Helen FitzGerald

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Helen FitzGerald

Helen FitzGerald (born 1966 in Shepparton, Australia) is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. Her debut novel, Dead Lovely, was originally published by Allen & Unwin in September 2007,[1] and The Exit was published in February 2015 by Faber & Faber. Viral was released in February 2016.[2]


She was raised in the country town of Kilmore, Victoria; the twelfth in a family of thirteen children.[3] She studied English and History at the University of Melbourne, before later attending Glasgow University where she completed a Diploma and Masters in Social Work.[4] She began writing while working as a criminal justice social worker, where for a period she worked with serious sex offenders in Glasgow's Barlinnie Prison.[5] She quit this job for a time to focus solely on her writing career,[6] before returning to the field part-time. She cites her experience as a social worker an inspiration in the subject matter of her writing.[7]


FitzGerald began as a screenwriter, writing scripts for a series of educational children's dramas for BBC Scotland. However, she became frustrated with the industry when none of her subsequent screenplays were produced, and she turned to novel-writing. She states that the rules of screenwriting are very stringent, but that in having learned them she has improved as a writer.[8]

Her books are mostly thrillers, though she herself has described her genre as "Domestic Noir", a term coined by her fellow author Julia Crouch.


FitzGerald has written twelve novels to date:

Critical reaction[edit]

A few critics noted that FitzGerald's first book, while generally described as a crime novel, did not follow the traditional rules of the genre. They argued that it belonged to a different, more psychologically complex tradition, characterised by the dark humour and flawed anti-heroines of writers such as Tama Janowitz and Fay Weldon. Novelist Mark Abernethy wrote of FitzGerald: "She has managed to do what Fay Weldon did in The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, which is to find the joke in what appalls us." Australian critic Sally Murphy described the novel as compelling but hard to classify, with "elements of chick-lit mixed with ghastly scenes of murder and retribution", while Adelaide writer Cath Kenneally highlighted FitzGerald's technique of underpinning audacious and potentially shocking material – "working blue" – with "sociological acumen".

The Cry has received the widest critical acclaim of any of FitzGerald's novels to date, with Fitzgerald's friend Doug Johnstone from The Independent on Sunday stating: "Astonishingly good. It is utterly harrowing, completely plausible, constantly nerve-shredding ... It plays on the deepest, darkest fears of all parents about their children, and embeds that everyday terror in a plot so up-to-the-minute that you'll swear it's been lifted from the pages of a newspaper ... The Cry is a remarkable novel – its devastating power all the stronger for its realistic rendering. Brilliant stuff."[9]


FitzGerald has been nominated for several awards, including:


  1. ^ FitzGerald, Helen (2007-01-01). Dead Lovely. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 9781741762532.
  2. ^ "More FitzGerald for Faber | The Bookseller". www.thebookseller.com. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  3. ^ FitzGerald, Helen. "What it's like to grow up with 12 siblings?". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  4. ^ "Helen Fitzgerald :: Authors :: Birlinn Ltd". www.birlinn.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  5. ^ "Author details | Scottish Book Trust". www.scottishbooktrust.com. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  6. ^ "Interview: Helen Fitzgerald, author". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  7. ^ Post, Jessica. "Helen Fitzgerald – Allen & Unwin – Australia". www.allenandunwin.com. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  8. ^ "Helen Fitzgerald | The Exit | Author Interview | The Skinny". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  9. ^ FitzGerald, Helen (2013-09-05). The Cry (Main ed.). Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571287703.
  10. ^ "Harper, McKinty shortlisted for Theakston Old Peculier crime award". Books+Publishing. 2020-06-15. Retrieved 2020-07-27.

External links[edit]