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Sat, 29 June


Better Read Than Dead

Mary Garden in-conversation with Anna Featherstone

Join us with Mary Garden to celebrate the release of My Father's Suitcase! Mary will be joined by Anna Featherstone.

Mary Garden in-conversation with Anna Featherstone
Mary Garden in-conversation with Anna Featherstone

Time & Location

29 June 2024, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Better Read Than Dead, 265 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

About The Event

A gripping tale of resilience and survival that offers hope to others who have experienced family violence and suffered at the hands of a sibling. A deeply personal and heartbreaking memoir that explores the troubled relationship between Mary Garden and her younger sister, Anna, who died in 2023 after a short illness.

Mary unpacks her life of growing up in New Zealand in the 1950s and ’60s, before making Australia home. She reveals complex layers of intergenerational trauma, including the baggage of her eccentric, deeply flawed father and the secret her mother kept from all of them, revealed only after her death. Mary deals movingly with her sister’s long battle with mental illness and how she once saved Anna’s life. As she unravels these narratives, Mary touches on the guilt and shame familiar to anyone who has had to deal with secrets, violence and ‘madness’ in their family. And she shines a light on sibling abuse, the most common form of abuse in the context of family violence - occurring up to five times as frequently as spousal or parental child abuse - although it is often dismissed as ‘sibling rivalry’. It causes far-reaching, long-lasting harm.

Mary Garden was born in New Zealand and has a PhD from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Working as a freelance journalist, her writing has appeared in a range of publications, including Newsroom, New Zealand Geographic, Meanjin, The Weekend Australian, Australian Financial Review and The Humanist (US). Her first book The Serpent Rising, a memoir of her years entangled with various gurus in India in the 1970s, won the High Country Indie Book Award 2021. Sundowner of the Skies, a biography of her father Oscar Garden, was short-listed for the NSW Premier’s History Award 2020. She now lives in Castlemaine, Australia.

Anna Featherstone empowers writers and authors. She has authored five non-fiction books including the Australian Society of Authors’ recommended reading title Look–It’s Your Book! Write, Publish & Promote Your Non-Fiction Book: A Self-Publishing Guide for Australian Writers. Her words have appeared in The Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald. When she’s not reading, writing and presenting, Anna gets into the thick of things with bees, beings and the big issues of our time.


  • Event + Book

    Includes a ticket and copy of My Father's Suitcase

  • Event Ticket




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