Hippy Days, Arabian Nights

Hippy Days, Arabian Nights


Hippy Days, Arabian Nights

From Life in the Bush to Love on the Nile

Spanning five decades and as many continents, Hippy Days, Arabian Nights is a funny, moving and compelling story of a woman whose extraordinary life is without could-or-should-haves. From the get-go, Australian artist Katherine Boland has grabbed life by the throat in pursuit of her heart and her dreams. This is the story of one gutsy, feisty and creative woman.

Katherine Boland came to Australia as a child with her family on the 10-pound-Pom scheme. Her father couldn't make the adjustment and took the family back to the UK, then Spain, but returned to the Gippsland Lakes in rural Victoria where alcoholism and depression led to him committing suicide.

Years later, enrolled in art school at RMIT and living in a share-flat in bohemian St Kilda, Katherine embraces the counterculture movement. Like so many of her student generation, she and her boyfriend drop out of their studies to join a hippy community on the Far South Coast of NSW to live the dream – mudbricks and mung beans – where Katherine's rollicking tale unfolds.

When a bushfire ends her 27-year marriage in an entirely unpredictable way, she returns to Melbourne where she launches her art career and re-launches her life. On the back of a sell-out exhibition called -On Fire', Katherine embarks on a new life of overseas scholarships and residencies, culminating with an invitation to Egypt from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.

It's there where she falls madly in love with a young translator, 27 years her junior. A six-year long-distance relationship ensues, despite his family's hostility. A tale of a wild and wonderful romance, doomed from the start, unfurls. Age difference, cultural differences - especially around gender expectations - the Australian government's refusal to grant visas to young Egyptian men and later, the descent of Egypt into political instability and civil chaos, prevent her from visiting Egypt and him from leaving.

Hippy Days is an honest, authentic and delightful insight into hippy life, as well as revealing the darker side for some in that community: the drug abuse, child neglect and domestic violence. Arabian Nights is a powerful and moving reflection of her relationship, her reservations, their joys, their deep and mutually felt love, and their diametrically opposed ways of seeing the world, and relationships.

Hippy Days, Arabian Nights is an enthralling and moving memoir, one that keeps the reader amused, frustrated, indignant at times, but above all, inspired. Katherine is one of those wonderfully rare and brilliant women, who jump in, feet first.

Katherine Boland emigrated to Australia from England with her parents and younger sister in 1961. She grew up on the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria. After dropping out of art school (RMIT) in the mid 1970s, she left the city to live an alternative lifestyle on the Far South Coast of New South Wales for almost three decades. For the last 15 years, she has been pursuing a career as an artist in Melbourne. She has exhibited throughout Australia and overseas and has been the recipient of numerous art prizes, grants and scholarships. Her artwork is included in corporate, public and private collections in Australia, Europe, Asia and the US. Hippy Days, Arabian Nights is her first literary project. It was longlisted in 2014 for the Mslexia Literary Award for Memoir in the United Kingdom. She lives in Melbourne. www.katherineboland.com

Hippy Days, Arabian Nights
Wild Dingo Press
Author: Katherine Boland
RRP: $29.95


Interview with Katherine Boland

Question: What inspired you to write your memoir, Hippy Days, Arabian Nights?

Katherine Boland: In 2010, I was invited, in my capacity as an Australian artist, to participate in an international artist's symposium in Luxor, Egypt. Whilst there, I started to keep a journal. When I began a relationship with a young Egyptian journalist, I continued writing and fell in love with the process. I realised I had another fascinating story to tell: that of the three decades I lived an alternative/hippy lifestyle on the Far South Coast of New South Wales.


Question: What did you learn about yourself when writing Hippy Days, Arabian Nights?

Katherine Boland: I learned that I'm a risk taker"that I'm a resilient, resourceful and resolute woman who has lived her life in pursuit of her heart and dreams. I also learnt that I love writing as much as painting!


Question: What was most difficult to relive when writing Hippy Days, Arabian Nights?

Katherine Boland: My father's suicide when I was sixteen and the abduction and brutal murders of Bega school girls Lauren and Nicole in 1997. Having the said that, for the most part Hippy Days, Arabian Nights is a funny and compelling story"a rollicking tale spanning five decades and as many continents about a woman whose extraordinary life is without could-or-should-haves.


Question: What do you hope readers take from Hippy Days, Arabian Nights?

Katherine Boland: If my story inspires others to step outside their comfort zone, to confront their fear and do something they've always wanted or been meaning to do, to follow their heart or pursue their passion, then I'll be one happy little author.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

 

Hippy Days, Arabian Nights
Wild Dingo Press
Author: Katherine Boland
RRP: $29.95




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