Kathleen O’Connor of Paris

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Kathleen O’Connor of Paris
Fremantle Press, 2018
Narrative non-fiction

What does it mean to live a life in pursuit of art?

In 1906, Kathleen O’Connor left conservative Perth, where her famous father’s life had ended in tragedy. She had her sights set on a career in thrilling, bohemian Paris.

More than a century later, novelist Amanda Curtin faces her own questions, of life and of art, as she embarks on a journey in Kate’s footsteps.

Part biography, part travel narrative, this is the story of an artist in a foreign land who, with limited resources and despite the impacts of war and loss, worked and exhibited in Paris for over forty years. Kate’s distinctive figure paintings, portraits and still lifes, highly prized today, form an inseparable part of the telling.

…the result of years of painstaking research and an equally disciplined imaginative, empathetic engagement with her subject… • William Yeoman, The Weekend West

The inclusion of Curtin’s ‘voice’ in the book adds to the layers of O’Connor’s story, and informs readers of her incisive detective work… • Lyn Di Ciero, The Artist’s Chronicle

Curtin unearthed obscure newspaper articles and letters to family and friends, providing tantalising glimpses into O’Connor’s personality. [She] fleshes out the bare bones to create a riveting story… • Jenny D’Anger, Perth Voice

… a brilliantly researched book…It is also quiet, restrained, philosophical and reflexive. It asks questions of us as readers, voyeurs and consumers. • writingWA

…every bit as captivating as Curtin’s fiction…Kathleen O’Connor of Paris is a wonderful book on many levels: it brings an under-appreciated Australian artist to new prominence; it tells a captivating story about an artist’s life; it shares the pain and the gains of the biographer’s art; and it recreates a Paris that is long, long gone, swamped by the tourist hordes and new developments. • ANZ LitLovers

Kathleen O’Connor of Paris is a remarkable book. Countless hours of archive digging through obscure newspaper clippings, art samples and letters have resulted in a vibrant yet nuanced portrait of O’Connor that brings her art, passions and adventures to life. • Better Reading

…wonderfully thoughtful and reflective, and beautifully written…Amanda Curtin paints a tender and engrossing account of a turn-of-the-century woman who embraced the bohemian lifestyle… • Fremantle Shipping News

…an accomplished biography combining the skills of a fine novelist with a determined, deep researcher. • Nathan Hobby, biographer

ISBN 9781925591644

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Read an excerpt