What these Walls Saw: Katharine Susannah Prichard at Old York Rd

1969-10 KSP with Soviet friend last picture written on back slwa_b3822418_1

It’s the KSP Writers’ Centre Open Day on Sunday 3 May and I’m giving a speech at 1:15pm called “What these Walls Saw: Katharine Susannah Prichard at Old York Rd”. Counting on the fact that many good speeches have taken their inspiration from 1980s pop music, I use Amy Grant’s song “If These Walls Could Speak” (which didn’t even chart, and was actually written by Jimmy Webb) as a framework and ask, given these walls are actually mute, what do the archives say these walls saw? Katharine lived in that house (with some breaks) for fifty years, and the walls and gardens and workroom saw much, from gipsy-themed engagement parties to a widow consoled by her exotic garden.

It’s a nice way to start a month-long residency at the centre, in which I will be living in Katharine’s place as I do some writing – mainly a new version of my novel, “The Remains”, but also on the biography itself.


About Nathan Hobby

At work on a biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard for a PhD at the University of Western Australia. Also a novelist and librarian. View all posts by Nathan Hobby

3 responses to “What these Walls Saw: Katharine Susannah Prichard at Old York Rd

  • wadholloway

    Good luck with the speech. And a topical question, given that she was married to a VC, did KSP express any opinions about the (first) war?


  • Neil Mactaggart

    Best wishes for your speech and the residency; I have been invited to hear the RASWA brass band at Winthrop Hall at that time so cannot be there.

    Mr. Wadholloway may find that the book, “The Price of Valour” by John Hamilton an answer to his curiosity re KSP and WW1.



  • Nathan Hobby

    Thanks Bill and Neil. Bill: short answer, yes! As Neil mentions, Price of Valour discusses it. She started out supporting conscription, but came to oppose the war strongly and influenced Hugo to make a controversial speech about how the war had turned him socialist on Peace Day at Northam in July 1919. The last phase of my research will be covering KSP and WW1.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: