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Pub Date: 27/10/2016

Extent: 384pp

Format: paperback

ISBN: 9781925355413

Rights: World: Text Publishing

  • Winner, Nielsen BookData Booksellers Choice Award, 2016
  • Winner, Book of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards, 2016
  • Winner, Biography of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards, 2016
  • Winner, Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, 2016
  • Winner, Indie Award for Non-Fiction, 2016
  • Winner, Victorian Community History Award Judges’ Special Prize, 2016
  • Shortlisted, Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards, 2016
  • Shortlisted, Dobbie Literary Award, 2016
  • Shortlisted, National Biography Award, 2016

Heartbreaking, joyous, traumatic, intimate and revelatory, Reckoning is the book where Magda Szubanski, one of Australia’s most beloved performers, tells her story.

In this extraordinary memoir, Magda describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood, haunted by the demons of her father’s espionage activities in wartime Poland and by her secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family. With courage and compassion she addresses her own frailties and fears, and asks the big questions about life, about the shadows we inherit and the gifts we pass on.

Honest, poignant, utterly captivating, Reckoning announces the arrival of a fearless writer and natural storyteller. It will touch the lives of its readers.


'A brave and tender book about everything that matters most in life.’ Cate Blanchett

Reckoning is a riveting, overwhelmingly poignant autobiography by a woman of genius…It is an extraordinary hymn to the tragic heroism at the heart of ordinary life and the soaring moral scrutiny of womankind. Every library should have it, every school should teach it.’ Weekend Australian

It is impossible not to be moved…Let’s hope Szubanski writes more. She shines just as brightly as a serious writer as she does as a comedian.’ Guardian, Best Australian Books of 2015

With its hints of nostalgia, raw honesty, compassion, and a good amount of bravery, Szubanski’s Reckoning reflects on the truths we hide and the realities we cannot ignore as we develop into and through our adult lives.’ Conversation

‘Sensitive and searching, colourful and vividly composed…stylish and accomplished.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘Nearly every memoir is described as “brave” these days but Szubanski has earned the word…The result of her efforts is an affecting story of family intimacy – soulfully and sensitively told.’ Saturday Paper

‘[Reckoning] reveals [Magda] to be an extraordinarily rare talent — somebody with first-rate emotional and comedic instincts as well as a fierce intellect which would allow her to succeed in any academic task she’d set herself…This is a book which will be good for the soul of anybody who reads it.’ Daily Review

‘[Reckoning is] a page-turner…The quality of a memoir depends on how interesting a life the person writing it has had and Szubanski doesn’t appear to do dull. She is articulate and likeable as she tries to reconcile herself with the many difficult aspects of her past.’ New Zealand Herald

Reckoning isn’t simply a collection of anecdotes, though – it is so much more. Sharp, beautiful, a must-read.’ Canberra Weekly

‘Magda’s memoir is a moving exploration of her relationship with her Polish Resistance hero father…Reckoning is a quest and, in a sad but satisfying way, Magda does find what she’s seeking.’ Australian Women’s Weekly

Compelling author, compelling premise, compelling writing.’ Graeme Simsion, Age/Sydney Morning Herald, Best Books of 2015

‘Magda Szubanski’s brave, compassionate — and hilarious — Reckoning may be some sort of masterpiece of the form.’ Australian, Best Books of 2015

‘Magda Szubanski blew us away with her writing chops in this remarkable, fearless and deeply personal memoir.’ Booktopia, Books of the Year 2015

‘A moving and grave account of how a great comedian plumbed the enigma of her father’s activities as a Polish wartime resistance hero.’ Peter Craven, Australian, Best Books of 2015

‘[Szubanski] captures wonderfully well the strange dissonance of history.’ Sophie Cunningham, Australian, Best Books of 2015

‘It is so refreshing to read an autobiography by a skilful character actor who is also in her own, non-stereotypical way, a role model for your average Aussie…The book will endure, just as Szubanski herself has.’ Same Same