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.
‘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.’
"A thirsty Scot's attempt to stay off the sauce for a year."
"I was completely engaged … Her approach is fresh and funny, artlessly open, and most importantly, accessible. She’s not interested in preaching to the masses but rather is on a mission to decipher her own complicated feelings … It is this candidness that makes her book so enjoyable."
"I loved the hell out of it."