Her husband was controversial. He was in the press, in the courts and in prison. He survived shipwreck, ruin and slander. Her husband was an entrepreneur, industrialist and pioneer. We continue to drink his beer; we still attend his theatre. His legacy is concrete. His place in history is secure.
But this is not his story.
Sophia Degraves survives only as a silent register of birth and death. Nothing is known of her beyond the children she bore and the death she died. This catalogue says nothing of the privations and aspirations of an invisible colonial woman who built in flesh and blood what the men around her built with water and stone.
The Shape of Water sets about righting this injustice. Using history and brute fact, Blythe-Cooper has created a work that is no longer purely historical, but also not purely fictional.
This is her story, written by imagining what was real.
Anne Blythe-Cooper is a teacher of music, English and history. She has degrees in arts and music and post-graduate qualifications in theatre performance.
She lives in rural Tasmania where she enjoys exploring local history. Her passion is to unearth the stories that lie under our feet and to honour those who have gone before us.
The Shape of Water is Blythe-Cooper's first novel and was runner-up in the 2014 Erica Bell Literary Awards and earned a Tasmanian Arts Grant.
The Shape of Water
Forty South Publishing
Author: Anne Blythe-Cooper