One Life

My Mother's Story

Kate Grenville

She was like those girls who learned to dance with other girls, taking turns to be the man. They never got the hang of following, once they knew what it was like to lead
One Life by Kate Grenville (Paperback ISBN 9781782116875) book cover

Available as Paperback, eBook

This vivid, intimate, narrative memoir celebrates the life of best-selling and award-winning novelist Kate Grenville’s mother. Now a gorgeous paperback

‘Clear, authentic and utterly engaging … it is as successful as it is authentic’ Independent on Sunday

Born to an unhappy marriage and into a deeply sexist society, Nance Russell worked hard for everything she had, and while the world changed around her, she went on to university, to opening businesses and raising a family. One Life is Nance’s story - and many other women’s too - beautifully captured by her daughter, the bestselling novelist Kate Grenville. Kate draws on the tales passed down to her to create an evocative portrait of life in twentieth-century rural Australia, and a deeply intimate and caring homage to a mother.


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“A work of imaginative sympathy, it is as successful as it is audacious … Clear, authentic and utterly engaging … A microcosm for the changes taking place on the world stage in the period spanned”
independent On Sunday

“Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s finest writers … her great skill as a writer is to take the barest of biographical details and spin them into something of intricate moral complexity”

“A compelling read … very moving … Grenville’s feminist instincts, which run quietly through her life and writing, built on her mother’s example”
sydney Morning Herald

“Grenville inhabits characters with a rare completeness … She writes with a poet’s sense of rhythm and imagery”

Kate Grenville

Kate Grenville’s bestselling novel The Secret River received the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The Idea of Perfection won the Orange Prize. Grenville’s other novels include Sarah Thornhill, The Lieutenant, Lilian’s Story, Dark Places and Joan Makes History.

Kate Grenville introduces One Life