Vale: Shirley Barrett, screenwriter, director and novelist

Acclaimed director and screenwriter Shirley Barrett has died aged 60.

She is known for her television and film work, including her first feature film. serenade of lovewho received the Camera d’Or at Cannes in 1996.

His daughter Emmeline Norris has confirmed that her mother died in her sleep around 8am on Wednesday August 3 at her Sydney home surrounded by family, after succumbing to metastatic breast cancer, with which she was diagnosed in 2017.

In a social media post yesterday, Norris described Barrett as “not only a brilliant filmmaker and writer, but above all a loving mother to me and my sister, our father’s lifelong soulmate and best friend one can ask”.

Born in Melbourne, Barrett moved to Sydney in the mid-80s to attend AFTRS, then wrote and directed short films. Cherith in his final year, a project that won him the Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award for Best Short Fiction.

After directing episodes of bush boys, Raised from heartacheand police rescueshe turned to feature films with serenade of lovea story about two sisters, played by Mirando Otto and Rebecca Frith, in an Australian country town who develop a fierce and competitive crush on their new neighbor (George Shevtsov).

Four years later, Barrett released her second film, From words to deedsa comedy about a talent agent (Salvatore Coco) who uses government compensation from his paraplegic girlfriend to fund his quest to resurrect the career of a faded club singer.

She continued to show her talent as a director on the small screen with love my waybefore collaborating again with Otto on his third feature film, Southern Lonelya 2010 romantic drama about a single woman who moves to a remote lighthouse with her uncle and a caretaker.

Since then, Barrett has directed episodes of Packed to the rafters, wild boys, stay-at-home husbands, Mr and Mrs Murder, natural child, Winter, A place to call home, Offspringon which she was also a writer, Far from homeand Five bedrooms.

The prolific creator has also published two novels – 2014 Rushing Oh! and 2018 The Thursday bus.

Barrett has written openly about her cancer diagnosis and its impact on her life.

In an article for The Guardian published in March, she explained how her perspective had changed since her initial diagnosis.

“For a while there, having cancer was like having a demanding casual job,” she writes.

“Your diary fills with medical appointments that mysteriously give you meaning. You become very attached to your doctors; your three-week appointment with them feels like lunch with an old friend.

“But then…but then…it gets to the point where you can’t do it anymore, and I’m at this point now.” I just want to quietly disappear into oblivion. My daughters wrap their arms around me and cry. There’s no way to make any of this better for them, and that’s the hardest part.

Barrett is survived by her husband Chris and their two daughters Emmeline and Sabrina.