Jill Dawson’s readers are very rarely anything but effusive. While not as well known in Australia as she is in the UK, Dawson’s ability to create engrossing narrative voice and to evoke place has won her deserving praise.
The author of seven novels, it wasn’t until the release of her third, Fred & Edie (2000), that Dawson received the critical and public attention that propelled her career and secured its longevity. Fred & Edie, Dawson’s representation of Edith Thompson – hanged in 1923 – was finalist for both the Orange Prize and Whitbread Book Award, and is an exquisitely written account of a woman condemned by the society she lives in. Next came Wild Boy (2003), about the ‘Wild Boy of Aveyron’, and then the Orange Prize long- listed Watch Me Disappear (2006).
Kill Your Darlings spoke with Jill Dawson about her need to continually challenge herself, the delicacy and thoroughness required when writing about the dead, and the transformative power of literary awards. – Hannah Kent
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