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Monica McInerney’s writing life

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(Re)acquaint yourself with the heartfelt and insightful fiction of Monica McInerney.

Monica McInerney is a classic example of the Mark Twain-inspired school of 'write what you know'. A station master’s daughter, and the middle child of seven, McInerney grew up in South Australia’s Clare Valley, in a family home she describes as a ‘cauldron of words’. She’s since lived all over Australia and the world (today she is based in Dublin), and has had jobs as diverse as grape picker, hotel cleaner, book publicist and event manager.

Since her debut novel, A Taste for It (2001), McInerney’s continued to explore themes of sisterhood, family ties, romance, dislocation, travel and adventure, in increasingly complex ways. Equal parts smart, surprising, moving and charming, in her books McInerney balances darkness with a sense of humour that bubbles steadily beneath the surface. Here’s a rundown of her titles to date.


A Taste for It (2001)
Talented chef Maura Carmody’s off on an overseas adventure – travelling around Ireland for a month to promote Australian food and wine. Expecting a straightforward business trip, what she gets instead is a whirlwind of mishaps, misunderstandings, rivals and revelations… and Dominic Hanrahan.

Upside Down Inside Out (2002)
Eva heads to Australia on a break from her job in a Dublin delicatessen, hoping to forget a fizzled romance and find inspiration for a new career. Joseph is taking a holiday from his stressful London job. Each is on a search for some answers about life. Then something quite unexpected happens. They meet each other.

Spin the Bottle (2003)
Lainey Byrne is a woman in control, juggling a hectic job, her boyfriend Adam and a family with more than its fair share of dramas. Things go into a spin when she is wrenched from her life in Melbourne to run a B&B in Ireland for a year… especially when a reunion with childhood friend Rohan Hartigan sparks an unexpected dilemma.

The Alphabet Sisters (2004)
Anna, Bett and Carrie Quinlan were childhood singing stars – the Alphabet Sisters. As adults they haven’t spoken for years. Not since Bett’s fiancé left her for another sister...

Now Lola, their larger-than-life grandmother, summons them home. But just as the rifts begin to close, the Alphabet Sisters face a test none of them ever imagined.

Family Baggage (2006)
In charge of a coachload of eccentric tourists on a TV-show-themed bus tour, Harriet Turner has her hands full. But soon she finds herself facing big questions about her family, her childhood and her growing feelings for one of the guests… And what on earth’s happened to her sister, Lara?

Those Faraday Girls (2008)
Maggie Faraday grew up in a lively, unconventional household in Tasmania. But just weeks before her sixth birthday, a shocking event changed everything. Twenty years on, when the Faradays reunite in Ireland, Maggie begins to realise that the family members she thought she knew so intimately all have something to hide.

All Together Now (2009)
In this collection of short fiction, a group of friends on an unconventional diet learn some important life lessons, a fashion-challenged grandmother weaves some magic in a dusty charity shop, a grieving young mother takes a healing journey, and a shy woman from a family of high-achievers learns to follow her dreams.

At Home with the Templetons (2010)
When the Templeton family from England takes up residence in a stately home in country Australia, they set the locals talking. No one is more intrigued by the family than their neighbours, single mother Nina Donovan and her young son Tom. In the years that follow, the relationships between the Templetons and the two Donovans twist and turn in unpredictable and life-changing directions, until a tragedy tears them all apart.

Lola’s Secret (2011)
At the Valley View Motel, Lola Quinlan is up to her usual mischief. She’s sent her family away for the holidays and invited a number of mystery guests to come and stay. But who are all these people, and why aren’t they spending Christmas with their own loved ones?

The House of Memories (2012)
Following a tragic accident, Ella O’Hanlon flees to the other side of the world in an attempt to escape her grief. In London she is taken in by a beloved uncle, whose extraordinary house holds many wonderful memories for her. Ella begins to see that she is not the only one still hurting, and that forgiveness can be the greatest healer of all.

Hello from the Gillespies (2014)
For more than thirty years, Angela Gillespie has sent friends and family around the world an end-of-year letter titled ‘Hello from the Gillespies’. It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself – she tells the truth…

The Trip of a Lifetime (2017)
The wilful and eccentric Lola Quinlan takes her beloved granddaughter and great-granddaughter to visit her Irish homeland – her first time back in more than 60 years. But as she embarks on her journey, she is still hiding the hurtful reasons she left. What – and who – will be waiting for her on the other side of the world?

The Godmothers (2020)
Eliza Miller grew up in Australia as the only daughter of a troubled young mother, but with the constant support of two watchful godmothers, Olivia and Maxie. Despite her tricky childhood, she always felt loved and secure. Until, just before her eighteenth birthday, a tragic event changed her life.

Related features

The Godmothers

By the time Eliza Maxine Olivia Miller was eleven, she had lived in eight different country towns.

A note from Monica

Start reading an exclusive animated extract of The Trip of a Lifetime.

The Trip of a Lifetime

Bett Quinlan had a weekly ritual. Every Wednesday morning – the day the local newspaper she edited was published – she would walk up one side of the main street of the town of Clare and then down the other.

New from Monica McInerney

Monica McInerney’s new novel, The Trip of a Lifetime, to be published July 2017.

Book clubs
Trip of a Lifetime notes

Introduce your book club to the huge-hearted Quinlan family.

My trip of a lifetime

Monica McInerney opens her photo album to share some reflections on writing.

Curl Up With The Quinlans

Less than one month to go until THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME by Monica McInerney is out!