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Shortlisted for the 2011 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, The Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction.

When Miles Franklin-shortlisted novelist Brenda walker became sick she turned to two healers: doctors and books.

This is the story of how she recovered.

Packing her bag for hospital after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Brenda wondered which book to put in. As a novelist and professor of literature, her life was built around reading and writing. Books had always been her solace and sustenance, and now choosing the right one was the most important thing she could do for herself.

In Reading by Moonlight, Brenda describes the five stages of her treatment and how different authors helped her through an arduous recovery. Along with insightful introductions to the work of writers like Dante, Tolstoy, Nabokov, Beckett and Dickens, Brenda show how the very process of reading – surrendering and then regathering yourself – echoes the process of healing.

Reading by Moonlight guides, reassures, throws light on dark places, and finds beauty in the most fearful of illnesses. It affirms that reading can be essential to life itself.

'A work of rare richness and unending generosity of spirit – a beautiful meditation on the gift of reading death and the spirit of survival.' Alex Miller, the Age

'Brenda Walker's account of the healing power of books is a gift . . . beautifully written, heartfelt.' Susie Burge, Harper's Bazzar

'Irresistible . . . A many-layered reading experience.' West Australian

'Instructive, uplifting and palliative. And what more can one look to a book for?' James Grieve, Canberra Times

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780143205227

    March 28, 2011

    Penguin (AU Adult)

    240 pages

    RRP $24.95

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • 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

Awards and Recognition

  • 2010
    Victorian Premier's Literary Award
    Winner
  • 2010
    Victorian Premier's Literary Award
    Winner
  • 2010
    Shortlisted
  • 2010
    Shortlisted
  • 2010
    Qld Premier's Literary Award
    Shortlisted
  • 2010
    W.A. Premier's Book Award
    Shortlisted
  • 2011
    Nita Kibble Award for Women Writers
    Winner
  • 2011
    Nita Kibble Award for Women Writers
    Winner
  • 2011
    APA Book Design Awards
    Shortlisted
  • 2011
    APA Book Design Awards
    Shortlisted
  • 2011
    NSW Premier's Literary Awards
    Shortlisted
  • 2011
    NSW Premier's Literary Awards
    Shortlisted
  • 2012
    Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature
    Shortlisted
  • 2012
    Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature
    Shortlisted

Also by Brenda Walker

The Wing of Night