Dark Palace

Dark Palace is a novel by the Australian author Frank Moorhouse that won the 2001 Miles Franklin Literary Award.[1]

Dark Palace
First edition
AuthorFrank Moorhouse
GenreHistorical novel
PublisherRandom House, Australia
Publication date
Media typeHardback & Paperback
Pages678 pp
823/.914 21
LC ClassPR9619.3.M6 D3 2000
Preceded byGrand Days 
Followed byCold Light 

The novel forms the second part of the author's "Edith Trilogy", following Grand Days, which was published in 1993; and preceding Cold Light, which was published in 2011. The trilogy is a fictional account of the League of Nations; it traces the strange, convoluted life of a young woman who enters the world of diplomacy in the 1920s, through to her involvement in the newly formed International Atomic Energy Agency after World War II.[2]


A direct sequel to Grand Days and beginning in 1931, the novel traces the private and public lives of an Australian woman Edith Campbell Berry, during her final years as an official of the League of Nations based in Geneva. Berry's crumbling marriage parallels the futility of the League's attempts at negotiated disarmament, though she is reunited with her former lover, a cross-dressing Englishman. Returning on leave to Australia, Berry finds she now has little in common with her homeland, after her years of moving in European diplomatic circles. She remains with the Secretary-General's Office at the half-empty Palais des Nations throughout World War II, while a skeleton Secretariat attempts to continue the peacetime functions of the League. In 1945 Berry accompanies a delegation of senior League officials to San Francisco, in the expectation that they will all have key roles to play in the newly established United Nations. To her humiliation and anger they are excluded from any involvement in the setting up of the new organization. The League itself is dissolved a few months later and Berry moves to Canberra, aspiring to a new career in the Australian Department of External Affairs (Cold Light).




  1. "Miles Franklin Literary Award 2001". Miles Franklin Literary Award. The Trust Company. 2001. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  2. Steger, Jason (12 November 2011). "Interview: Frank Moorhouse". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  3. Patrick Barkham, "Prize fight", The Guardian Australia, 16 October 2001. Retrieved 7 Mar 2017
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Drylands and Benang
Miles Franklin Award recipient
Succeeded by
Dirt Music