Maggie by Catherine Johns ISBN:9780733644719

Maggie by Catherine Johns

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A Catholic priest appears to promise the world; a schoolgirl starved for affection and looking to escape her violent home life – this is the story of MAGGIE.

In the autumn of 1967, seventeen-year-old Maggie Reed is dreaming of breaking free from her troubled family. All she has to do is move from childhood to adulthood. For her, university will be the key. Then, one morning after Mass, she meets the new curate, and is slowly drawn into a taboo relationship with the much older Father Nihill.

Bringing to life descriptions of 1960s Australia that are by turns starkly confronting and exquisitely beautiful, Maggie explores questions of power in a complex, forbidden relationship and reveals the strength of a young woman who both loses herself and finds herself anew.

‘Written with a poet’s sensibility, and with a stoicism that comes from experiencing humanity in all its complexity, Maggie already reads like a compelling, modern classic’ ALICE PUNG, OAM

‘This unforgettable story of a young woman navigating her way through a time of secrets, sin and society’s expectations is heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure. Maggie is the quiet hero of an extraordinary life’ AOIFE CLIFFORD

‘The compelling story of a talented young woman whose aspirations are crushed by first love and her brave journey through stigma and isolation back to strength. A powerful first novel’ KRISTIN WILLIAMSON

Maggie is an excellent novel about power, boundaries, entitlement, shame, stigma and isolation. Thought-provoking and extremely readable, it’s an extraordinary debut’ Better Reading

‘Thought-provoking and extremely readable, Maggie is an extraordinary debut’ Adelaide Advertiser

‘Beautifully written. Gorgeous, evocative, compelling.’ Canberra Times

‘Compelling’ Weekend Australian

‘A brilliant debut … Johns’ novel contains a vivid depiction of Australian society, and especially Catholic education, in the 1960s, an unsparing examination of both the damage and allure of pursuing a taboo relationship with a power imbalance, and it weaves in reflections (from a much older protagonist) that only a mature writer could make’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘An exquisite piece of literary fiction, compassionate, well observed and deftly constructed’ Living Arts Canberra

About the Author: Catherine Johns has taught English and French in Melbourne secondary schools, and English in TAFE. Her short stories have been published in Meanjin and Island Magazine. One of these was shortlisted for The Age short story competition. Maggie is her first novel. Catherine lives and writes in Melbourne.


Additional information


Paperback / softback


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

Readership Level

General (US: Trade)



Date of Publication

20 Nov 0202

Maggie by Catherine Johns ISBN 9780733644719

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