Love & Virtue

Diana Reid

Feminism, power and sex play out through the eyes of young Australian uni students in a contemporary narrative that is fiercely authentic




Pub Date

July 2022














Identity politics



Whenever I say I was at university with Eve, people ask me what she was like, sceptical perhaps that she could have always been as whole and self-assured as she now appears. To which I say something like: ‘People are infinitely complex.’ But I say it in such a way—so pregnant with misanthropy—that it’s obvious I hate her.

Michaela and Eve are two bright, bold women who befriend each other their first year at a residential college at university, where they live in adjacent rooms. They could not be more different; one assured and popular – the other uncertain and eager-to-please. But something happens one night in O-week – a drunken encounter, a foggy memory that will force them to confront the realities of consent and wrestle with the dynamics of power.

Initially bonded by their wit and sharp eye for the colleges’ mix of material wealth and moral poverty, Michaela and Eve soon discover how fragile friendship is, and how capable of betrayal they both are.

Written with a strikingly contemporary voice that is both wickedly clever and incisive, issues of consent, class and institutional privilege, and feminism become provocations for enduring philosophical questions we face today. 


  • Winner ABIA Book of the Year Award

  • Winner ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award

  • Winner Booksellers’ Choice Fiction Book of the Year Award

  • Winner MUD Literary Prize 

  • Shortlisted ABIA Matt Richell New Writer Award

  • Shortlisted Indie Book Awards for Debut Fiction 

  • Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist


‘an absolute cracker, Love & Virtue lobs right into the current moment with a clarifying light. I hope EVERYONE reads this book.’ 

Helen Garner, author of The First Stone and The Spare Room

‘a great read that will become an Australian classic.’ 

Sydney Morning Herald

‘A punchy read that digs deep into its topics without fear of their uncomfortable and sticky nuances, it’s just as likely to make you laugh as it is to make you cry.’ 

Harper's Bazaar

Love & Virtue is a delight.’ 

The Australian

‘Reid explores themes of power, privilege and consent in her captivating debut novel.’

Sunday Life

Love & Virtue beautifully captures the complex contradictions of new adulthood, with its alternately thrilling and terrifying new freedoms, and the tug of war between the pressure of peer conformity and the lure of becoming more yourself.’ 

The Big Issue

‘I have been chewing on this book for days now. Compelling reading. So well written. Complex. I keep turning it over in my mind and I want to talk about it!’ 

Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites and Devotion

‘An extraordinary new voice in Aussie lit.’ 

Zoë Foster Blake

‘one of the best novels I have read this year ... it's clever, pacy and wonderfully thoughtful. Read it!’ 

Zara McDonald, Shameless Podcast

‘Loved it…It’s electrifying.’ 

Annabel Crabb

‘I inhaled it…an amazing book.’ 

Mia Freedman

‘set to be one of the year's most talked about books.’ 

Vogue Australia

‘Reid is a young author to watch.’ 

Marie Claire

‘a surprisingly gripping and very clever look at friendship, power and consent at a university.’ 

Jason Steger, The Age

Love & Virtue is a formidable debut novel. The writing is punchy and clever, with characters so deeply drawn that they feel like friends and enemies from a former life.’

The Guardian Australia

‘wonderfully readable prose, offering a nuanced and often very funny portrait of privilege and betrayal that probes complex questions about consent, trust and what it means to be a truly “good” person.’

The West Australian

‘Reid writes with ferocity and intelligence, and this novel demands attention and commands respect.’

Sunday Times Magazine

Love & Virtue is an accomplished novel - by turns funny and furious, and full of the plangent longing and confusion of early adulthood.’ 

The Saturday Paper

‘The prose crackles fiercely, luring readers in with phrases to mull over and taste before devouring the next delicious sentence.’ 


Love & Virtue’s strength is that it is principled but not preachy, eloquent but accessible. This exceptional debut novel is an absolute must-read companion to Helen Garner’s The First Stone.’


‘Diana Reid will be called the new Sally Rooney – you’re certain of it by the end of page one. By the end of this real, raw and startling novel, you know Reid is the talent to whom every smart young novelist who follows her will be compared – or hope to be.’

Meg Mason, author of Sorrow and Bliss

‘Reid’s prose interrogates everything we think we know about love. Heartfelt and unputdownable, this is a remarkably self-assured debut.’

Victoria Hannan, author of Kokomo

‘It is not enough to say Love & Virtue heralds the arrival of a new literary talent: Reid is intensely incisive and brilliant.’

Sarah Schmidt, author of See What I Have Done

‘A fierce new voice at just the right moment, shining a light on consent and class with clarity and grace.’

Inga Simpson, author of Where The Trees Were and Understory

 Approved Headshot Diana B+W .png

About the author

Diana Reid is a Sydney-based writer. Her debut novel, Love & Virtue, was an Australian bestseller and winner of the ABIA Book of the Year Award, the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award, the ABA Booksellers' Choice Fiction Book of the Year Award, and the MUD Literary Prize. Love & Virtue was also shortlisted for the Indie Debut Fiction Award, the ABIA Matt Richell New Writer Award, and Highly Commended at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards. Diana was also named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist in 2022. Seeing Other People is her second novel.