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A Dangerous Daughter: the poem

This poem tells the story of my novel, ‘A Dangerous Daughter’ without the details, plot twists, and characters in the novel. I promise no Spoilers! Let me know what you think of my poem. A Dangerous Daughter She wakes with a jolt, Already late. Morning tea break. Her limbs all ache. She swings legs to the edge, Mere bones like twigs Skin stretched over, Dry as sedge. She moves from the bed, Slow and painful. Everything hurts, Her heart and her head. Smells hot buttered toast, Craves just a taste. The tiniest crumb Will seal her fate. Pulls on a skirt Her gaunt frame bent. To hide her shame, A top like a tent. She could be ninety, But is only fifteen. Her shrivelled body Mustn’t be seen. You’ve blighted our lives Daughter once dear. The devil’s got you We’re the victims here. They send her away Out of their sight So they can forget Their shame and fright. Exiled from her kin, Across the land, Girl hides her sin As best she can Aunt’s teagown strains. Over ample breasts. “Just look at the state of you, It’s wicked,” she says. “Going out like that? In the ground I will sink. You’ll frighten the neighbours. What will they think?” Girl shakes her head Runs a comb through her hair. A quick flick, no more And she’s out the door. She has a disease It has no name. It brings her […]

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Why I Wrote A Dangerous Daughter

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”  Sigmund Freud. My story began more than 50 years ago. At the age of 13, I began refusing food, and my weight dropped dramatically. This was seen as wayward, even wicked, behaviour. Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT), a primitive and brutal practice in the 1950s, failed to cure my mysterious condition. Partly to protect my parents and sisters from witnessing my decline, and partly as a last ditch effort to ‘cure’ me, I was exiled from my family in New South Wales, and spent several painful years with relatives in Perth, Western Australia. By the age of 15, starvation had wreaked extensive damage to my body and mind. I was given two months to live. I was inspired to write the novel A Dangerous Daughter by the need to understand my past. Rather than exorcising my demons, the creative process pulled me back into those dark years. Reliving the trauma slowed the writing process, but the thought of helping other young people and their parents kept me going.  In the 1950s in Western Australia, the term “anorexia nervosa” was not generally known, although the illness had been identified as early as1873 by Sir William Gull. So, it was inevitable that the victim was often blamed for her incomprehensible symptoms. Miraculously, through the work of my psychoanalyst, and my own fierce will to survive, I went on to write this book, and hopefully to help others who are […]

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An interview with the author of “A Dangerous Daughter”

https://youtu.be/WVze-9n5MpA https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-jyh2r-106ccb8 In this Utube video and podcast with Darren Saul of #PlayingWithPerspective, I talk about what inspired me to write A Dangerous Daughter, how much is drawn from my life, and insights into psychoanalysis and anorexia nervosa. Please note some of the content and images may be distressing for some viewers. Here is a link to the paperback and e-book: https://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Daughter-Dina-Davis/dp/0645175811

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A Word from my Publisher

I am fortunate to be the first author invited to publish by Cilento’s Author First Initiative. Last year I was thrilled to receive a call from Co-Founder Evan Shapiro, inviting me to submit the manuscript of A Dangerous Daughter to be under this wonderful initiative. This quality small press invites only one author each year to submit a manuscript, and if it meets […]

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A Dangerous Daughter in pictures

The slideshow below is to illustrate some of the themes in my new novel, A Dangerous Daughter. I address these images in the attached podcast and video. I’m delighted to share with you this podcast/video, which I made with the well-known podcaster Darren Saul of the Playing With Perspective series. Darren helped me to open up about my inspiration for writing A Dangerous Daughter, and to reveal how my own early life informed much of the story. I discuss why I wrote this book as fiction, rather than as a memoir, and the agony and ecstasy of the writing process. Having to re-visit traumatic events from my teenage years was traumatic, but I wanted to share my experience to help others understand how the mind can control the body. If my story helps just one person suffering from the insidious and misunderstood disease of anorexia nervosa, it will make the labour of writing this book worth every minute. Here are the links: Audio – https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-jyh2r-106ccb8Video – https://youtu.be/WVze-9n5MpA

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Here she comes!

