Recent Interview in NT’s leading magazine, “Off the Leash”, September 2021

Dina Davis Q&A I was recently interviewed by Rita Horanyi from the NT Writers’ Centre. Here’s what we had to say: Rita: Darwin-based author Dina Davis has published stories, articles and poems in journals and anthologies, and her debut novel, Capriccio, was shortlisted for last year’s NT Chief Minister’s Fiction Award. Her latest book, A Dangerous Daughter, draws from her own experiences to tackle the complex subject of eating disorders. NT Writers’ Centre caught up with Dina to chat about her new work. Congratulations on your new book! Tell us quickly, what’s A Dangerous Daughter all about? Dina: Basically, it’s a story of survival against all odds. Thirteen year old Ivy is suffering from an undiagnosed illness. After several unsuccessful treatments she is exiled from her family in NSW and sent to live with relatives in WA. The book details her daily struggle with an entity she calls ‘The Voice’ which won’t let her eat. Ultimately Ivy is diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, which was almost unknown in the 1950s, when the story takes place. What inspired the novel? Dina: I was inspired by two synchronistic events: the first was being invited to take part in an international study on anorexia, which proved that it is an illness with a largely genetic component. This knowledge freed me a lot from the self-blame that had plagued my life. The second was the discovery of a letter from over 50 years ago, written by the psychoanalyst who had treated me. I wanted […]

Read More →

Exciting Events Coming Up!

I am thrilled to have these opportunities to share my thoughts, and to promote “A Dangerous Daughter” throughout the Northern Territory. Thanks to the NT Writers’ Centre for publicising both these events. In spite of the cancellation of the NT Writers’ Festival due to Covid restrictions, I am so grateful that the Red Kangaroo Bookshop in MPARNTWE/ ALICE SPRINGS will still be hosting the launch of Dina’s new book, “A Dangerous Daughter” on Saturday 18th September at 12 noon. Tanya Heaslip, fellow author and President of the NTWriters’ Centre, will be launching Dina’s book. It is such a privilege for any author to be able to communicate live with readers in these days of lockdowns. We in the Territory have escaped the worst of the scourge of Covid – so far. It is my fervent hope that I can reach out soon to my reader and followers in the southern States, if not live, then at least online. Read about my September gigs here: Book Launches & Other Events – Alice Springs A Dangerous Daughter: book launch in Alice Springs/Mparntwe Join author Dina Davis for the Alice Springs launch of her new novel, A Dangerous Daughter (originally scheduled to take place at this year’s NT Writers Festival). To be launched by memoirist and President of the NTWC Board, Tanya Heaslip. You can also hear Dina talking about her book with Lyrella Couzens on ABC Radio here. When: Sat 18 Sep, 12pmAt: Red Kangaroo Books, Todd St Mall, Alice […]

Read More →

Victorian MP Reveals her Battle with Anorexia

I was moved and proud to hear this speech from a woman in public life “coming out” about her life-long and ongoing eating disorder, and the shame and blame which accompanies it. I salute her courage. Her speech resonates with the themes of my novel A Dangerous Daughter TO WATCH THE FULL VIDEO GO TO https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-02/celia-hammond-eating-disorder-stigma/100429028?utm_source=abc_news_web&utm_medium=content_shared&utm_campaign=abc_news_web&fbclid=IwAR3BfP9my8XAlMjJG5WXyUWutVfNqi0731yX8n1J8V9sFM02j7kY9UpmHHg   Liberal MP Celia Hammond tells Parliament about her own struggle to live with anorexia for more than a decade.  In an effort to fight the stigma she says is still attached to it.Ms Hammond said anorexia was a “miserable and isolating” disease, but with treatment, she has been able to manage her illness. She told Parliament that shame and stigma were holding people back from seeking a diagnosis and getting treated.  HERE IS HER SPEECH IN FULL:  This government has invested significant amounts of money into the treatment of and research into eating disorders, and I commend the Prime Minister, the Health Minister and the Assistant Minister for Mental Health on the efforts they are taking to challenge this cluster of diseases.But I don’t want to talk about the treatment or the research efforts tonight.I want to talk about the reality of the disease and the stigma which is, sadly, still attached to it.I can talk about the reality of eating disorders because I am someone who suffered anorexia for more than a decade of my life, complete with several recoveries and several relapses.If truth […]

Read More →

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 […]

Read More →

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 […]

Read More →

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 […]

Read More →

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 […]

Read More →