The deluxe edition of O’Neill’s beautiful biography Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret and Extraordinary Lives can be bought at good bookstores and online here.
Helen O’Neill’s Florence Broadhurst – Her Secret and Extraordinary Lives is the beautifully designed, fully illustrated, award-winning biography of murdered Sydney wallpaper designer Florence Broadhurst, one of Australia’s most colourful and eccentric creatives.
‘She lived her life like a spy – changing her appearance, her identity and her personal history time and time again,’ says O’Neill of a woman whose life was as vivid and surprising as her remarkable creations.
Florence Broadhurst has been published by Hardie Grant in a series of editions in Australia, the UK and the USA.
Florence Broadhurst – Her Secret and Extraordinary Lives won Book of the Year and Best Non-Fiction Book from the Australian Publishers Association. It was a finalist in the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism, the Australian Book Industry Award’s Biography of the Year, The Age‘s Book of the Year and the APA’s Best Cover of the Year.
Since O’Neill’s book hit the shelves Florence Broadhurst has experienced an international renaissance and a major reassessment. Having been forgotten and ignored for decades, Florence Broadhurst now has a worldwide following and is considered one of the most significant designers Australia has ever produced.
After her book’s publication O’Neill announced the re-discovery of a series of Florence Broadhurst designs believed to have been lost forever in an ABC TV special which follows O’Neill as she locates the designs and delivers them to the Powerhouse Museum, which holds an important collection of Broadhurst material.
The American release of O’Neill’s book lead to the luxury brand Kate Spade championing Florence Broadhurst and making her designs a key part of its entire range in 2012, stocked in every Kate Spade store – read the story here. Deborah Lloyd, Kate Spade’s creative director and president, wrote to O’Neill saying: “Thank you so much for writing the book that started this love affair.”
O’Neill has delivered public presentations on Florence Broadhurst in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and the UK, in venues as diverse as the National Library of Australia in Canberra, Sydney Writers’ Festival, the Menzies Centre at King’s College London, and London’s Sloan Square outlet of boutique store Kate Spade.
She has spoken at special events about Florence Broadhurst with Paulene Graham who worked with the late designer and is pictured with O’Neill in the image on the right.