Doris Brett

Philomella cvrAuthor and Poet

Doris Brett, born in 1950, is a Clinical Psychologist and writer who is married, has one daughter and lives in Melbourne, Australia. She has published eight books ranging from poetry to novels to therapeutic storytelling for children. Her debut work of middle-grade fiction, Philomella and the Impossible Forest, was published by HardieGrant Books in April 2023.

(Philomella is) 'exactly the hero we need right now. Facing a variety of dangers and challenges with a large amount of empathy and creativity, Philomella acts as a timely reminder not to underestimate kindness in the face of danger, and the importance of looking beneath the surface of those around us.'
~ BEC KAVANAGH, Books+Publishing

'Brett leaves no question that this story will be a fast-paced adventure; Philomella finds herself dragged into a magical world within the first few pages of the novel, and the story doesn’t slow down. I loved the glimpses we got of Philomella’s ‘real’ life interspersed throughout the story – Brett uses Philomella’s internal conflicts to enhance the magical ones she faces, and vice-versa. The lessons never feel heavy-handed, and readers will find themselves engrossed and captivated with Philomella and her friends. It’s empathy, kindness, and compassion that make Philomella (and this story) memorable and special. Perfect for readers 10+.'
~ JENNIFER FRAIOLI, Readings Reviewer

Her latest work of non-fiction, The Sunday Story Club, was co-written with Kerry Cue ( and published in 2019 by Pan Macmillan in Australia. For International rights outside of Australia and New Zealand contact Golvan Arts Management ( Doris Brett and Kerry Cue ran Story Clubs – places where people, many of whom have never met before, come together to talk, laugh and think about their lives. The stories that emerge in these Story Clubs – courageous, hysterical, moving, inspiring, large and small - are the ones that we have all lived but rarely get to share. In this book some of these stories are shared, along with the inside knowledge on how to run a Story Club.


The Twelfth Raven was published in March 2014 by UWA Publishing (University of Western Australia). The Twelfth Raven is a literary journey through a series of life-threatening health crises involving two of the leading causes of death and disability in Australia - heart disease and stroke.

The Age reported on 3 November 2012 that there are about 350,000 Australians living with stroke. Most of the book is written from the point of view of the carer (Doris' husband, Martin was the patient), but to round things off, in the final section, Doris becomes the patient again as she is diagnosed with the faulty BrCa gene (which gives a lifetime 87% chance of developing breast cancer and a 40% chance of ovarian cancer) and opts to have a preventative mastectomy and reconstruction. This section as well as resonating with the many thousands of women having mastectomies in Australia also opens up the area which a growing number of people are having to address - medical science's increased ability to detect faulty genes and the difficult issues of what to do about them.

'In The Twelfth Raven, poet and psychologist Doris Brett confronts these threats with honesty and clarity. The result is an illness memoir as memorable as Eating the Underworld (2001), her remarkable book about ovarian cancer.'

~ RACHEL ROBERTSON, Australian Book Review

See the full review here.

EatingTheUnderworldEating the Underworld – a memoir in three voices, was published in September 2001 by Random House. Evocatively told via three voices – the diarist, the poet and the voice of fairy tale and myth – this memoir explores the intricate dynamics of family, truth and memory.

Her first volume of poetry, The Truth About Unicorns, won both the Fellowship of Australian Writers Anne Elder Award and the A.S.A.L. Mary Gilmore Award. Looking for Unicorns, her first novel, was published by New Endeavor Press in 1993. In the Constellation of the Crab, Doris’s latest book of poetry. was published by Hale & Iremonger in 1996. This collection includes award winning poems about women’s cancer (Winner: 1995 Northern Territory Premier’s Poetry Award, 1994 Queensland Premier’s Poetry Award, the 1994 F.A.W. John Shaw Neilson Award. Short listed: the 1997 NBC “Banjo” Awards for Australian Literature) and fascinating reinterpretations of fairy tales.

Brett's books of therapeutic storytelling for children, Annie Stories and More Anne Stories, were published in a number of territories including Australia, USA, Germany, Poland, Russia and Korea. Both titles are now out of print and Brett is at present working on combining both titles into an expanded and updated edition for a new generation of children.