In a matter of days my second novel, A Dangerous Daughter, will be released into the world. I await its birth with some trepidation, hoping that the characters portrayed therein will enlighten and amuse, rather than cause offence or anxiety. You see, this book is based on a true story; that of my own early life. It tells a story of loneliness and pain as well as enlightenment and joy. Although some characters are inspired by those I knew in my youth, I have gone to some lengths to conflate, disguise and invent new characters. SO that my heroine’s sister is a conflation of my own two sisters but nothing like either of them. Most importantly I want readers to know that the main character, Ivy Morgenstern (that’s an imagined portrait of her above) is definitely not me. For a start I was a weedy, dark-haired child, nothing like the freckly auburn-haired teenager gazing at you with eyes both challenging and curious. So to my readers, including extended family and lifelong friends, i say to you: do not take offence. Above all, do not judge the characters too harshly, remembering they are not real people, but the products of my imagination. My book will be launched into the world on June 24, at The Bookshop, the only independent bookshop in Darwin. If you can come along at 5pm that night I would love to see you, and to sign one […]

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Why I Wrote A Dangerous Daughter

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”  Sigmund Freud. My story began more than 50 years ago. At the age of 13, I began refusing food, and my weight dropped dramatically. This was seen as wayward, even wicked, behaviour. Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT), a primitive and brutal practice in the 1950s, failed to cure my mysterious condition. Partly to protect my parents and sisters from witnessing my decline, and partly as a last ditch effort to ‘cure’ me, I was exiled from my family in New South Wales, and spent several painful years with relatives in Perth, Western Australia. By the age of 15, starvation had wreaked extensive damage to my body and mind. I was given two months to live. I was inspired to write the novel A Dangerous Daughter by the need to understand my past. Rather than exorcising my demons, the creative process pulled me back into those dark years. Reliving the trauma slowed the writing process, but the thought of helping other young people and their parents kept me going.  In the 1950s in Western Australia, the term “anorexia nervosa” was not generally known, although the illness had been identified as early as1873 by Sir William Gull. So, it was inevitable that the victim was often blamed for her incomprehensible symptoms. Miraculously, through the work of my psychoanalyst, and my own fierce will to survive, I went on to write this book, and hopefully to help others who are […]

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Another great review – thanks to all my readers this year!

www.goodreads.com/review/show/3604556589 I was touched by this review from an unknown reader. It reminds me that readers are still enjoying Capriccio, the fictionalised biography of Assia Gutmann Wevill, the notorious mistress of Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and rival of famous poetess Sylvia Plath. Thank you so much to all of you who’ve taken the time to read my book, and especially to those who’ve given it such positive reviews since its publication in 2018 by Cilento Publishers.  This year Capriccio:A Novel was shortlisted for the fiction prize in the 2020 NT Chief Minister’s Book Awards, reinforcing the rewarding feedback from you, my readers. Now in its second edition with additional material, including an epilogue and bibliography, Capriccio:A Novel can be purchased from Amazon, Booktopia or Goodreads in hardback, paperback, or digital format. Order now at:  amazon.com/author/dinadavis

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Writing in the Time of Covid

Escaping to the NT from virus-ridden NSW in March, I was confined to home in mandatory quarantine for fourteen days. What bliss! The tropical weather, the smiling faces, the feeling of being safe. Being home alone held no fear for me, being a confirmed introvert. The isolation and lack of pressure suited my solitary nature. At last my time was all my own, with no places to go, no people to see. What else was there to do but write? At last I could concentrate on finishing my novel, which I’d been struggling with for years. In spite of not going outside for two weeks, I managed to keep fit by tuning in daily to yoga classes on Zoom. How amazing to follow expert teachers online from the comfort of home, thanks to the generosity of Darwin Yoga Space. There followed the most productive months, in literary terms, of my writing life. In April I was honoured to be elected Vice President of our NTWriters’ Centre. In May, being shortlisted for the fiction prize for the 2020 NT Chief Minister’s Awards for my novel Capriccio, was a huge thrill. My short story, Procrastination, was accepted for publication in the new print edition of Borderlands, the new NT Literary journal, released here in September.

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