The Green Bell
by Paula Keogh
In 1972 Paula Keogh becomes a patient in M Ward, the psychiatric ward of a Canberra hospital. While there, she meets the poet Michael Dransfield. They fall wholly and boldly and ecstatically in love.
Paula discovers a self she thought she had lost, while Michael is inspired to write the poems that become The Second Month of Spring. Together they plan for ‘a wedding, marriage, kids – the whole trip’.
But M Ward is a liminal, purgatorial place – a twilight realm where patients endure the existential pain that is mental illness. Madness and grief challenge Paula and Michael’s luminous dream. Can their love survive?
The Green Bell is a lyrical and profoundly moving memoir about love and madness. A hymn to life. A requiem for lost friends. A coming of age story that takes a lifetime.
Shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction.
Longlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize.
‘A moving distillation of pain and joy, The Green Bell is quite simply one of the most beautifully written and wisest memoirs I have ever read.’ THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
‘A kind of radiance illuminates this beautiful book .’ THE GUARDIAN
‘The Green Bell [is] a memoir of remarkable eloquence and quiet candour … as much about love and hope as it is a critique of psychiatry.’ THE AGE
‘An intense firework of a book.’ KEVIN BROPHY
‘Keogh’s lyrical writing brings this story to life. Her descriptions of mental illness are unforgettable.’ READINGS MONTHLY
‘A brave and beautiful book. In 1972, Paula Keogh fell in love with Michael Dransfield, the most gifted poet of his generation. Her portrait of him – and the brief period they spent together – recaptures that time with remarkable freshness and insight.’ RODNEY HALL, two-time winner of the Miles Franklin
‘A courageous account of madness. Paula Keogh has brilliantly captured its creative exhilaration, illumination, grief and loss. She takes us on a deeply human search for integrity and meaning.’ KATE RICHARDS, author of Madness: A Memoir