About Maureen Helen

As a child, I imagined my life would involve a writing career. But it did not turn out as I expected. Instead I trained as a nurse and midwife. From there my career took off on a different, often fascinating trajectory.

I’ve worked as a hospital and community nurse. I’ve been a university tutor and the night manager in a tertiary hospital. After my six children left home, adventure called me to a job on a remote Aboriginal community. I’ve also managed a family counselling agency in a country town. Eventually, I became  the chief executive officer of a non-government agency in Perth. The agency advocates for residents in aged care facilities and for people in danger of elder abuse.

It took thirteen years as an external student to complete my first degree (a BA Social Science). During that time, I worked to support my children as a sole parent. After that, graduate diplomas in women’s studies and counselling and then a Master of Arts (Writing) degree seemed easy.

At sixty-five, I retired from the full-time paid workforce. Obviously a late bloomer,  I had the good fortune to be accepted into a PhD (Writing) program at Edith Cowan University. It was the first time I’d ever been a full-time student, and I loved it. I finished my PhD in 2006.

Since then, I’ve published two books, Other People’s Country: an Australian outback adventure (2006, reprinted 2015) and Elopement: a Memoir (2015)

I eloped with my second husband in 2007. We were seventy years old.

About my interests

As well as writing, there are many things about which I’m passionate. First come my husband and large and rapidly growing family. Already large, my family is still growing as great-grandchildren are born and some of my children and grandchildren introduce new family members as they marry. The birth of my fifth great-grandchild brought the tally of my direct descendants to thirty!

My youngest grandson, Edward Linton on a rug I crotcheted for his sister. (Photo by Louisa Nancarrow)

My youngest grandson, Edward Linton on a rug I crotcheted for his sister. (Photo by Louisa Nancarrow)

My home and garden are high on the list. Then come, in no special order,  literature; language; travel; France and all things French; art; music; theatre; Benedictine spirituality; social justice and human rights; women’s rights; Aboriginal culture, preventative health and welfare; the rights of older people; prevention of abuse; Australian Rules Football; craft; food – and anything else that attracts my attention!

I still write, as I have always done. Sometimes, in between travelling with my husband and enjoying our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I facilitate workshops for writers.

I live in Perth, Western Australia.