Outspoken is delighted to welcome Anna Funder back to Maleny.
Anna is the highly-acclaimed author of Stasiland and All That I Am, which, between them have sold over half a million copies in Australia alone. In her new book, Wifedom, Anna’s attention is focused on the Orwells, and onto Mrs Orwell in particular.
“I have,” she writes, “always loved George Orwell, his self-deprecating humour, his laser vision about how power works, and who it works on.”
It was to Orwell she would turn when her own life began to overwhelm. But then she read about his wife, and her curiosity was piqued.
Eileen O’Shaughnessy was also a writer, and her literary brilliance not only shaped Orwell’s work, but her practical common sense saved his life. Why and how, Funder wondered, had she come to be so completely written out of their story?
Using newly discovered letters from Eileen to her best friend, Funder re-creates the Orwells’ marriage, a period that includes both the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. Somehow the fact that Eileen was in Spain with Orwell never gets mentioned. Nor that she worked at several Ministries in London during the war to support them both.
Anna pulls back the curtain on Orwell’s often promiscuous private life, asking what it takes to be a writer—and what it is to be a wife.
The introducing author will be Angela O’Keeffe, speaking about her new novel, The Sitter.