She I Dare Not Name: A Spinster’s Meditations on Life

Allen & Unwin, March 2020.

A compelling memoir about the single life and the courage to live alone in a world made for couples and families.

Astonishing. Luminous. A book about being human.

She I Dare Not Name is a compelling collection of fiercely intelligent, deeply intimate, lyrical reflections on the life of a woman who stands on the threshold between two millennia. Both manifesto and confession, this moving memoir explores the meaning and purpose Donna Ward discovered in a life lived entirely without a partner and children.
Rippling through these pages is the way a spinster—or a bachelor, or any of us for that matter—contends with the prejudice and stigma of being different.

Funny, sharp, wise and wry.

‘…the book is a sheer delight… Donna Ward is one of those rare creatures—a writer who can actually write.’ Phillip Adams, journalist, social commentator, author.
Reading She I Dare Not Name is like encountering a place of total stillness in a world of incessant, incoherent clamour. …it is a remarkable, profound, even necessary book’ James Bradley, author of Clade.

Find out more about the book here. Order through Booktopia here.


‘This is a ravishing book, hard to put down yet necessary to do so every few pages in order to think about Ward’s words. …Even people engrossed in family will find it a beautiful interpretation of an intriguing yet rarely studied social category.’ Miriam Cosic, The Weekend Australian
‘Donna Ward has written the perfect book…’ Helen Elliott, The Age. 

Other Publications

Personal Essays

  • Mortality’s Hour, Griffith Review 68: Getting On, 2020
  • Venetian Red, The Road Less Travelled, Better Read Than Dead, 2019. 
  • Twelve Days in Australia,, 2017
  • Winning Bibles, Huffington Post, 2016. (Under the title: A Priest, in Good Faith, Told Me Not to Become a Catholic.)
  • Orphan of Our Nation’s History, Southerly, Vol. 74, No. 2, 2014.
  • An Inch at a Time, Southerly, Vol. 74, No. 3, 2014.
  • When The Mountain Moved Inside, Jukebox, Out of the Asylum Publishing, 2013.
  • A Slip of Eternity, EXT2012: Writing Inspired by Music, edited by Miriam Zolin, Extempore 2012.


  • Where Gods Rush In, Fish Anthology 2012, Fish Publishing Ireland.
  • The Weight of A Child, Island, no 121, winter, 2010


  • Hornets of the Heart, Big Issue Fiction Edition 2016.


  • Fish Short Memoir Prize 2012, Highly Commended: Where Gods Rush In.
  • Fish Short Memoir Prize 2019, Shortlisted Short: A Magritte Sky.