Jill will publish her second book Happy Never After: Why the Happiness Fairytale is Driving Us Mad in this event
Happy Never After
Jill Stark was living the dream. She had a coveted job as a senior journalist, she was dating a sports star, and her first book had just become a bestseller. After years of chasing the fairytale ending, she’d finally found it. And then it all fell apart.
Getting her happy-ever-after plunged Jill into the darkest period of her life, forcing her to ask if she’d been sold a lie. What if all the things that she’d been told would make her happy were red herrings? Could it be that the relentless pursuit of happiness was making her miserable?
From the ashes of Jill’s epic breakdown comes this raw, funny, and uplifting exploration of our age of anxiety. Charting her own life-long battles with mental-health problems, Jill asks why, in a western world with more opportunity, choice, and wealth than ever before, so many of us are depressed, anxious, and medicated. When we’ve never had more ways to connect, why do we feel so profoundly disconnected?
Happy Never After is a soul-searching journey from despair to clarity and a forensic examination of our troubled times. Road-testing neuroscience’s latest psychological frontiers in compassion, acceptance, gratitude, play, hope and solitude, Jill turns the happiness fairytale on its head, and swaps the ‘quick fix’ approach to mental ill health for the long road back to herself.
In the end, Jill has a hard-earned question for us. We’re all looking for answers. We all want the happy-ever-after. What would happen if we stopped chasing, stayed still, and found calm and meaning in places we least expected?
Johann Hari, author of Lost Connections
"A moving, insightful analysis of our collective pain and how we can heal. Australia needs this book."
Hugh Mackay, author of The Good Life
"Funny, wise, poignant and compelling, Happy Never After is a brilliant intersection between searing personal experience and the wisdom of the elders: nothing brings us closer to despair than the relentless pursuit of our own happiness.
Susan Carland, author of Fighting Hislam: Women, Faith And Sexism
"This is a book we need. Highly, highly recommended. Puts a deft finger on many things that I guarantee have been quietly troubling you for a while. A book for our times."
Jill’s first book, High Sobriety: My Year Without Booze, is a best-selling memoir exploring Australia and Scotland’s binge drinking culture, set against the backdrop of her own tumultuous relationship with alcohol.
Released in 2013, it was shortlisted in the Kibble Literary Awards and longlisted in the Walkley Book of the Year Awards. Launched in Australia and the United Kingdom, High Sobriety was critically acclaimed and followed five years of reporting on alcohol issues for The Age and Sunday Age. This reporting led to Jill winning the National Drug and Alcohol Awards excellence in media award in 2008 and again in 2011.
This lively memoir charts Jill’s tumultuous year on the wagon, as she copes with the stress of the newsroom sober, tackles the dating scene on soda water, learns to watch the footy minus beer, and deals with censure from friends and colleagues, who tell her that a year without booze is ‘a year with no mates’.
In re-examining her habits, Jill also explores Australia’s love affair with alcohol, meeting alcopop-swigging teens who drink to fit in, beer-swilling blokes in a sporting culture backed by booze, and marketing bigwigs blamed for turning binge drinking into a way of life.
High Sobriety is a funny, moving, and insightful exploration of why we drink, how we got here, and what happens when we turn off the tap.
Praise for High Sobriety
‘It’s hard not to recommend this book: from teenagers experimenting with their first taste to those who’ve been imbibing for decades, many will find Stark’s story illuminating, touching, and memorable.’
‘An important book’
ABC’S THE BOOK SHOW
‘Why does drinking and getting drunk underpin every personal and professional activity from cradle to grave? Stark tells her story with courage, honesty, and humour, while making an important contribution to the debate about alcohol’s place in society. Four Stars.’
‘A brave and lively memoir … Stark writes powerfully, and with absorbing and intricate detail, about her alcohol-free odyssey … [she is] a feisty, richly talented writer.’
ROSS FITZGERALD,CANBERRA TIMES
‘A sobering, and distinctly inspiring, glimpse of what Australia might look like without a hangover … Stark writes with honesty and unnerving clarity. Over its pages, the reader gradually comes to understand not just that Aussies don’t like to give up the drink, but that we don’t like it when our mates do, either.’
‘It's hard not to recommend this book: from teenagers experimenting with their first taste to those who've been imbibing for decades, many will find Stark's story illuminating, touching, and memorable.’
Join Jill in conversation with ABC Radio National’s Paul Barclay at the launch of her new book Happy Never After: Why The Happiness Fairytale Is Driving Us Mad (And How I Flipped The Script).
On Getting Happy
Join Jill Stark with Nikki Gemmell at the Brisbane Writers Festival for a discussion around On Quiet, and Jill’s insightful new book Happy Never After.