Sunday, June 5, 2011

Suzanne Voytas and her wayward girls

Suzanne was a guest speaker for the Family History Group meeting at the Ku-ring-gai Historical  Society yesterday. She was in attendance for the Convict workshop in the morning where she added valuable comments and insights to the discussion.

After the afternoon meeting Suzanne gave a formal presentation on her ten year journey as she researched the history of the the Irish convict women who were transported in 1828 on the Elizabeth. She used Irish Records, colonial government records, newspapers, and  parish registers for her book Elizabeth 1828 : the worst and most turbulent : from Celtic Cross to Southern Cross.
Suzanne displayed a love of "her girls" and a passion for the research that has been a major part of her life for the last decade. She was a natural speaker with a casual style who engaged the audience with her warmth.

After telling us how serendipity started her on the project Suzanne recounted  her research process whilst peppering her talk with anecdotes about the women and characters who made the journey on the Elizabeth. Suzanne's was one of the best talks I have heard  in recent times.

There is a temptation for authors giving talks to turn the event into a blatant marketing activity. I commend Suzanne who did not try to peddle her book to the audience during the talk. An audience member asked in question time "Have you any copies of your book for sale?"  Suzanne replied that she had a couple which were immediatley sold. Suzanne did not have to try to market her book; her talk did this for her.

Suzanne's book can be ordered directly from this link.

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