Two weeks ago, Robyn Cadwallader’s amazing book The Anchoress was launched at Dymocks in Rundle Mall. I was unable to be there on the night, but a friend was kind enough to email me the beautiful speech that Lorna Hallahan delivered. It impressed me so much that I asked Lorna if we could republish it here, and she has kindly granted permission.
The Anchoress by Robin Cadwallader: launched!
Good evening and welcome.
I’m going to do things in three moves. I’ll do the first and then explain the other two.
Before we begin, I’d like to acknowledge that we meet this evening on Kaurna land, and to pay my respects to Kaurna elders past and present.
I’m going to address all of you gathered here and I’m going to talk about what I think of The Anchoress. Then, Robyn, I want to address you directly.
The Anchoress starts as such a claustrophobic tale. Take yourself back eight hundred years and find yourself in a room no longer than ten small paces and half that width, with the door nailed shut, a small hole or squint through which to view the Mass, a door to a similarly shut-off maid’s parlour and a heavily curtained window through which you can speak only to other women and a couple of designated men. Imagine committing yourself to live like that for the rest of your life. Imagine that you are seventeen years old. Imagine that many of your memories of your early life are filled with loss, sorrow and fear. When I got to here I realised I was scarcely breathing, not because I was captured by the thrill of the story but because I was captured. I invite you to also be captured. And I promise I will deliver no spoilers. Read More