Wakefield Press is an independent book publishing company based in Adelaide, South Australia.

Follow us on Twitter

First Things First

Selected letters of Kate Llewellyn 1977-2004

Kate Llewellyn, Ruth Bacchus, Barbara Hill

First Things First
I've always said I will write anywhere. You could throw me into prison, cut off my arms and legs and you will find me in the morning with a pen in my mouth writing on the floor.

Collected here for the first time are selected letters from the private correspondence of one of Australia's most loved authors, Kate Llewellyn (The Waterlily, A Fig at the Gate). Written with her distinctive ardour and enthusiasm, skipping some words, shortening others, she discusses poetry, art, sex and gardening with painters and writers.

Kate Llewellyn's letters brim with energy and humour. Editors Ruth Bacchus and Barbara Hill have sifted through decades of correspondence to produce a volume which reveals her life and work, and the result is a joy to read: a precious insight into the world of one of this country's master wordsmiths.

Praise for First Things First:
'The word that most often came to mind as I was reading these letters was ‘exuberant’. Even when Kate is in despair, she describes her despair with gusto - as in her accounts of the deplorable behaviour of the men in her life, or her descriptions of a dreadful experience she once had as a writer in residence, left alone by the organisers to spend days and days being hungry, lonely, uncomfortable, bewildered and cold. What comes across in these accounts is the durability of two things that Kate has in abundance: her fearlessness, and her willingness to make herself vulnerable.' - Kerryn Goldsworthy

'The familiar life and rush and passion that you know from Llewellyn’s poems, her journals, her essays ... Passages that are breathtakingly revealing.' - Ashley Hay, The Australian

'By turns vociferous, weary, playful, humorous and generous, the selected letters ... unfold like an epistolary memoir, packed with plush detail and the striking insight of a master wordsmith at the peak of her powers.' - Stephen Davenport, InDaily

'Highly recommended ... These letters have the reader peeking into Kate's life to see her as funny, vulnerable, weary and energetic.' - Linda Guthrie, ReadPlus

'Llewellyn’s voice is so compelling, her persona so open, and her writing so frequently funny, that I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in her head.' - Sue Terry, Whispering Gums

'These letters brim with the personality of the poet and prose master; they reflect her power to transfer images from her mind to the mind of the reader with skill and ease .. A must read for fans of Llewellyn.' - David O’Sullivan, Rochford Street Review

Dr Ruth Bacchus ran a restaurant in a NSW country village before becoming a student and university medallist at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst. Her PhD explored ways for Western feminism to view satis (Hindu women who burn on the funeral pyres of their husbands). She now teaches literature, creative writing and politics at CSU. Her research interests are in the area of learning and teaching. She is an enthusiastic, though somewhat unmethodical, gardener.

Dr Barbara Hill is a Senior Lecturer at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst where she has dedicated her career to social justice and reconciliation through learning and teaching. Since 1993 she has taught subjects in English literature, Australian literature, existential literature, creative writing, sociology and professional writing. Her other areas of interest include Australian female authors; particularly the work of Dorothy Hewitt, Thea Astley, Marion Halligan and Kate Llewellyn. She also writes fiction and poetry.
Category Biography/Autobiography/True Stories
Format Paperback
Size 210 x 140 mm
ISBN 9781743053645
Extent 318 pages
Price: AU$34.95 including GST
Add to wish list