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This article was originally published as:

Rickett, C. (2015). Bad hair days and the good of Pamela Bone's literary journalism. Australian Journalism Review, 37(2), 81-93.

ISSN: 0810-2686

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“I can’t die! I haven’t finished saving the world yet!” (Bone, 2007c, p. 206).

As a recipient of the United Nations media peace prize, Pamela Bone was noted for her fearless reporting on humanitarian, gender and social justice issues. While some of her thought-provoking columns invited controversy, Michael Gawenda notes, “even when people disagreed with her, they respected and understood what she wrote came from her heart and mind and her great moral clarity” (quoted in Chandler, 2008, n.p.).

Retiring from The Age at the end of 2005, Bone accepted an invitation from Melbourne University Press to write a memoir about her cancer experience. As a seasoned practitioner given to distance and objectivity in reporting, Bone’s reluctance to write confessional columns was finally converted into a candid account of her terminal prognosis, using the form of literary journalism. This paper explores the therapeutic value of Bone’s Bad Hair Days, and the wider contribution her autobiographical voicing of illness makes.


Used by permission: Australian Journalism Review

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