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Edited by Rachel Scott

Sarah Campion wrote a monthly column for the New Zealand magazine Home and Building in the 1950's. Its original title. A Housewife's Diary, belies the treasures within: from evocative descriptions of day-to-day life in New Zealand to broader-brushed musings on the people and places encountered in her eventful life, the author never fails to engage our attention and draw us into her keenly observed world.

This book gathers together these columns, written over six years. Their frankness must have delighted yet startled her middle-class New Zealand readership. The writing is sharp and witty yet elegant, the opinions expressed firmly rooted in 1950s but with a timeless quality that speaks clearly to us 50 years later. It is the work of a fascinating and forthright woman, well ahead of her time, an energetic and highly perceptive individual with a rare gift fro writing.

Born to a privileged English family, Sarah Campion emigrated to NZ in 1952 at the age of 46., after marrying the New Zealand writer Anthony Alpers. By then she had had 13 books published and had also spent time as an art teacher, editor, broadcaster, canteen supervisor on the London Underground during the Blitz, housekeeper to a wealthy white family in South Africa, cook and roustabout to a shooting party in Queensland, and teacher of English to Jews wanting to escape Berlin.

Rachel Scott has done all of us a great service by rescuing the work of this remarkable writer from obscurity. This book will appeal not only to those nostalgic of the comparatively simple New Zealand of the 1950s, but also to those who admire a keen, bold mind and fine writing.
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  • Seller location: Hastings, Hawke's Bay, NZ

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