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An Hour with Jill Dawson


Sun 16 May 2010, 2:30pm–3:30pm

Where: ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, 50 Mayoral Drive, CBD, Auckland

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Standard, from 12 May: $23.00
  • Earlybird: $19.50
  • Club Member: $18.50
  • Student: $11.50
  • Additional fees may apply

Jill Dawson’s novel The Great Lover (2009) is set in the period leading up to poet Rupert Brooke’s nervous breakdown.

She creates a rich, sensual portrait of Brooke and his pre-war life in Cambridge and later in Tahiti, and bases the story on detailed research, as is also evident in Jill’s previous novels Magpie (1998), Fred & Edie (2000), Wild Boy (2003) and Watch Me Disappear (2006). Brooke’s inner turmoil is contrasted with his celebrated public image: known as "the most handsome man in England" (W.B. Yeats), he was worshipped throughout his short life (by men and women), and glorified as a patriotic English hero after his death in the First World War. Balancing out the story is the wonderful fictional character of Nell, a teenage maid in Brooke’s Cambridgeshire lodgings, whose grounded nature contrasts with his utter self-absorption.

The Great Lover seamlessly intertwines fact and fiction, and Jill talks about her methodology with chair Carole Beu.

Presented as a part of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.

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