The literary device of the fictionalised diary stretches back at least to George and Weedon Grossmith’s 1892 work The Diary of a Nobody. Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole is perhaps better known. Equally established is the diary doubling as the novelist’s first draft, Anaïs Nin being an obvious example.
Locally there is Helen Garner. Twenty five years after writing her now classic novel Monkey Grip, which some critics alleged was just a fictionalised version of her diary, she acknowledged that indeed it was very largely based on her own diaries. The quotation, from a recent issue of Meanjin, is reproduced in full in the exhibition.9 Intriguingly, the dust jacket described her as a ‘compulsive scribbler, journal-keeper and letter- and note- writer’. Those familiar with Barry Oakley’s published diary selections Minitudes (Text Publishing, 2000) may wonder if a similar admission will result from his new novel Don’t Leave Me (Text Publishing, 2002).
Monkey Grip by Helen Garner (McPhee Gribble, 1977).
Helen Garner, close-up photo reproduction from back cover of Meanjin no 1, 2002, pp. 40-41, which included her article, ‘I’, where Garner explains the diary connection.