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Autobiography or fiction? This question has shadowed the work of enigmatic Australian author Eve Langley since her first novel, The Pea Pickers, was published in 1942. Almost immediately after, Eve was committed to a mental asylum in Auckland where she remained for more than seven years, separated from her three young children. The Pea Pickers was based on Eve’s real-life experiences in the 1920s and tells the story of two feisty sisters who wander the Australian countryside dressed as men seeking work and adventure. Eve Langley and The Pea Pickers offers a biography that unravels the life and the fiction, and the result is a fascinating and ultimately poignant tale.
Helen Vines: For more than a decade, Helen Vines trawled the archives to accomplish what many have viewed as an impossible task: separating the facts from the fiction of Eve Langley’s life. Helen is a writer and editor who has been published in industry, education and union journals including Australian Educator and HR Monthly. Her first published creative essay was in Island Magazine and she co-authored Status and Reward: The History of Industrial Representation of Professional Engineers in Australia 1946–1996 (1996) with Dr Brian Lloyd. Helen completed a BA (Hons) and DipEd at the University of Melbourne, and an MA and PhD at the University of Tasmania.