Noted travel writer, reviewer and journalist Claire Scobie has made the great writing leap and published her first novel, The Pagoda Tree.
I was there for the launch on Friday night at a very crowded (and very warm) upstairs at Gleebooks. It was, of course, a star-studded audience which included critically acclaimed novelist Gail Jones, ex-Senator Aden Ridgeway (aka Mr. Claire Scobie), and writers Belinda Castles and Felicity Castagna (the second time this week I have bumped into the delightful Ms. Castagna).
I came to know Claire through studying with her at the Writing & Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney, which is where this fascinating novel was born.
|Claire Scobie launches her first novel, "The Pagoda Tree"|
The Pagoda Tree is a tale of colonialism, mysticism and forbidden love sent in 18th century India. It is the story of a Devadasi, one of a caste of dancing girls and sacred prostitutes sworn to serve the God Shiva. It sounds absolutely intriguing and is right at the very top of my "read next" pile.
Claire Scobie is the author of Last Seen in Lhasa, one of the very rare travel books about Tibet. It details her relationship with a local woman, an itinerant religious hermit who changes her life.
|Claire Scobie and the Dalai Lama|
It has become a travel classic, and I always have people mention it to me when I tell them that I am a travel writer. Claire moved to Australia, from her native UK, for love, and she has become a beloved part of the Sydney literary scene. We are proud to have her.
Congratulations Claire, on your exquisite new work (what a superb cover!) - I am certain it will be a tremendous success.
You can follow Claire on Twitter at @clairescobie