Byron Writers Festival and Text Publishing invites you to attend the launch of Staying – a memoir by Jessie Cole.
About the Book
Staying is a searing memoir by acclaimed novelist Jessie Cole, about surviving personal tragedy and finding a place to heal. Her highly praised novels, Darkness on the Edge of Town and Deeper Water, explore similar themes, but it is this, her own powerful story filled with profound wisdom and redemptive beauty, that she has been longing to write.
‘A wounded, lovely, luminous book about grief, trauma and the strange healing potential of words.’Tim Winton
When: Tuesday 1 May Time: 6.00 – 8.00pm Where: The Book Room at Byron. 27 Fletcher Street, Byron Bay. Tickets: FREE. Please RSVP to [email protected] or call (02) 6685 8183
About Jessie Cole
Jessie Cole grew up in an isolated valley in northern New South Wales, where she still lives today in her childhood home. Her first novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town, was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. Her second novel, Deeper Water, was released in 2014 to critical acclaim.
More about the book
What if the thing in your past is so big that to avoid talking about it you’d have to move far away, but you loved your home so much you couldn’t leave? Staying is about how Jessie Cole remained in the place where she was wounded and learnt to live with the heartbreak of her past.
Jessie grew up in Northern NSW in a rainforest paradise lovingly planted by her parents. They moved there from the city in the 1970s and believed they could remake the world. They let their kids run free and loved them unconditionally. Jessie and her brother grew like wildflowers—they loved their pets, the wildlife, the plants, even the insects—and felt loved in return.
Jessie’s father had two older daughters from a previous marriage, who visited every school holidays. Jessie and her brother saw these girls as magnificent, beautiful creatures from the outside world. By the time Jessie was eighteen she had lost her half-sister and her father to suicide.
Her happy childhood and grief-stricken teenage years are part of the story in Staying. The book lays bare her sister’s suffering and her father’s crazed grief. But it also explores what happens when your life slips down a crevice and no-one knows how to talk to you about it.
Jessie started writing her story more than a decade ago—before she knew she was a writer—and found the process joyful. She had finally discovered a way to speak about what had happened— it was like whispering secrets in her own ear.
Staying is about the love of home and about the calm and comfort of the forest. It’s about giving yourself time to heal, and gently, tentatively, putting your toes back in the water. Jessie spent a lot of time feeling anything but brave, but she learned that courage is built incrementally. She hopes this book says to readers who are carrying their own past hurts, I’ve got you, come with me. It’s what she wishes someone had said to her all those years ago.