Research is key, says author Victoria Purman

SIGNED: Trish Collins got her book signed by Victoria Purman today
SIGNED: Trish Collins got her book signed by Victoria Purman today

Dozens of locals stopped by the Naracoorte Town Hall today to listen to Australian author Victoria Purman chat about writing, research and her latest novel The Women's Pages.

Victoria Purman is the award-nominated bestselling author of The Last of the Bonegilla Girls, published May 2018, and The Land Girls, published May 2019.

Her latest book tells the story of war correspondent Tilly Galloway who, following the end of World War Two, has been forced to work on the women's pages of her newspaper.

Tilly begins to research stories about the lives of the underpaid and overworked women who live in her own city, as she waits for news of her husband, who has been a prisoner of war in Papua New Guinea.

Mrs Purman spoke about the publishing process and all the people who helped to make the book a reality.

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She then discussed the importance of research in the crafting of her stories.

"To research this story, I walked the streets of Sydney," she said.

"My husband and I did this specific walk. We went to Potts Point where I wanted her to live.

"I walked around the streets there - it was really important to me to get the feeling for where she lived and the streets she walked."

She was so detailed in her research, she researched the minute details, down to what shades of lipstick were available at the time and even examined real letters from prisoners of war.

"As part of my research, I also went to the war memorial in Canberra and looked at some letters from prisoners of war in Papua New Guinea, who had been captured by the Japanese, as Tillie's husband had been," she said.

"So I was able to hold them in my hands, and look at the handwriting of the prisoners of war.

"That was really so moving and powerful, to see these letters that are 75 years old, written in pencil on the thinnest of paper that was available back then."

Following her talk, the audience asked questions about the path to being published, where her ideas come from and how a book comes together.

Some shared their own experiences of growing up in the time during and after World War Two.

At the end of the event, audience members were lucky enough to have their book personally signed by Mrs Purman.

If you missed today's event, it is not too late, as Mrs Purman will be in Penola tonight at 7pm.