Book Buzz
Book Buzz is a promotional newsletter supported by the publishers.

About the book | Advance praise | About the author | Sample chapter | Reading copy giveaway 


About the book About the book

Sometimes it seems the most invaluable stories can be found in the unlikeliest of corners. 

For all who know Brisbane, McWhirters, a once celebrated department store in Fortitude Valley, is an icon. For Melissa Fagan it is also the starting point for this remarkable exploration of her mother, and grandmother’s, lives, and a poignant reminder of the ways in which retail stores and fashion have connected women’s lives across decades. 

Behind the dusty shop counters of an Art Deco treasure, Fagan discovers both what has been lost and continues to shine. Ultimately this tender exploration of self and family, so exquisitely written, speaks of the ways in which life so often surprises us and of how the legacies of others can truly enrich our own relationships and lives.

ISBN: 978-0-925760-09-5
Trade PB 288pp (plus 8-page photo insert)
RRP: $29.99
Publication: 1 September 2018
Distribution: NewSouth Books

‚ÄčWhat people are saying

‘I raced through What Will Be Worn. It’s moving and alive, funny and tender. It is also a rigorous examination of the ways in which women shroud ourselves, figuratively and literally. I especially loved Melissa’s portrait of her mother, “the lost princess of Brisbane”. A very fine book.’—Susan Johnson, author of The Landing

‘With delicacy, flair and an ever-questioning but never judgmental eye, Fagan performs beautifully the dance of writing history, slipping seamlessly back and forth between what is known and what must be imagined.’—Peggy Frew, author of Hope Farm

‘It’s rare to find a book that so warmly and intelligently takes on themes such as the ways in which fashion links women across generations, the glamour and downfall of the department store, and the bonds between mothers and daughters. Melissa Fagan’s What Will Be Worn transcends the local with aplomb. It’s a loving and searching portrait of what we inherit from our families. It reminds me of Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes and Helen Garner’s investigative and self-questioning writing style.’Barry Scott, Co-publisher at Transit Lounge


About the author About the author

Melissa Fagan is a writer and editor based in Brisbane, where she also teaches and lectures in creative writing courses at the University of Queensland and QUT. Her fiction and nonfiction has been published in Overland, Kill Your DarlingsMeanjin, QWeekend and others. At various times throughout her life (but mostly pre-21st century) she has worked as a receptionist, data entry clerk, call centre operator, market research interviewer and editorial assistant. She has also taught swimming and horse-riding, and led tours through South East Asia. In 2018 she started a practice-led PhD in travel writing with Curtin University and the University of Aberdeen.

Learn more at


Sample chapter

Read the first chapter of What Will Be Worn here.


Reading copy giveaway

For your chance to receive an advance copies of What Will Be Worn, email with ‘What Will Be Worn B+P Giveaway’ in the subject line. The first 10 people to respond will win a copy.





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