in excellent company at this year's Melbourne Writers Festival, as she is joined by a number of other Faculty of Arts alumni, including popular and prize-winning authors such as Raimond Gaita, Alex Miller, Alice Pung and Tony Birch. Click here to see Tony Birch discussing his new book The Promise, a collection of short stories exploring the lives of misfits, outsiders and those living on the margins.