About Jackie

I am a writer, with a PhD in creative writing from the University of New South Wales.

My debut autofiction novel ‘The Eulogy’ was released on 1 June 2022 by Hardie Grant Books. It won the NSW Premier’s Literary Multicultural Award 2023You can purchase a copy here.

I am a regular contributor to The Guardian, and have written for the Sydney Morning Herald, Artshub, Screenhub, Artlink, Online Opinion, Arts Professional UK, Cultural Trends, Australian Journal of Human Rights, and have contributed to publications on storytelling, love, death and dying.

I am currently working on a non-fiction book with the working title Sublime: Living As Though Life Matters, which sets out practical tools for how to lead a spiritual life without religion. From time to time I will include articles and excerpts and interesting research in my blog on this site.

I am an alumna of Varuna: The National Writers’ House, and have been published in various collections, including Love: Art, Music, Ideas, Politics; Global Storytelling; and Roots: Home is Who We Are.

For enquiries about my literary work, please contact literary agent Sarah McKenzie.

I also regularly appear at festivals and conduct interviews for media and podcasts about the writing life, spirituality, death and dying in a secular society.

Please use the contact form below if you would like to enquire about booking me for a speaking engagement.

 

With searing honesty and gentle humour, Jackie Bailey nails the complexity of familial love and the effects of intergenerational trauma. A remarkable, life-affirming meditation on grace and forgiveness.

Alice Pung

Author, 'One Hundred Days'

Jackie Bailey author headshot

My Author Bio

Jackie Bailey is a writer and independent funeral director, living and working on Dharawal country in the Illawarra. Her debut autofiction novel, The Eulogy, will be published by Hardie Grant Books in June 2022.

Jackie has received numerous awards for her work and has a PhD in Creative Writing. Jackie has a background in arts and creative industries research and has spearheaded work on justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the arts.

Jackie is also an ordained interfaith minister and is currently working on a book which explores how to live a spiritual but non-religious life. When she is not writing Jackie can be found bushwalking, hanging out with her husband and daughter, or helping families to navigate death and dying.

Trust Bailey to lead you through the combustible emotional landscape she has drawn so finely, and so wisely. A propulsive, powerful, important debut.

Sarah Krasnostein

Author, The Believer

Read a review

 

The Guardian’s Steph Harmon called my book a ‘a propulsive story of race, loss and love.’

Books + Publishing‘s Fay Helfenbaum called The Eulogy ‘sprawling and intimate,’ ‘a story that will stay with the reader long after the end.’

ArtsHub‘s Elizabeth Walton says that ‘The Eulogy will translate well to screen for whichever production house is fast and smart enough to secure the rights.’

Kill Your Darlings‘ Ellen Crogan says that ‘Bailey writes about the mechanics of death and the death industry with such authenticity, not letting her reader go without feeling something and also learning something.’

Better Reading reader preview verdict: The Eulogy is ‘a heartbreaking novel. Confronting. Messy. Uncomfortable. But, as its bright yellow cover suggests, it carries hope. I will marinade in this book for a long time to come.’

Have a listen

Sydney Writers Festival 2022, ‘What if my mum reads this?’ Panel with Benjamin Law, Sarah Malik, Cat Yen and Alana Hicks, 22 May 2022

ABC Illawarra Morning Show with Mel James, 2 June 2022

Kill Your Darlings First Book Club podcast, June 2022

Writes4Women podcast, New Release Feature Author: Dr Jackie Bailey, The Eulogy, 10 June 2022

The First Time podcast, Masters Series: Michael Christie & Featured Book: The Eulogy by Jackie Bailey, 20 June 2022

Deathwalkers’ Guide to Life podcast, Episode 7, ‘Death in Print,’ 7 August 2022

ABC Radio National’s The Bookshelf, broadcast 12 August 2022, podcast available

This Mortal Coil – ABC Nightlife, Walking with the Dying, broadcast 12 June 2022, podcast available

ABC Radio National’s God Forbid, broadcast 25 July 2021, podcast available

 

Buy 'The Eulogy' now!

The Eulogy is a literary page-turner from new Australian voice Jackie Bailey – a story about family, death and grief that is full of love, humour and life.

It’s winter in Logan, south-east Queensland, and still warm enough to sleep in a car at night if you have nowhere else to go. But Kathy can’t sleep. Her husband is on her blocked caller list and she’s running from a kidnapping charge, a Tupperware container of 300 sleeping pills in her glovebox. She has driven from Sydney to plan a funeral with her five surviving siblings (most of whom she hardly speaks to) because their sister Annie is finally, blessedly, inconceivably dead from the brain tumour she was diagnosed with twenty-five years ago, the year everything changed.
 
Kathy wonders – she has always wondered – did Annie get sick to protect her? And if so, from what?
 
In writing Annie’s eulogy, Kathy attempts to understand the tangled story of the Bradley family: from their mother’s childhood during the Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War Two and their father’s experiences in the Malayan conflict and the Vietnam War, to Annie’s cancer and disability, and the events that have shaped the person that Kathy is today. Ultimately, Kathy needs Annie to help her decide whether she will allow herself to love and be loved.
 
Jackie Bailey’s autofiction novel is an astounding debut, deftly weaving together storylines and relationships over decades, and will stay with readers long after the last page.

 

How do you summarise a loved one’s entire life in a couple of measly paragraphs? In The Eulogy — cleverly structured around a fictional instructional manual on how to write one — Jackie Bailey shows us what an impossible, absurd and even cruel task this can be.   

This raw and surprisingly funny auto-fictional account of one grieving woman’s attempt to make peace with her past is wide in its scope — racism, childhood trauma and mental health are recurrent themes — but there is a lightness and deftness of touch here that makes for an ultimately rewarding experience. As promised by a quote on the cover, your heart will be broken and put back together again. Bailey is an exciting new writer to watch. 

The Eulogy stood out from the other submissions for its ability to reveal vulnerability without ever becoming cloying, and its ability to tackle big themes without ever resorting to preaching. The result is a nuanced, accomplished novel that encourages readers to feel deeply and think broadly. 

Judges' Comments

NSW Premier's Literary Awards