It’s the KSP Writers’ Centre Open Day on Sunday 3 May and I’m giving a speech at 1:15pm called “What these Walls Saw: Katharine Susannah Prichard at Old York Rd”. Counting on the fact that many good speeches have taken their inspiration from 1980s pop music, I use Amy Grant’s song “If These Walls Could Speak” (which didn’t even chart, and was actually written by Jimmy Webb) as a framework and ask, given these walls are actually mute, what do the archives say these walls saw? Katharine lived in that house (with some breaks) for fifty years, and the walls and gardens and workroom saw much, from gipsy-themed engagement parties to a widow consoled by her exotic garden.
It’s a nice way to start a month-long residency at the centre, in which I will be living in Katharine’s place as I do some writing – mainly a new version of my novel, “The Remains”, but also on the biography itself.
Good luck with the speech. And a topical question, given that she was married to a VC, did KSP express any opinions about the (first) war?
Neil Mactaggart said:
Best wishes for your speech and the residency; I have been invited to hear the RASWA brass band at Winthrop Hall at that time so cannot be there.
Mr. Wadholloway may find that the book, “The Price of Valour” by John Hamilton an answer to his curiosity re KSP and WW1.
Nathan Hobby said:
Thanks Bill and Neil. Bill: short answer, yes! As Neil mentions, Price of Valour discusses it. She started out supporting conscription, but came to oppose the war strongly and influenced Hugo to make a controversial speech about how the war had turned him socialist on Peace Day at Northam in July 1919. The last phase of my research will be covering KSP and WW1.