Meet the Author, HELEN O’NEILL, in conversation with Suzanne Leal
Thursday 21 April 2016 6.30-8pm Waverley Library
I attended an interesting conversation in 2016 at the Waverley Library, Bondi Junction, Sydney, between Susanne Leal, journalist and author, and Helen O’Neill, whose recently published book, Daffodil: Biography of a Flower” was a contender for the 2016 Waverley Library Nib Award.
This was the fifteenth anniversary of this generous competition, in which judges select a winning entry based on literary merit and evidence of in-depth research.
Helen started out by recounting a short personal biography, telling of a rather uprooted childhood in the UK, travelling around because of her father’s work, until the family settled, when she was thirteen, in Southern England: “In Midsomer Murders” territory”. Helen spoke with passion about her subject, an interest and love originally inspired by her mother’s growing daffodil obsession; the latter was surprised to win silver cups for her specimens three years in a row. She then started sketching the flowers from her garden, showing the different colours and shapes and sizes of each one, prompted by a desire to understand more about the flower, its propagation and its background.