Liz looks at life, love and grow old

Western Australian author Liz Byrski
Western Australian author Liz Byrski

When WA’s beloved author Liz Byrski was a young girl growing up in Britain, her mother took her to the Brussels Exhibition, a special event that stuck in her mind. This, and the polio epidemic at the time, are elements of his recently released book, At the end of the day.

“I think about this event from my childhood quite often,” says Liz. Get started from Busselton where she is on vacation. “I think there are a lot of people who don’t know about the polio epidemic, especially if they are younger.

“It interested me and I wanted to put it in a book. I am 77 years old now and I was about 14 when I went to Brussels Expo with my mother, a friend of my mother and her 13 year old daughter who had just been released after three years in the hospital to fight against polio.

At the end of the day focuses on Mim Squires and Mathias Vander stranded together on a disrupted flight back to Perth, discovering that they have a lot in common. Mim owns a bookstore, Mathias is a writer and both are at a turning point in their lives. With Mim’s childhood polio wreaking havoc in her life, Mathias contemplates a move across the continent to be closer to his daughter.

Readers will relate to the Perth and Fremantle settings and the couple’s challenges of being old in the late ’70s and dealing with secrets from their past.

“I remember my parents were really worried about the polio epidemic, trying to keep me away from other kids for fear I might catch it,” Liz says.

“I have a very dear friend who has suffered a lot and whom I mention at the end of the book and his whole life has been really affected.”

Liz says she hopes her new book will give older people a sense of change.

“I found that as I got older I became a lot more relaxed about everything. The pressures of work and family are not the same and so this is a great opportunity to explore new opportunities, which are highlighted in the book.

“Reading it I hope it gives people a feeling of change that I have felt as I got older, a lightness and a feeling that there is a lot to do. We don’t have to comply as much. than when we were younger and working for other people.

Liz says she hopes her new book will give older people a sense of change.

“I think there is a lifting of this pressure. I didn’t retire until I was 75 so I have the opportunity to embrace other ideas, new friends and hobbies and sit and read a book without myself. feel guilty.

“A lot of this is because of how we feel when we get to old age. If we feel negative about it, you are going to have a sad time. If you are open to new things and new friends, you will have a much better old age. We have to come to terms with the fact that we can’t do some things that we could do when we were younger, but there are lots of other things you can do.

Liz, born in London, started her professional life as a journalist in Great Britain, before moving to Australia in 1981. She worked as a freelance journalist and, from 1988 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1996, was a broadcaster and executive producer at ABC 720 6WF in Perth. From 1996 to 2003, she was an adjunct professor at Curtin University teaching professional writing, journalism, and media ethics.

She is the author of 11 novels beginning with Strip of four (2004) and 14 non-fiction books.

Liz suffered a mild stroke while writing At the end of the day which, she says, significantly affected her memory.

“I have to constantly ask people what I said, where I am supposed to be and write everything down; I can’t keep things in my memory anymore.

“I found writing the book difficult because most of the ideas had evaporated in the process. Finally I got back to it, the publisher had paid me upfront so I had to continue, which helped me in the long run.

“I have the idea of ​​another book in mind so I know what the theme is and where it will take place. I can’t wait to get in there and start something new; it uses up my time. I live alone and, apart from the responsibilities towards my dog ​​Gazza, I am in a simple situation.

Liz says she is a great writer, reads a lot and does yoga.

“I spend a lot of time with friends and alone. I feel like I need this. You can be outgoing when you need to, but I get sad and depressed if I don’t have time alone.

Liz started writing books involving people in their 50s.

“I looked for books on older women and couldn’t find anything. I found a few but they weren’t Australian books.

Liz Byrski and her new book
Liz Byrski and her new book

“I wrote Strip of four which went so well, the publisher loved it and the readers too. So, I thought I would continue with the theme of stories involving older women. It worked really well, so I kept doing it.

At the end of the day (RRP $ 32.99, Pan Macmillan Australia) is available at all good bookstores.

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