Finola Moorhead


Finola Moorhead was born in 1947 in Mornington in Victoria into a Catholic family with Socialist leanings. Raised by a single mother, with two older sisters and a brother she attended boarding school before applying to the University of Melbourne. After starting a Law degree Finola transferred to the University of Tasmania in the midst of Vietnam War protests, where she was taught by James McAuley and tutored by Margaret Scott. In 1972 Finola attended the Adelaide Writer's Festival and met renown authors Judith Wright and Roger McKnight. Inspired she decided to become a writer herself, and upon completing her first story and play, sent them off to The Herald Short Story Competition and The Australian National Playwright's Conference, competitions, which they both won. Deciding at this point that she preferred writing to teaching, which she had been working in previously, Finola then travelled around Australia spending time with writers such as Dorothy Hewett, before accepting a position on Meanjin magazine, where she worked alongside A.A Phillips and Clem Christesen. After joining the post-modern school in the midst of the womens' liberation movement Finola continued writing, A Handwritten Modern Classic was released in 1983 by Post Neo, Quilt in 1985 by Sybylla. These were followed by Remember The Tarantella published by Primavera in 1987, which was inspired by Christina Stead's challenge that it was impossible to write interesting fiction without male characters. However, the publisher at Primavera would not release it without a publisher's note at the front, which gave his interpretation of the tarantella dance, which Finola did not support. After the initial release had covered publication costs it was withdrawn locally and overseas. This withdrawal was the basis of the landmark court case between the author and the publisher, which argued that a publishing contract implied distribution rather than restriction. Represented by the Communications Law Centre UNSW, Finola won the court case and Remember The Tarantella was re-released to great reviews.

Country of Origin