Tara Moss, author of The Fictional Woman, labels John Purcell (literally)

by |May 16, 2014

Tara Moss has always been a great friend to Booktopia, so for her latest visit we wanted to do something for her. Taking inspiration from her first work of non-fiction The Fictional Woman, Tara and Booktopia’s John Purcell discussed the labels that dominate all of our lives, and in the vein of the amazing cover for The Fictional Woman, Tara drew John’s labels on him for all to see.

John Purcell’s review of Tara’s new book, The Fictional Woman: I am reading this book now. It is much more than a memoir, Tara takes on the many issues facing women today. From equality in the workplace to motherhood, from the place of advertising in our lives today to the way we tell each other stories, this is a book which needs to be read by men and women. Well written, clearly argued, informative, powerful and thought provoking. Forget everything you thought you knew about Tara Moss, with The Fictional Woman, Tara sets the record straight and takes her place as one of our generations great commentators.

Check out our behind the scenes video of the shoot:

The Fictional Woman

by Tara Moss

Tara Moss has worn many labels in her time, including ‘author’, ‘model’, ‘gold-digger’, ‘commentator’, ‘inspiration’, ‘dumb blonde’, ‘feminist’ and ‘mother’, among many others.

Now, in her first work of non-fiction, she blends memoir and social analysis to examine the common fictions about women. She traces key moments in her life – from small-town tomboy in Canada, to international fashion model in the 90s, to bestselling author taking a polygraph test in 2002 to prove she writes her own work – and weaves her own experiences into a broader look at everyday sexism and issues surrounding the underrepresentation of women, modern motherhood, body image and the portrayal of women in politics, entertainment, advertising and the media.

Deeply personal and revealing, this is more than just Tara Moss’s own story. At once insightful, challenging and entertaining, she asks how we can change the old fictions, one woman at a time.


Grab a copy of The Fictional Woman here

From the SMH: Tara Moss: ‘I kept the story locked up in me for 20 years’

The Fictional WomanA few things Tara Moss has done recently: finished writing her 10th book, broken news about the alleged murder of an asylum seeker on Manus Island, worked as an ambassador for UNICEF, spoken publicly about feminism, children’s rights and breastfeeding, promoted her best-selling crime fiction in Spain, celebrated her 40th birthday, researched her doctoral thesis and put on a snake show at her daughter’s third birthday party. So she’s a little tired of being described as a model who – amazingly! – writes books, and sometimes as a bimbo, a whore or worse. She’s almost as impatient with admirers who see her as a perfect vision of success, beauty and happiness. Enough with superficial labels.

Determined as I am to avoid them, it is hard not to take a sharp breath as Moss emerges from her sprawling weatherboard house in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney; a long-limbed, ageless Amazon in jeans, boots and black camisole, a peacock feather tattooed on her arm, her red lips and nails neon warning signs in the misty rain. Read Literary Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, Susan Wyndham’s full interview with Tara Moss here

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Grab a copy of The Fictional Woman here

1 Comment Share:

About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

Follow Andrew: Twitter


  • Nina Jaffe

    June 1, 2014 at 10:26 am

    While Tara Moss makes some valid points (albeit not original ones) in The Fictional Woman, they are repeated over and over again, interspersed with the reminder that she is more than just a model and that she has taken a polygraph to prove she writes her own books.
    The Fictional Woman takes us to new levels of shallowness and inanity, under the banner of feminism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *