“Letters have made and destroyed me, enriched my life, established friendships, given some exactness to my thoughts when my world has crumbled, and, as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes have been misunderstood.”
“Letters to Huldah gives new meaning to the phrase ‘a life in letters’. Though dated from 1988 to 1994, Jill Hellyer’s letters to her former English teacher gradually reveal the story of her life. Orphaned at 12, she is brought up by maiden aunts and marries an older man who turns out to be both violent and a sex offender. Isolated in rural New South Wales, she raises three children – her two sons suffer mental and physical illnesses that lead to many battles with authorities. But through it all she is a writer, of poems and of amazing letters, which take us into her world, revealing joys as well as sorrows.”
—Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Webby AM
“Jill Hellyer has been, for many years, my personal poet laureate. Her poetry deserves—demands—attention—it’s magical. Few can breathe such life into words.”
—Phillip Adams AO
Jill Hellyer (1925-2012) was a poet, founding executive secretary of the Australian Society of Authors, and corresponded and was friends with many outstanding Australian and international writers. She was awarded an OAM in 2006 for her contribution to Australian poetry and her work for the ASA.
“Jill Hellyer's autobiography (1924-2012) provides plenty of “talking points” for a reviewer. Inter alia, it covers her crucial role in the fledgling Australian Society of Authors (ASA), her own writing, her dreadful marriage to an overbearing older man, her horrific struggles with one son's mental illness and another's physical handicap, the belated revelation of her daughter's sexual abuse, her years as a mental health activist, and her friendships. But only the most determined reader is likely to appreciate them. The book presents itself as a puzzle, as an obstacle course that perhaps mirrors Jill Hellyer's own life experiences.”
SUZANNE DIXON, Australian Women