Author(s): Kerrie Davies
Henry Lawson is a revered cultural icon, but despite his literary success he descended into poverty and an early death. While many blamed his wife for his decline, Bertha Lawson alleged in April 1903 that Henry was habitually drunk and cruel, leading her to demand a judicial separation. In A Wife’s Heart, Kerrie Davies provides a rare account of this tumultuous relationship from Bertha’s perspective, in an era when women’s rights were advancing considerably.
Reproducing the Lawsons’ letters – some of which have never been published – alongside her personal reflections, Davies explores the couple’s courtship, marriage and eventual separation, as Bertha struggled to raise their two children as a single parent. A Wife’s Heart offers an intimate portrait of the Lawsons’ marriage, examined through a modern lens. It is an innovative, imaginative work of biography that reflects on the politics of relationships and the enduring complexities of love.
Kerrie Davies is a journalist and media academic at UNSW and the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, where she teaches multimedia journalism and social media. She has written for Collective magazine, Elle, Vogue Australia and The Weekend Australian Magazine, among other media outlets. She is currently completing her Doctor of Arts (Literary Journalism) at the University of Sydney and is co-author of the Colonial Australian Literary Journalism Database.