Hard Joy: life and writing
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“Written with tremendous honesty and clarity of expression, it is enhanced by black-and-white photographs and punctuated by occasional poetry. Don’t let this put you off—Varga is a born poet, even if it did take her most of her life to realise it, and the poems deepen and transcend the prose on the page.”
Julia Taylor, Books+Publishing 6.4.22
Listen to Susan in conversation with Sarah Kanowski on Conversations (ABC-RN) https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/susan-varga-wwii-holocaust-sydney-writing-love-stroke-survivor/13985502 This compelling memoir of Susan Varga’s life across seven decades circles between Australia and Europe, activism and seclusion, everyday life and the writing life. She was born into war-torn Budapest, her family escaping loss and trauma to make a new life in Sydney. But Susan makes another escape, from the narrow confines of suburbia into the arms of the exciting and contradictory world of the Sydney Push. As a young woman she lives in London, Paris, Bendigo and Holland, before returning to Sydney, keen to take part in Gough Whitlam’s reformist agenda, in a powerful time of change. When she finally commits to the demands and joys of writing, and to a surprising love, her life assumes a new harmony. Fate then intervenes to throw up major challenges, testing her will to re-find the hard joys of life. In the tradition of her acclaimed first memoir, Heddy and Me, Hard Joy is an intimate, warm and incisive portrait of our times. Susan Varga has worked in film and video and briefly as a lawyer. Her first book, Heddy and Me won the Christina Stead Award for non-fiction and was short-listed for several other awards. It was followed by the novel Happy Families, winner of the Vision Australia Talking Book of the Year and Braille Book of the Year. Then followed the non-fiction book Broometime (2001), co-authored with Anne Coombs. Her most recent novel was Headlong (UWAP, 2009), which was short-listed for the Barbara Jefferis Award. Rupture (UWAP, 2016), her first book of poetry, was named in the Australian Book Review‘s ‘2016 Books of the Year’. Rupture was also commended in the 2017 Anne Elder Award.