to Australia

I am beyond excited at the prospect of going to Australia. Tomorrow. For twelve days. Even typing this, my stomach flips over.

I’ve finished handouts for a workshop on Sunday – History’s Fragments, Fiction’s Treasure – which looks at writing fiction about real historical figures. I’ve prepared what I want to talk about in the three panel sessions, which will be happening before then.

I’ve even packed.

So that’s it. It’s happening. I’m going to Australia. I’m going to talk about my book, and meet readers and other writers and talk about their books and writing. Pinch me. What an opportunity, and how amazing as a debut writer – which really is just the kindest way of saying a complete unknown/nobody – to be asked to be part of it. Thanks, PIAF, for inviting me. Here’s to a fabulous festival!

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There’s more to this, though; a story to tell. A story that is partly mine. Three small boys, taken away from their mother just before the outbreak of WWI, taken by their father to Australia. He had the right to take them: his marriage had failed and children within marriage were then the property of men. He took them away from her, as far away as he could it seems to me. Their mother, my Great Grandmother, never saw them again. Disinherited, disgraced, bereft, she vanished.

Her name was Guinevere Gilmour, then Glasfurd; the woman after whom I am named.

It interests me, how we carry the past (and that of others) in us, what pushes through to the present; how we are what we are because of what came before, events over which we have no control. How a family that fractures apart in this way, then fractures further because of war, can only, possibly, be remade generations later.

So, Australia. I know you not at all and yet you are already, in some fundamental way, part of me.

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