‘Everyone has a story in them, but not everyone has it in them to write a book,’ says Dinah Jeffries, author of The Separation (published by Penguin). In an intimate reading in the Cheltenham branch of our Cheltenham Festivals Partner Waterstones the author presented her debut novel exclusively to friends and Cheltenham Festivals Members and not only showed that she clearly has it in her to write an emotional, gripping book but moreover has much to tell about her own turbulent life, as well.
I write from the heart and I write with the heart.
It is not by chance that Dinah Jeffries writes ‘on themes of family, love and loss,’ as she mentions on her website. Inspiring enough for many works to follow her just released first novel, Dinah Jeffries’ history stretches from her childhood in Malaya to the culture clash she experienced when she moved to England at age nine. Her time as an au pair for an Italian Countess was followed by a few years of living with a rock band in the United Kingdom as well as periods of emotional struggle and losses in her later life. As she summarises: ‘I write from the heart and I write with the heart.’
Growing up in Malaya, her connection to the country culminated in The Separation, which bases its fiction on countless foregone conversations and retrospections with her mother. The novel tells the story of Lydia and Emma, a mother and her daughter torn apart by her own husband. Trying to find answers and the way back to one another, both characters embark on venturous quests in Malaya and England respectively.
Can’t get enough of books? Join the Cheltenham Festival’s Member’s Book Club and receive monthly a complimentary copy of new release from Vintage. Discuss your thoughts on the third Thursday of each month (5.30 – 6.30pm) with other book lovers. For more information visit our Book Club page.
Stay tuned for information on The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2014 programme coming out soon.