A book about the connections we form with literature and each other

Tegan Bennett Daylight has led a life in books – as a writer, a teacher and a critic, but first and foremost as a reader.

In this deeply insightful and intimate work, Daylight describes how her reading has nourished her life, and how life has informed her reading. In both, she shows us that it’s the small points of connection – the details – that really matter: what we notice when someone close to us dies, when we give birth, when we make friends. In life’s disasters and delights, the details are what we can share and compare and carry with us.

Daylight writes with invigorating candour and compassion about her mother’s last days; her own experiences of childbearing and its aftermath (in her celebrated essay ‘Vagina’); her long admiration of Helen Garner and George Saunders; and her great loves and friendships. Each chapter is a revelation, and a celebration of how books offer not an escape from ‘real life’ but a richer engagement with the business of living.

The result is a work that will truly deepen your relationship with books, and with other readers. The delight is in the details.

‘An intimate and wise celebration of the joy and solace we find in books.’ Books & Publishing

Reviews & interviews

Fiona Wright at Sydney Review of Books

Jeremy George at Readings

Stephen Romei on The Details

Justine Hyde at The Saturday Paper

Books & Publishing


Six Bedrooms is about growing up; about discovering sex; and about coming of age. Full of glorious angst, embarrassment and small achievements.Hot afternoons on school ovals, the terrifying promise of losing your virginity, sneaking booze from your mother’s pantry, the painful sophistication and squalor of your first share house, cancer, losing a parent.

Tegan Bennett Daylight’s powerful collection captures the dangerous, tilting terrain of becoming adult. Over these ten stories, we find acute portrayals of loss and risk, of sexual longing and wreckage, blunders and betrayals. Threaded through the collection is the experience of troubled, destructive Tasha, whose life unravels in unexpected ways, and who we come to love for her defiance, her wit and her vulnerability.

Stunningly written, and shot through with humour and menace, Six Bedrooms is a mesmerising collection of moments from adolescence through adulthood, a mix of all the potent ingredients that make up a life.

Reviews & interviews

Sydney Morning Herald – Peter Pierce
Readings – Chris Somerville
ABC Radio National – Michael Cathcart


Elizabeth has fallen in love in her early adulthood, but with a lack of conviction and disturbing results. A little damaged, in her late twenties she embarks on a new affair with Ross, a fellow academic at her university. Their relationship blooms and offers her protection and security, for which she’s been searching since she stopped being a child. She moves into his big, old, rambling family home by the Parramatta River and becomes pregnant. Then Ross’s father, who deserted the family as a child and for whom Ross only seems to feel hatred and bitterness, resurfaces. He is living in Spain, but he is dying. Elizabeth persuades Ross that the family should make a journey to see him, to make peace with him and to show him Anna – their new daughter. But their holiday lays bare discomfiting truths and frailties, both in their relationship and each other. Bennett Daylight unfolds Ross and Elizabeth’s love affair, and the joy and pain of motherhood, with wonderful sensitivity in a captivating story written in her characteristically spare, limpid prose.

Reviews & interviews

Sydney Morning Herald – Conrad Walters
The Age – Michelle Griffin
Sydney Morning Herald – Erin O’Dwyer

what falls away WHAT FALLS AWAY

In tight, beautiful prose, Tegan Bennett’s long awaited second novel, What Falls Away, touchingly explores a relationship that somehow, someway, has drifted apart despite the existence of love.

Each day one of them, both of them, added something more to the silence. Carefully, slowly, patiently, they were building a great structure out of it, an intricate structure. Mary participated in the work but wondered, sometimes, if they would have the skill and the tools to dismantle it. It was beginning to block doorways in their own house, to climb up towards the windows, to reach into the garden.

Mary doesn’t quite know what’s changed since the birth of her first child, but she and Sean don’t talk any more. While Sean simply shuts down, hoping things will fix themselves, Mary turns to Juliet, her best friend, for comfort. What Falls Away is an astutely observed, intricately fascinating exploration of the ways in which-sometimes without even noticing-we let silence take over our lives.

Book of the year, Best Young Australian Novelists – Sydney Morning Herald