This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Helen Garner’s first novel, Monkey Grip, which is set in the world of the inner-city Melbourne counter-culture of the mid 1970s. When the novel was awarded Australia’s National Book Council Award in October 1978, Garner had already begun working on the film script of Monkey Grip in collaboration with director Ken Cameron. The film didn’t go into production until 1981 and was released in mid-1982.
Meanwhile in 1980 the Melbourne community station 3RRR FM serialised the novel with the author reading her own text. Produced by Reece Lamshed and Grieg Pickhaver (of future Roy and HG fame), the reading was broadcast to the same alternative inner-city Melbourne audience whose world had been described in the novel. Listen to an extract below: