It was Douglas Adams (author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) who said, “A book is not made of words alone, there’s plenty of space between them … all that space needs to be carefully considered.”

For author, Kyra Geddes that space between was a decade from the first inkling of the novel’s premise to the published manuscript.

Coming across Henry Lawson’s iconic 1892 story ‘The Drover’s Wife’ during a creative writing class at Macquarie University in 2014, Kyra was struck by how the female characters in the story were not deemed worthy of a name or title beyond their relation to the men in their lives.

This injustice became the inspiration to write her debut historical fiction novel, The Story Thief.

Part fiction, part fact, The Story Thief follows Lillian, who was born in 1892. When she reads Henry Lawson’s ‘The Drover’s Wife’ at school, she quickly becomes convinced that it is based on her own family’s story and is determined to prove it. We follow Lillian over the course of her life across monumental points in Australia’s history — including women’s suffrage, the two world wars and the birth of nuclear warfare — as she must decide what is more important: holding onto the past or embracing the future.

“I can also see that it must have been some of my own experiences as a young woman which fuelled my – and then Lillian’s – indignation over Lawson’s decision to leave the drover’s wife and her daughters unnamed, while naming the two boys and even the family dog,” Kyra writes on her website. “That Henry Lawson’s mother was an outspoken and highly influential feminist adds extra spark to the fire.”

Kyra’s historical research shines throughout the novel, beautifully depicting Sydney, in particular our own beautiful North Shore during the years WWI – WWII, and features numerous real people and places, including  local Historic Houses, Eryldene and Carinya in Gordon, Killarney Castle (which was used during WWII for air raid drills) and Ravenswood (where the protagonist Lillian teaches).

Kyra’s visual inspiration featuring Eryldene.

Kyra will be attending book signing events around Sydney, including one in Hornsby later in the year (which will give you time to read it!). And with an incredible endorsement from Liane Moriarty on the cover, it’s could be your next great read.

‘Brimming with evocative, authentic detail, The Story Thief brings a fresh, feminist perspective to Australian literature and art. Australian historical fiction at its finest,’ Liane Moriarty.

The Story Thief is available now: 

Kyra Geddes at Hornsby Library

  • Wednesday, 28 August 2024
  • 6:30 pm  7:30 pm
  • Hornsby Library 

Bookings open from 3 June here.

Image credit: über photography

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