Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

Image. Advertisement:

RiP Gillian Mears

Author Gillian Mears has died, aged 51.

Mears was the author of several novels and short stories, including her debut The Mint Lawn (A&U), for which she won the Australian/Vogel Literary Award; The Grass Sister (Vintage); and Foal’s Bread (A&U), which won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction, among other literary prizes.

Allen & Unwin publisher Jane Palfreyman writes:

‘Gillian Mears grew up in the northern New South Wales town of Grafton. Her books include Ride a Cock Horse (1988); Fineflour (1991); The Mint Lawn (1991), winner of the Australian/Vogel Literary Award; The Grass Sister (1995), which won a Commonwealth Prize; and A Map of the Gardens (2002), which won the 2003 Steele Rudd Award.

‘Gillian’s third novel, Foal’s Bread, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2011. It was shortlisted for many major awards in 2012 and won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Age Book of the Year, the Victorian Premier’s Award for Fiction, the Colin Roderick Award and the ALS Gold Medal. Her children’s story, The Cat with the Coloured Tail, was published by Walker Books Australia in 2013.

‘Gillian died at home on Monday, May 16, and leaves behind a world of passionate readers and loving family and friends who are saddened beyond words. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 30 and prevailed against its indignities and cruelties with extraordinary courage and forbearance. The physical act of writing her last novel Foal’s Bread caused her great pain, and yet love shines through every page of that great, luminous novel, one of this country’s enduring literary treasures.

‘Even in her darker moments Gillian maintained a sense of wonder and joy that could take your breath away. We will remember her as a true wild spirit, a loving, generous and conscientious friend, and a writer of fierce talent and compassion who will be mourned, celebrated and read gratefully for generations to come.

‘Thank you, dear Gillian, and rest in peace and love.’


Category: Obituaries