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  • Published: 30 November 2011
  • ISBN: 9781926428321
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Audio CD
  • Pages: 36
  • RRP: $59.95

How To Make Gravy

His own stories in his own voice. Paul Kelly reads his award-winning 'mongrel memoir' in its entirety on 16 CDs, plus bonus disc with guest readers Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Judy Davis and Ben Mendelsohn.

Paul Kelly is a uniquely gifted storyteller, and here, using his lyrics as starting points, he reads stories of his life and his songs, including 'Before Too Long', 'To Her Door', 'Leaps And Bounds', 'Don't Start Me Talking', 'Dumb Things', 'From Little Things Big Things Grow' and 'How To Make Gravy'. Mirroring the structure of his legendary A to Z shows – where he performs around a hundred of his songs alphabetically over four nights – Kelly describes 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.

He is then joined by special guests on a bonus disc as some of Australia's finest actors – Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Judy Davis and Ben Mendelsohn – each read a selected chapter.

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

Paul Kelly has recorded seventeen studio albums as well as several film soundtracks and live albums, in an influential career spanning more than thirty years. His prose has appeared in Meanjin, The Monthly, Rolling Stone and The Age.


'The pre-eminent writer of his generation.' The Weekend Australian

'This book delivers.' Sun-Herald

  • Pub date: 30 November 2011
  • ISBN: 9781926428321
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Audio CD
  • Pages: 36
  • RRP: $59.95

About the Author

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly is recognised as one of the most significant singer/songwriters in the country. As well as issuing an enduring body of work both solo and with his bands, including The Dots, The Coloured Girls and The Messengers, Kelly has written film scores (Lantana and Jindabyne), and produced albums for and written songs with some of Australia and New Zealand's finest artists.

His prose has appeared in Meanjin, The Monthly, Rolling Stone and The Age, and his first book, How To Make Gravy, was published in 2010.

He was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 1997 and had two songs included in the Australasian Performing Rights Association's (APRA) 2001 list of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time -- 'To Her Door' and 'Treaty' (written with Yothu Yindi). His hits also include 'Dumb Things' and the classic 'From Little Things Big Things Grow' (with Kev Carmody). His most recent album is Nature (2018).

In 2011 Paul Kelly received the Ted Albert Award For Outstanding Services to Australian Music at the APRA Music Awards.

Paul Kelly lives in St Kilda, Melbourne.

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Praise for How To Make Gravy

“The pre-eminent writer of his generation.”

The Weekend Australian

“Paul Kelly is the Bob Dylan of Australia. This autobiographical work ... provides more than ample evidence of it ... Every line is an enlightening treat.”

Robert Messenger, Canberra Times

“Kelly yarns about his life, his work and his obsessions with low-key, self-deprecating humour ... How to Make Gravy is a delight.”

Linda Jaivin, The Monthly

“A carnival of ideas; memories of songs and friends, family, cities, shows, passions; insights into his own and reflections on other artists' work ... The flavour of Kelly – his openness and honesty and passion for the detail of life – suffuses the book ... The closest we've come to an insight into the thoughts and work methods of this great poet.”

Peter Wilmoth, The Weekly Review

“Here is a body of work that goes far beyond the cliche of Kelly as a plain-thinking everyman of folk-rock ... This [book] is diverse, funny, moving and elaborate.”

Sydney Morning Herald

“A very generous book ... Worth every cent.”

Jeff Jenkins, InPress Magazine

“Paul Kelly's reminiscences about 30 years of creative endeavour have it all ... Call it a gift.”

Michael Dwyer, The Age

“Fascinating ... It has a vigour, intelligence and humanity ... a wealth of insider detail about life at the coalface of the music industry.”

Ray Puris, West Australian

“Totally original ... really great stuff ... the writing is to die for.”

Kerryn Goldsworthy, The Australian

“This book runs like a concert, shifting moods, tempos and subject matter ... Kelly is, I think, 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.”

Toby Creswell, Weekend Australian

“Kelly is a consummate storyteller.”

Deborah Crabtree, Australian Bookseller & Publisher

“The Bard of the People has turned his career-spanning A-Z shows into a fascinating autobiography ... Often hilarious.”

Time Out, Sydney

“An entertaining insight into Kelly's inspirations, influences and personal creative process ... His writing talent stretches far beyond songs ... Not just for fans.”

Herald Sun

“Kelly is not only an acute observer but also a very good, often inspired, writer ... Kelly has a great deal to tell us ... This book delivers.”

John Clare, Sun Herald

“A hundred tales that traverse the emotional, the personal, the historical, the factual and the political.”

Mel Bampton, Yen

“Provides insight into Kelly's inspirations, influences and creative process, showing him to be a man of gentle humour ... His writing talent stretches far beyond songs.”

Susan Bugg, Daily Telegraph

“A long and winding book full of engaging tales.”

Kathy McCabe, Daily Telegraph

“Stands apart from the run-of-the-mill rock biography template ... The memoir you'd expect from Kelly ... A rare peek into his very private world.”

Julian Tompkin, X-Press Magazine

“Funny, moving, entertaining and perilously easy to read.”

Sunday Telegraph

“A very good read indeed ... Fascinating ... A must-have.”

Mary Vernon, Townsville Bulletin

“A most unusual memoir ... Kelly is a very talented songwriter and he proves a damn good storyteller as well. If you're interested in music, you have to read this.”

Glen Humphries, Illawarra Mercury

“The singer, songwriter and musician has a lot to say ... Compelling reading.”

Shepparton News

Awards & Recognition

  • Australian Book Industry Awards

    Winner • 2011 • Biography of the Year

  • Australian Book Industry Awards

    Shortlisted • 2011 • Book of the Year

  • Indie Award

    Shortlisted • 2011 • Non-Fiction

  • Nielsen BookData Booksellers Choice Awd

    Shortlisted • 2011 • Prize for Writing for Young Adults

  • Prime Minister's Literary Award

    Shortlisted • 2011 • Non-Fiction

  • National Biography Award

    Shortlisted • 2012 • Prize for Writing for Young Adults

  • NSW Premier's Literary Awards

    Shortlisted • 2012 • Douglas Stewart Prize

  • Melbourne Prize for Literature

    Shortlisted • 2013 • Best Writing Award

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