In March 1966, Katharine Susannah Prichard wrote to her son, ‘I had a wonderful night this week. My young friend, David Helfgott came to dinner – and played to me all the evening… To have so much glorious music – Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Liszt all to myself. It was almost too much. I felt quite drunk with it. But the young man himself is so modest & simple, although well informed about literature & art – discusses with me all the questions of political importance in our time.’ Continue reading
On 28 January 1919, the day the Spanish Flu hit Melbourne, Katharine Susannah Prichard and Hugo Throssell were marred in the registry office. Coincidentally, on 28 January 2006, Nicole and I were married at Claremont Baptist Church. I wrote about it for the KSP Writers’ Centre here.
I had a good research day yesterday, after several grey ones. This month I’ve jumped forward in my biography from 1933 (leaving Katharine’s trip to the Soviet Union unfinished) to 1941. The Association for the Study of Australian Literature conference is in Perth in July and I’ve been working on a paper to fit the theme of “Dirt” – “Katharine Susannah Prichard Underground: Ten Weeks in Kalgoorlie, 1941”. I finally submitted the abstract yesterday: Continue reading
Had an epic conversation about Katharine Prichard with Riley Buchanan on Radio Fremantle yesterday. (May never again encounter such an astute, well-prepared interviewer!) You can listen here until Friday; talking starts at 14 min: http://220.127.116.11:8001/shows_this_week/fri-11_00.mp3
Katharine Susannah Prichard and Hugo Throssell were engaged one hundred years ago at the end of World War One. I wrote about their whirlwind courtship in a column for the KSP Writers’ Centre here. Also, December’s column features a piece of my biography I’ve cut – Katharine’s obsession with lavender in London; you can read it here.
I’m going to be on the wireless tomorrow! I’ll be talking about Katharine Susannah Prichard on the program Out of the Woodwork with Riley Buchanan, Radio Fremantle (107.9 FM in Perth metro area), Friday 30 November, from 11am AWST, between songs. It’s streamed online and I’ll post a link to the MP3 when it’s available. Continue reading
Next October will be the fiftieth anniversary of Katharine Susannah Prichard’s death. To mark the occasion, KSP Writers Centre (which meets in her house) is holding a literary competition. Entries are open to all Australian residents and citizens until 22 February in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. The best entries will appear in an anthology to be launched in October. It is a themed competition, with entries needing a connection to Katharine, her work, or her house. I will be judging the non-fiction and fiction sections. I encourage you to enter!
I started my Katharine Susannah Prichard biography four years ago. Measuring progress by her life (1883 to 1969), this time last year, I was in 1919, just finishing part one; I’m now in 1933 – the most important one of her life – near the end of part two of the book. Continue reading
Saturday 10am #9
This is a paper I presented at the Limina Conference at the University of Western Australia on 27 July 2018. The conference theme was “Home: Belonging and Displacement”.
In her memoir, Perth journalist Justina Williams describes seeing Katharine Susannah Prichard’s house for the first time in the 1930s:
[My uncle] Harry… gave up Sundays to drive us all in the A-model Ford… on an excursion to the hills… Ascending Greenmount’s steep stretch, the radiator fulfilled all [Grandma’s] fears by boiling over.
The car stopped at the junction of Old York Road—the original route to the Eastern Goldfields—and the Great Eastern Highway, almost at the gate of a small wooden cottage half hidden by pale blue plumbago and tangled grape vines. A red witch lived there, Grandma said, named Mrs Throssell… ‘She’s quite a famous writer… An awful scandal about her book…’
My desire to meet her stirred…. [But] [t]he house was empty. Harry got some water somewhere else and we moved on.