by Kay Keavney (1921-1989)
“Working at white heat, 20,000 words a day can pour from her pen, yet the last thing on her mind is publication. This notable Australian writes because it is in her. Now returned from abroad she granted KAY KEAVNEY one of her rare interviews”

IF you saw her in the streets of the Sydney suburb of Hurstville, you’d hardly give the elderly woman a second glance.

You might notice her firm walker’s stride and erect back. You’d never guess, though, that this was Christina Stead, whose life and works your descendants might be studying a century from now.

Overseas, where she lived, loved, adventured and wrote for nearly 50 years, they compare her with the immortals: George Eliot, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Proust.

Few writers, let alone Australians, have been so praised in their own lifetime as this 74-year-old widow.

And none was ever harder to interview!

She’s courteous, urbane, articulate (in several languages) but even pricklier about privacy than her friend and admirer, Nobel Prizewinner Patrick White.

As she said in her deep voice: “All I’m interested in is the work.”

This interview was a rare privilege… [Continue reading here.]


Kay Keavney, “Christian Stead: Ranked with the immortals“, The Australian women’s weekly, 17 Nov 1976: 11. [work still in copyright]

Photo credit: Kevin Brown.

According to the author’s entry on the AustLit database, Kay Keavney was the youngest person and the first woman to be hired as a scriptwriter by Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC. She also published a crime/detective novel, The Barber (1961) under the pen-name, Kay Keane. Information about her screenwriting can be found here.