Jan Smith's Confessions... is finally out! Self-acknowledged victim of too many books and too much liveliness, this is an almost intergalactic memoir where small town life at Eumundi, Queensland meets the political changes of war-time Australia, Catholics and Protestants hold an uneasy truce, and Irish black humour abounds: By English standards there wasn't a Right in Australia, just men who'd stopped being Left. We visit Brisbane and Longreach in less-than-fashionable 50s, then the urban thrall of Sydney and Woman magazine. Marriage, motherhood and the enigmas of the Bulletin. Separation, independence, even editor of Forum magazine, topped off with a home birth at 40...
But with city nights there was no question of mysterious and marvellous changes, boiled tongue in the press becoming jelled by morning, sick animals healing or dying, a hundred chickens doubled in size under their aluminium tent. The Pleiades and Orion's Belt struggled for attention in a petulant sky which ached to be properly black, even the moon you had to be quick about before it disappeared too, like the Russian Sputnik with the whimpering dog inside.
Jan Smith is the author of two novels, An Ornament of Grace (Sun Books, 1966) and The Worshipful Company (Cassell, 1969), and co-author, with Dr William Vayda, of Health for Life: Are You Allergic to the Twentieth Century? (Sphere Books 1981)
After dropping out of the University of Queensland and working as a cadet journalist on The Courier Mail Jan went to Sydney and joined Woman's Day magazine. After three years on Woman's Day, she was forced to resign because she had married a staff member, and for the next fifty years survived by freelancing, notably for The Bulletin and Pol magazine, apart from a year on Forum UK, the sex magazine, and Australian Business.
She now lives happily in King's Cross, Sydney, with her cat, doing what she'd have rather done all along.