Theresa Byrnes
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Who Magazine January 24, 2000

The Divine Mistake by Theresa Byrnes

Theresa Byrnes remembers herself as an artist from the age of 4. At 16, she left school to become a painter in Sydney, but one year later her difficulty in walking and control ling her movements led to a devastat ing diagnosis of Friedreich's Ataxia, a neurological disorder without treat ment or cure. Always a rebel, Theresa confronted her mortality with the courage and charisma that make this stirring autobiography a stand-out.

Despite her advancing disability, Theresa establishes herself as an artist, exhibits and sells her work, opens an art gallery and launches the Theresa Byrnes Foundation to fund research into a cure for FA. She organises a celebrity auction and appears on 60 Minutes and in the pages of WHO WEEKLY, fighting the illness she calls "both an oppos ing force and an opportunity."

Her spirit of adventure also takes her to the Northern Territory community of Yirrkala, where her experience of Aboriginal customs becomes "a journey to the roots of my Australianness," then South America, where she embraces body building, and on to. New York to paint. She experiments with Iyengar yoga and acupuncture, psychic mas sage, tantric sex and even bondage (with the man with whom she falls in love while moshing at a Sex Pistols concert). And while moving into a wheelchair on July 27, 1996, was "one of the saddest days in my life, [ day when I admitted partial defeat," Byrnes later concedes that the greater mobility "liberated me from my awkwardness." Pushing herself to the limit physically and emotionally, Byrnes chronicles each experience and misstep with brutal candour and grace.

The Divine Mistake is fascinating not only because Byrnes, now 30, turns every obstacle on its ear, but because her zest and commitment are so intense and satisfying that FA seems an aside. "I would be great with or without disease!" she tells us. This reviewer agrees. (Macmillan, $25) A- LOUISA ERMELINO

The Divine Mistake: An Autobiography
By Theresa Byrnes
Now out of print; Last copies available
$50 (shipping $5)

Available as an
Amazon Kindle Book


Back Jacket

November 6, 1999 - The Daily Telegraph - Wired For Life by Pamela Wilson

January 2, 2000 - The Sun Herald - Divine Inspiration by Matt Condon

January 24, 2000 - Who Magazine - Review by Louisa Ermelino

March 2000 - Australian Book Review - Review by Nita Kambouris


This story appeared in Big Night Out 3:

Click to view a larger image.

Published by Penguin Books 2002


Theresa Byrnes
a monograph
published by Charta books
OUT 2011

Memoir in progress (covering 2000-2009)

literary agent:
Fiona Inglis
Curtis Brown
Level 1, 2 Boundary Street
Paddington NSW 2021

Tel: (02) 9331 5301/9361 6161

Fax: (02) 9360 3935

Reviews by Theresa Byrnes

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“. . the dark and powerful soul of what we deem innocent, haunts.”

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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

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Lynda Benglis

London Daily Mirror
Helen Frankenthaler

“Her . . painting shimmers like it is listening.”

London Daily Mirror
Ghada Amer

London Daily Mirror
Boris Lurie

London Daily Mirror

THERESA BYRNES    project space SUFFER    616 E 9th St (between B & C) NYC 10009    MAIL@THERESABYRNES.COM