MS 7993

Papers of Gillian Bouras


Creator: Bouras, Gillian, 1945-

Title:Papers of Gillian Bouras

Date range: 1963-2001

Reference number:MS 7993

Extent: 1.12m (8 boxes)

Administrative Information


Restricted until access determined


The collection has been purchased in instalments from Bouras in 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000 and 2001.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains a large amount of personal correspondence, which comprises letters written by Bouras to her family and the letters of family and friends to Bouras.  Bouras' letters in particular provide an insight into the cultural adjustments required in settling into life in a traditional Greek village.  There is also a small amount of business correspondence with publishers and her literary agent, Curtis Brown, concerning publication of her books and with the Council of Adult Education in Melbourne for which she has worked.

The remainder of the papers relate to Bouras' written works and include drafts, correspondence and reviews of her books, letters from readers, typescripts of published and unpublished stories and typescripts of papers she has presented at conferences.  There is also a scrapbook containing letters, published short stories and articles for the period 1980-1988.


The instalments of papers have been arranged into series by the Library. 

Biographical note

Gillian Bouras was born in Melbourne in 1945 and from 1967 to 1980 worked as a secondary school teacher of English. In 1980 Bouras went with her husband, George Bouras, and her children to live in Greece.

Bouras published her first book, A foreign wife, in 1986. It is an autobiographical account of her life as a foreign wife in Greece, coming to terms with Greek culture and society. She has continued to explore the theme of cultural identity in further publications, both autobiographical and fictional, since this date.

In addition to her published books, Bouras has contributed short stories and articles to newspapers and journals, presented papers at conferences and participated in literary events. In 1981 she completed her thesis on the life of her grandfather for a Master of Education entitled School teacher in Victoria: the biography of Arthur John Hicks. She has also worked with the Council of Adult Education (CAE) in Melbourne, preparing discussion notes for CAE book groups.

Bouras divides her time between London and Greece.

Bouras' published works include:

A foreign wife, Melbourne, McPhee Gribble/Penguin, 1986

A fair exchange, Melbourne, McPhee Gribble, 1991

Aphrodite and others, Melbourne, McPhee Gribble, 1994

A stranger here, Melbourne and New York, Penguin, 1996

Starting again, Melbourne, Penguin, 1999

Saving Christmas, Brisbane, University of Queensland Press, 2000

Series List

Series Title

Personal correspondence, 1963-2001

Business correspondence, 1976-2000

Journals, 1975-1981


Scrapbook, 1980-1988

A foreign wife, 1984-1994

A fair exchange, 1990-1992

Aphrodite and others, 1992-1996

A stranger here, 1995-1996

Starting again, 1999

Saving Christmas, 1997-2000

Other writings, 1996-2000

Series Description

Series 1 Personal correspondence, 1963-2001

This series comprises original letters written by Bouras to her family and letters to Bouras from family and friends. The letters written by Bouras document her experiences as an Australian migrant adjusting to Greek society and contain domestic news, accounts of children's activities, travel, weather, landscape and Greek history, customs and politics. Bouras' academic and literary pursuits receive lesser attention. Also included are letters from Bouras' grandfather, Arthur John Hicks, concerning country life, education and recollections of the University of Melbourne during the 1920s and 1930s. Other correspondents include Nance Donkin, Lesleyanne Hawthorne, Jaqueline Ganitzer (sister), Margery Hicks (mother), Stephen Hicks (brother), William Hicks (father) and Helmut and Annemarie Pincus.


1 Letters and postcards written by Bouras to her family while on holiday in Greece, 1975-1976

2-6 Letters from Bouras to her parents, 1977-1982

7 Letters from Bouras to her sister, 1975-1981

8 Letters to Bouras from her grandfather, 1963-1966

9 Postcards from friends, 1984-1988

10 Letters from Bouras' parents to her sister, 1967-1990

11 Letters from Nance Donkin, 1985-1991

Letters from Lesleyanne Hawthorne, 1985-1987

12 Postcards written by Bouras, 1997-1998

Postcards from friends, 1998-1999

13 Letters from Bouras' father, 1996-2001

14 Letters from Bouras' brother and his family, 1998-1999

Letters from friends, 1997-2001

15 Postcards from family and friends, 1980-2001

16 Postcards from family and friends, 1980-1985

17 Letters from Helmut and Annemarie Pincus, 1981-1992

Series 2 Business correspondence, 1976-2000

This series comprises business correspondence relating to the editing and publishing of Bouras' books, reprints of her work, articles for publication, appearances at literary events and her work preparing discussion notes for Council of Adult Education (CAE), Melbourne, book groups. There are letters from readers and correspondence with her literary agent, Curtis Brown, and relating to research for her Master of Education thesis entitled School teacher in Victoria: the biography of Arthur John Hicks. Correspondents include Australian Literary Management, The Bulletin, Imago, Omnibus Books, Penguin Australia and the University of Queensland Press.


