About the author

Edwina Preston

About the book

Judges' report

In Bad Art Mother, novelist Edwina Preston explores the conflict between creativity and the conventional expectations of femininity. The book incorporates elements of real Melbourne literary history – the career of Gwen Harwood, the bohemia of Heide – into an account of fictional poet Veda Gray struggling with the bounds of convention in a post-war Australia deeply inhospitable to women writers. Veda’s letters and the memories of her conflicted son Owen combine, complement and contradict each other, in a clever, warm, and very moving novel about motherhood, sacrifice, and the claims of art.

Further reading


‘Her prose crackles with fresh metaphors and acute poetic observations…’ Annette Hughes, Newtown Review of Books

‘Preston writes with great tenderness for every character and, while real-life comparisons are easily made, Veda Gray is a magnificent creation in her own right.’ Rachel Power, The Saturday Paper

‘The triumph of this engaging novel is the voice of Owen, the boy narrator … His innocent observation makes for an original, poignant, and often hilarious take on the dilemmas of creative women and the roles that the patriarchy expects them to perform.’ Jane Sullivan, Australian Book Review

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