A Woman’s Work unveiled

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

A Woman’s Work unveiled

Best-selling author Victoria Purman will visit Mount Gambier this week to showcase her latest novel, A Woman’s Work.

Ms Purman will host a session at the Mount Gambier Library on Thursday at 6pm and she is looking forward to visiting the region.

“I am really happy to be coming down to the South East again, I have had such wonderful audiences down there,” she said.

A Woman’s Work is set in post-war Australia in 1956 and is about two women who enter the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookery Contest, vying for a major cash prize.

“Both women wonder what life might be like for themselves if they win some of that money,” Ms Purman said.

Ms Purman said she was inspired to write A Woman’s Work after a friend gave her the winning booklet from the original Women’s Weekly Cookery Contest.

“I looked through the recipes and some of them are absolutely hilarious,” she said.

The book is based on the real contest and explores the lives of the two women, who lead very different lives but share the common goal of winning the cookery competition.

“One woman is a mother of five, her name is Kathleen, and she is only 30 years old, and she has lost her zest for life, she is just exhausted,” Ms Purman said.

“Her mother suggests they enter the contest together really as a way of trying to brighten her daughters’ spirits.

“The other character, Ivy, is a war widow, a single mother of a 12-year-old boy, and her son likes cooking but he really wants to enter to win a TV so he can watch Rin Tin Tin.

“She is not a cook at all, she hates being in the kitchen, but she decides to do that for her son because he has missed out on so much not having a father, so they start cooking together.”

The book includes real recipes from the 1956 competition that would likely be deemed bizarre in a modern era, such as curried steak and spaghetti and snapper supreme stuffed with sultanas.

“I am going to be telling the readers all about the recipes and my ventures with cooking them, which is a lot of fun,” Ms Purman said.

Ms Purman also wanted to shed light on what life was like for women in 1956 in the novel.

“There is a lot that women, despite their circumstances, shared in that area, women were put in boxes and society had rules about what they could and could not do,” she said.

“Laws were in place and really kept women down and that was one of the things that I really wanted to tackle in the book too, what does independence look like in 1956 for a woman, it was very different to what it looks for us today.

“I love these untold stories of women in our history.”

Ms Purman said she was looking forward to the audience sharing their stories at the session.

“I always find the conversations with the audiences are really interesting and inspiring and they actually help me come up with ideas for books and scenes and other things,” she said.

“My readers are so generous with their stories and recollections, it is a really fantastic discussion we end up having, so they are not just listening to me, I am listening to them.”

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