Tanya Heaslip In Conversation
29th Aug '19 @ Berkelouw Mona Vale
Join us for refreshments and nibblies with Tanya Heaslip in conversation with Jo Riccioni. Tanya will be discussing her fascinating book Alice to Prague.
After a year of indecision and dithering, the purpose of my trip had come into focus; shiny, sharp, clear and thrilling. I might not have found what I was looking for in Western Europe, but in Eastern Europe, who knew what might happen?
In 1994, with a battered copy of Let's Go Europe stuffed in her backpack, Tanya Heaslip left her life as a lawyer in outback Australia and travelled to the post-communist Czech Republic.
Having witnessed first hand the fall of the Berlin Wall (and taken a piece of it back to her office in Alice Springs), she couldn’t stop dreaming about the once-hidden Eastern Europe.
So with no teaching experience whatsoever, Tanya headed off to work at a high school in a Czech town she'd never heard of where the winters plunged to sub-zero temperatures.
This land of castles, history, music and culture slowly opened up to her and, having grown up in anti-communist era Australia, Tanya was bewildered to find that the simplistic messages she’d absorbed were not necessarily true. Tanya learned, too, of the profound suffering and oppression of Czechs at the hand of not only Hitler and Stalin, but also of the Western democracies that had betrayed Czechoslovakia. Her value system was turned on its head.
Falling in love with Prague and its people, particularly with the charismatic Karel - who took her into his home, his family and as far as he could into his heart - Tanya learnt about lives that were very different to hers. Music in turn became the language that magically connected her to those lives. The result is a bittersweet story of the search for identity, belonging and love, set in a time, a place and with a man that filled Tanya's life with contradictions.
About Tanya Heaslip
Tanya Heaslip was raised on a cattle station in Central Australia. She grew up to study and then practice Law. After two years of teaching English in the Czech Republic, and many return trips, Tanya now lives back in the Northern Territory with her husband. She is the Regional Vice President of the NT Writers’ Centre.
Where: 12-14 Park Street, Mona Vale, 2103, Sydney, AU
When: Thu, 29th Aug
Time: 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM