‘The Countess From Kirribilli’ by Joyce Morgan tells the story of Elizabeth von Arnim, the international bestselling author and a member of the glamorous literary, intellectual and society salons of late nineteenth and early twentieth century London and Europe. We discovered Elizabeth last year when we read her charming, slyly comic novel ‘The Enchanted April’, written in 1922, which set off a craze for tourism to the Italian Riviera.
Elizabeth may have been born in Kirribilli, but it was in Victorian London where she discovered society and society discovered her. She made her Court debut before Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace, was pursued by a Prussian count and married into the formal world of the European aristocracy. Her novels, inspired by this life, turned her into a literary sensation on both sides of the Atlantic and had her likened to Jane Austen.
She was an extraordinary woman who lived during glamorous, exciting and changing times that spanned the innocence of Victorian Sydney and finished with the march of Hitler through Europe. Joyce Morgan vividly brings this whirlwind of a woman to life.
We are most fortunate in having Joyce join us at our meeting. Joyce is a former arts editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. She is the author of ‘Martin Sharp: His life and times’, which was long-listed for the 2018 Stella Prize, and ‘Journeys on the Silk Road’, about the discovery of the world’s oldest printed book.