1 Research for thesis, 1976-79

2 Correspondence, 1985-2000


3Correspondence relating to Bouras' work with the Council of Adult Education in Melbourne, 1996-1999

4 Letters, mainly from readers, 1996-2000

Series 3 Journals 1975-1981

This series contains two journals kept by Bouras, which document her early trips to Greece.


1 Journal, December 1975 January 1976

2 Diary of a visit to Greece from December 1977 to January 1978, and the beginning of a long period living in a small village in the Peloponnese, July 1980 - May 1981. Topics covered include travel, concerts, funerals and visits to relatives of Bouras' husband.

Series 4 Photographs

Labelled negatives of photographs of Bouras' father, William John Hicks, and his sister, Violet Fay, c1922 and scenes of Strath Creek, Victoria.

1 folder

Series 5 Scrapbook, 1980-88

A scrapbook containing letters, published short stories and articles by Bouras, reviews of her books, cuttings relating to Greek culture and invitations to events.

1 item

Series 6 A foreign wife, 1984-1994

Bouras' first published book is an autobiographical account of her experiences moving to live in a small Greek village with her husbands family. Entitled A foreign wife, it was published by McPhee Gribble/Penguin, Melbourne in 1986. Papers in this series include edited manuscript and typescript, correspondence with publishers and letters from readers.

1 Draft manuscript

2 Draft typescript, letters, cuttings and notes, 1985-1986

3-6 Letters from readers, 1986-1994

Series 7 A fair exchange, 1990-1992

A fair exchange continues Bouras' autobiographical account of her life in Greece, and was published by McPhee Gribble, Melbourne in 1991. Included in this series are notes, a draft manuscript, edited typescript and letters from readers.


1 Notebook containing draft manuscript and notes

2 Edited typescript (179pp)

3 Correspondence, 1990-1992

Series 8 Aphrodite and others, 1992-1996

This series comprises papers relating to Bouras' book Aphrodite and others, published by McPhee Gribble, Melbourne in 1994. Included are a draft manuscript and letters from readers


1 Draft manuscript (95pp), 1992

2 Letters from readers, 1995-1996

Series 9 A stranger here, 1995-1996

A stranger here is Bouras' semi-autobiographical novel published by Penguin, Melbourne and New York in 1996. Papers in this series include correspondence with Penguin regarding publication, notes, an edited typescript and reviews.


1 Three exercise books containing notes on themes, characters, drafts and revisions, 1995

2 Edited typescript (133pp)

3 Edited typescript of second draft (210pp)

4 Edited typescript (251pp)

5 Photocopy of edited typescript (225pp)

6 Correspondence with Penguin, 1996

Reviews, 1996

Series 10 Starting again, 1999

Contained in this series are papers relating to Bouras' autobiographical book Starting again, published by Penguin, Melbourne in 1999. Included is correspondence with Penguin and Curtis Brown and reviews.

1 folder

Series 11 Saving Christmas, 1997-2000

Saving Christmas, a children's novel incorporating Greek mythology and culture, was published by the University of Queensland Press, Brisbane in 2000. This series contains correspondence with Penguin, University of Queensland Press and Curtis Brown regarding publication, edited manuscript and typescript, edited proofs and reviews.


1 Correspondence with publishers, 1997-1999

Edited proofs

2 Correspondence, 1999

3 Notes and draft manuscript and typescript

4 Correspondence with publishers, 1997-2000

Edited typescript (31pp)

Reviews, 2000

Series 12 Other writings, 1996-2000

This series contains drafts of published and unpublished short stories by Bouras, papers presented at conferences and a review by Bouras of Kate Greenwood's book Medea.

1 Notebook containing drafts entitled Persephone's village, 1981 and a typescript of the work, which was eventually published in Overland, 102, May 1986

2 Manuscript and published version of a short story entitled Saints and heroes, 1990

3 Typescripts of published and unpublished short stories, conference papers and review of Greenwood's novel Medea

4 Book dicussion notes authored by Bouras and published by the centre for adult education (43 in total)

Box List





















































List of instalments:

Date Series/Folder number
September 1994 1/1-8, 3/1-2, 4/1, 6/1-2, 8/1
25 September 1995 2/1, 7/1-2
12 February 1997 9/1-3
9 May 1997 6/3-5, 9/4-5
23 November 2000 9/6, 11/1, 12/1-3
16 January 2001 1/9, 5/1
19 February 2001 1/10-11, 2/1, 6/6, 7/3, 8/2, 11/2
1 May 2001 1/12, 2/1, 10/1, 11/2
6 August 2001 1/13-14, 2/2-3, 9/6, 11/2
9 October 2001 1/15, 11/3-4
19 October 2001 1/16-17
22 March 2004 12/4

1995. Updated June 2002 Ammended 21/01/2010