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A memoir in a hundred songs – classy storytelling from Australia's most prodigious singer-songwriter.

Paul Kelly is a uniquely gifted storyteller. For thirty years he has written songs of uncommon directness about everything from love and land rights to cricket and cooking. 'Before Too Long', 'To Her Door', 'Leaps And Bounds', 'Don't Start Me Talking', 'Dumb Things', 'From Little Things Big Things Grow', 'How To Make Gravy' – his songs connect generations of listeners across the country.

In a memoir that has been greeted with acclaim by critics and adulation by fans, Kelly takes the lyrics of his songs as starting points to tell the stories of his life – the highs and lows of performing, the art of songwriting, being on the road with the band, tales of his childhood, family, friends and fellow musicians. All illuminate Kelly's wide sources of inspiration, offering an unequalled portrait of the creative mind.

Playful and honest, insightful and intimate, How To Make Gravy is an irresistible reflection on both the big and little things in life.

Kelly's specially recorded versions of the A to Z songs, stripped back to their essentials as solo or duo performances, are available digitally and in a companion CD boxed set that included a 64-pages booklet of photographs.

'A carnival of ideas . . . The flavour of Kelly – his openness and honesty and passion for the detail of life – he suffuses the book . . . The closest we've come to an insight into the thoughts and work methods of this great poet.' Weekly Review

'The pre-eminent writer of his generation. His body of work stands against any novelist, playwright or filmmaker as the definitive narrative of recent decades.' Weekend Australian

‘Perhaps the finest and most unflinching autobiography ever written by an Australian musician.’ Noel Mengel

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780143795995

    December 3, 2018

    Penguin

    576 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9781926428277

    October 3, 2011

    Hamish Hamilton

    576 pages

    RRP $39.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Audio CD

    9781926428321

    November 30, 2011

    Hamish Hamilton

    36 pages

    RRP $59.95

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781742531441

    September 22, 2010

    Penguin eBooks

    576 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

Extract

Introduction

In the middle of the journey of my life I found myself inside a tent of mirrors. Ahead lay a labour of trouble. All around, a thronging darkness. A deep slumber had caused me to stray, and to go forward was the only way back.

Six weeks previously, in October 2004, my manager Rob had rung to say the Spiegeltent was coming to Melbourne for the summer. Would I do some shows? I’d played in the tent before, at the Edinburgh Festival. Built by Belgians in 1920 of wood and canvas, and decorated with mirrors, velvet, brocade and leaded glass, it travels around the world hosting cabaret shows. Spiegel is Flemish for mirror, and the mirrors in the booths and on poles all around are the main feature, multiplying the audience in the intimate circular space. The staff like to tell you that Marlene Dietrich performed there back in the day. It’s a fun place to play, fits around three hundred people. They walk in with a different kind of buzz, like children at the circus.

‘They’ve suggested you put together a show you wouldn’t do elsewhere,’ said Rob. ‘You know, an exclusive. They’ll give you a few nights.’

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Awards and Recognition

  • Australian Book Industry Awards
    2011
    Winner
    Biography of the Year
  • Australian Book Industry Awards
    2011
    Shortlisted
    Book of the Year
  • Indie Award
    2011
    Shortlisted
    Non-Fiction
  • Nielsen BookData Booksellers Choice Awd
    2011
    Shortlisted
    Prize for Writing for Young Adults
  • Prime Minister's Literary Award
    2011
    Shortlisted
    Non-Fiction
  • National Biography Award
    2012
    Shortlisted
    Prize for Writing for Young Adults
  • NSW Premier's Literary Awards
    2012
    Shortlisted
    Douglas Stewart Prize
  • Melbourne Prize for Literature
    2013
    Shortlisted
    Best Writing Award