Australian Literary Journalism and “Missing Voices”: How Helen Garner finally resolves this recurring ethical tension

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journalism Practice, 2016, 10 (6), pp. 730 - 743
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© 2015 Taylor & Francis. Australian author Helen Garner has written three of the most debated literary journalism texts in Australia in the past 20 years. All book-length, all literary in articulation, all dealing with traumatic legal cases—but all with crucial missing voices. Choosing to write into trauma as both witness and story-teller, Garner creates a certain inter-subjectivity throughout her work: her voice is witness to others’ traumas; and as a character within the texts, story-teller of those traumas. But there is a recurring component of voicelessness in each of the three texts which will be delineated and discussed in this paper, with the principal focus on her latest text, This House of Grief: The Story of a Murder Trial. How does Garner manage to tell the story ethically when the main protagonists refuse her interview? With this absence of voice, is this text still an ethical rendering?
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