Monthly Archives: May 2015

Indigenous Australia

A remarkable exhibition at the British Museum charting not only the art of the indigenous  Australians and explaining its complex meanings, but also not shying away form the less than sympathetic treatment the Aboriginals have received since British settlement in the 18th century.  Some acknowledgement of this is being made now, centuries later, but the damage is profound.

Beautifully presented and well worth a visit.

Having a break

I’ve been having a break from writing during the past couple of weeks.  The drafts of my four gypsy books are being read by members of the Gypsy/Roma/Travellers community and it will be interesting to hear their reaction to the stories. Very valuable to have their input and I’m really grateful.

Lots else going on, though.  Been bottom up in the garden in the constant battle against the weeds, had a wonderful evening at the ROH seeing the new ballet ‘Woolf Works’ based, loosely, on three of Virginia Woolf’s books.  Jury is out as to whether the connection was anything but tenuous, but the dancing was outstanding.

Met up in London with other members of ‘Histerical’, the Society of Authors’ group of historical fiction writers.  Another stimulating and supportive meeting discussing, among other things, how to connect with YA readers. And – very important – planning future jaunts (watch this space!)

Also went to hear Catherine Johnson and Lydia Syson talk at Housman’s bookshop in King’s Cross about Lydia’s new book ”Liberty’s Fire’ set in 1871 in the Paris Commune.  Her research sounded fascinating and I can’t wait to read the book.

Gypsy Books

Finally submitted my four gypsy stories to the publisher.  I’ve learnt so much researching these, visiting local Romany families in their homes and talking to them about how they live now and how they used to live when they travelled the country.  Horses are the catalyst to bring together Romany and non Romany children (no surprise there, animals always have a habit of slipping into my books, and the first story is told from the point of view of ten year old Jess, a pony mad kid who gets to know a gypsy family through their horses and gradually learns to understand and respect their way of life.

Back from Australia!

Back from spending two months in Australia, meeting my new granddaughter and also meeting the producer and the scriptwriter of the proposed film of my book ‘The Blue Eyed Aborigine’ about the wrecking of the Dutch ship ‘Batavia’ in 1629 and the mutiny and massacre that followed . While I was with them, we made a short video.  Do have a look at in on the film’s website – where you will also see some wonderful photographs of the proposed filming locations. Two of the mutineers from the ship were marooned on the mainland and left to fend for themselves in this grand but hostile environment.  In my book I imagine how these two young men may have survived and integrated with the coastal Aboriginal tribes. It seems likely that they did survive, becoming the first European settlers in Australia, 140 years before Captain Cook.



The tiny Beacon Island (above) about forty miles of the coast of Western Australia, was where the ‘Batavia’ was wrecked and where the mutiny and massacre took place.


And here is the spot where it is thought that the two young mutineers were marooned.