JOAN LINDSAY was born Joan à Beckett Weigall in Melbourne, Australia, in 1896. She attended Clyde Girls Grammar School, the model for Appleyard College in Picnic at Hanging Rock, and the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, where she studied painting. On Valentine’s Day 1922 she married Daryl Lindsay in London. She chose Valentine’s Day 1900 as the setting for Picnic at Hanging Rock, her best-known work, which was first published in 1967 and is the basis for the 1975 film of the same name by Peter Weir. She died in Melbourne in 1984.
It was a cloudless summer day in the year 1900. Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of the secluded volcanic outcropping. Farther, higher, until at last they disappeared. They never returned. . . .
Haunting, mysterious, and subtly erotic, Picnic at Hanging Rock inspired the iconic 1975 film of the same name by Peter Weir. A beguiling masterpiece of Australian literature, it stands with Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca as a masterpiece of otherworldly intrigue.
“Pure magic. Every fashion film and NYU undergraduate thesis takes its cues from this lyrical masterpiece. In college I tried to make a satirical remake entitled Lunchtime at Dangling Boulder, but all my actors slept too late.” —Lena Dunham, on the film adaptation
“A sinister tale… laced with touches of other-worldliness” —The Guardian
“Deliciously horrific.” —The Observer
“The fact that most people believed that this palpable fiction was a record of a real event is not merely a tribute to the writer… but a testimony to the atavistic power of its theme.” —The Spectator
“Beautifully haunting.” —The Sun Herald (Australia)