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Only Happiness Here:
In Search of Elizabeth von Arnim


Gabrielle Carey narrates a riveting journey through the life and work of one of last century’s most successful – and almost forgotten – women novelists, Elizabeth von Arnim.

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‘When I discovered Elizabeth von Arnim, I found, for the first time, a writer who wrote about being happy.’

Elizabeth von Arnim is one of the early twentieth century’s most famous – and almost forgotten – authors. She was ahead of her time in her understanding of women and their often thwarted pursuit of happiness. Born in Sydney in the mid-1800s, she went on to write many internationally bestselling novels, marry a Prussian Count and then an English Lord, develop close friendships with H.G. Wells and E.M. Forster, and raise five children.

Intrigued by von Arnim’s extraordinary life, Gabrielle Carey sets off on a literary and philosophical journey to learn about this bold and witty author. More than a biography, Only Happiness Here is also a personal investigation into our perennial obsession with finding joy.

Gabrielle Carey

Gabrielle Carey

Gabrielle Carey is a writer and author of ten books, including Moving Among Strangers: Randolph Stow and my family, which jointly won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Award for Non-Fiction and was shortlisted for the National Biography Award, and Falling Out of Love with Ivan Southall (2018). Her essay ‘Waking Up with James Joyce’ was chosen as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2019 edition. She teaches creative non-fiction at the University of Technology Sydney. In 2020 Carey was shortlisted for the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship for her work on Elizabeth von Arnim.