The Selected Essays of Charmian Clift
edited by Nadia Wheatley
Through the turbulent and transformative years of the 1960s, Charmian Clift engaged the readers of her weekly newspaper column in a way that would now be done by a blogger. While her writing was so far ahead of her time that her opinions continue to challenge us to think about our identity and responsibilities as Australians, Clift’s cutting-edge social and political commentary was conveyed in a prose so exquisite that she is regarded as one of the greatest stylists of Australian literature. In the words of the critic, Peter Craven:
‘When I first stumbled on Clift’s essays, twenty or more years ago, these trashy essays written for a disposable occasion seemed to me to have more lightning and quicksilver, more brilliance and more skill of execution, than any Australian writing other than the great novels of Patrick White and Christina Stead.’
This selection of essays, compiled by Charmian Clift's literary biographer, Nadia Wheatley, showcases pieces ranging from the political to the personal, from the extraordinary to the everyday. It offers old friends an opportunity to revisit the magic, while new readers have the chance to fall under Charmian Clift's spell.
HarperCollins, 2001 (pb, 408 pp)