The Book of Iris: A Life of Robin Hyde


Derek Challis

* NO LONGER IN PRINT – AUP no longer holds stock of this book.


‘. . . a compelling account of the life of a courageous and driven writer.’ – Anne Pender, Times Literary Supplement


This extraordinary biography of Robin Hyde (Iris Wilkinson) fills a major gap in our literary history.

The Book of Iris is a gripping and profoundly moving story which includes appalling accounts of hidden pregnancies, experience as a solo mother, dependence on drugs, intimate acquaintance with sexism and poverty, mental breakdown, an extraordinary trip in China during the Sino-Japanese war.

Hyde is revealed here, especially in her letters, as a feisty, witty, courageous woman rather than the languid and sentimental adolescent laughed at by contemporary male writers.



Derek Challis is Iris Wilkinson's son, whose care and nurture was an abiding concern of his mother. He had an unusual childhood, becoming in due course a sailor, a university technician and graduate, a teacher and a scientist.

Gloria Rawlinson (1918–95) was best known as a poet, publishing her first collection as a teenager. She edited Hyde's Houses by the Sea (1952).


December 2002, 240 x 170 mm, 800 pages, illustrations
Hardback, ISBN 9781869402679, $69.95