Troubling narratives of true crime: Helen garner's This House of Grief and Megan Norris's On Fathers Day

Rachel Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The story of three little boys who drowned in a dam on Father’s Day in 2005 is sad and shocking. After two long trials, Robert Farquharson was found guilty of the murders of his three sons and imprisoned for 33 years. This paper will examine works by two authors who tell this same story, each in a different way and from different perspectives. Helen Garner and Megan Norris both explore this tragic true crime by presenting two quite different grief narratives. Both are courtroom narratives that simultaneously question and explain the court system, but their respective examinations of grief, despair and fractured lives have resulted in two very different approaches. The article examines the narrative choices made by each author. It suggests that writers of such narratives bear a heavy responsibility towards the characters they portray as well as towards their readers, many of whom are not familiar with court processes and the criminal justice system.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalText: the journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs
VolumeSpecial Series
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • creative writing
  • true crime
  • grief narrative
  • murder
  • ethics
  • biography
  • Garner, Helen
  • Norris, Megan

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