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There seems no end to our hunger for the stories of real people facing impossible odds or dealing with the mundanity of life. Yet not every life story finds - or deserves - an audience in addition to Facebook.

Such is Life presents a dazzling selection of new memoir, personal essay and biography by some of the best Australian and international writers, with narratives that help make sense of the world and our conflicts about privacy, truth and perspective.

Award-winning author Lloyd Jones reveals how childhood rugby and a reverence for the All Blacks shaped his adult sensibilities and success beyond the Wellington suburbs.

Carrie Tiffany comes to terms with pain and shame; Shakira Hussein falls between identities and cultures in the wake of 9/11. Debra Adelaide learns the value of an official identity; Meera Atkinson's friendship transcends pubescent pop star fandom; and David Carlin attempts to write the history of Circus Oz.

In essays, Frank Moorhouse tests the boundaries of privacy and stigma; Peter Bishop salutes teachers - real and literary - who nurture our creative imagination; A.J. Brown gets behind the writing of his new biography of Michael Kirby; and Matthew Ricketson surveys recent political memoirs.

Marion Halligan, Toni Jordan and Anna Dorrington explore the legacy of mothers and children, while John Tranter, Brian Geach and Andrew Sant investigate rites of fatherhood.

Raimond Gaita and Kate Holden consider what is honoured or lost when adapting memories to book or film; plus Virginia Lloyd, Rosie Scott, Sheila Fitzpatrick and much more.

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