New York-based Australian author Lily Brett begins her Australian tour today to coincide with the publication of her sixth novel, Lola Bensky. A full schedule of her public events is available on her website and Facebook page.
I have known Lily since the late 1990s when I was the Picador Editor at Pan Macmillan. Shortly after I was hired, I edited Lily’s collection of essays on the occasion of her turning 50, In Full View. I was daunted to meet her in person. Her very first words to me were: “You’re so young!”
Neither of us suspected that over the course of more than 15 years I would independently edit all of her fiction and nonfiction (except for New York, which is a collection of previously published articles in German newspaper Die Zeit), or that she would co-dedicate a book to me and my late husband (her previous novel, published in English as You Gotta Have Balls and in German as Chutzpah), or that she would write a blurb for my own book, or that we would become close friends. For several good reasons I am not her literary agent.
Lily and I had talked about her new book on, then mostly off, for a few years. Finally in early 2011 she told me she would be locking herself away for a few months to see if there really was a novel amidst all the notes she had been keeping under lock and key for years. Happily that self-imposed writerly exile lasted for about nine months, and the delightful Lola Bensky was the result.
Take a look at this short video, which features Lily speaking in her New York loft about the character Lola Bensky, and some photos of Lily in 1967 when she was a rock music journalist for Go-Set magazine.