CREATIVE NON-FICTION AND FEATURES

Blowsy gardens, houses with a story to tell, wholesome food, travel with a purpose, alternative medicine, adoption, fertility and family life are just some of the subjects I love to write about. Amongst other places, in the pieces below you will go whale watching, horse racing and wine-tasting in South Australia, and drop in for tea and cake at the Royal Manx Agricultural Show.


Photograph of cream cakes, strawberries and scones on a plate

THE GOOD LIFE ON A PLATE

The Good Life On A Plate was published in Manx Life and can be read here


Photograph of a fountain

A VIEW OF THE FOUNTAIN

A View Of The Fountain was published in The Sleepers Almanac 2010 and can be read here


photograph of the book cover for Quiet City

QUIET CITY

Quiet City: walking in west terrace cemetery is my first full length work of non-fiction. It took many years to research and write, although the stories were so absorbing that I barely noticed the time passing.

In this book I was able to combine writing with my love of making images. I hope this will be a template for future long form works of non-fiction.

I do not think that I believe in ghosts, but just for this morning, just for the time it will take to ramble through this quiet city under clouds the colour of tin, or of pigeons' wings, I am going to believe in them.

Ordinary lives are revealed as extraordinary, as Carol Lefevre traces the stories of some of the little-known inhabitants of Adelaide's historic West Terrace Cemetery: there is the tale of the man who fatally turned his back on a tiger, and the man who avoided one shipwreck only to perish in another; there is the story of the young woman who came home from a dance and drank belladonna, and those who died at the hands of one of South Australia's most notorious abortionists.

Said to be the most poetic place in Adelaide, in this heritage-listed burial ground the beginnings of the colony of South Australia are still within reach. Amid a sea of weather-bleached monuments, the excavated remains of Australia's oldest crematorium can be seen, and its quietest corner shelters the country's first dedicated military cemetery.

From archives, and headstones, the author recovers histories that time and weather threaten to obliterate. Quiet City is a book for everyone who has ever wandered through an old graveyard and wished its stones could speak.

Praise for Quiet City:

'Lefevre's touching, terrifying, courageous characters return to haunt us in this rich and companionable book - a treasure trove of social history and a fine writer's personal reflection on death and living.' - Nicholas Jose

'Part personal reflection, part speculative fiction, Quiet City is also history and biography, made up of many short sections and lyrical observationsā€¦Similar to W.G. Sebald's Rings of Saturn (described in The Guardian as a 'strange and moving work') Carol Lefevre's narrative is also built on spatial elements -- in this case the cemetery grounds itself.... This is an incredibly rich book and it is difficult to give an account of all that it contains. It is to Lefevre's credit that she has imbued it with respect and gravity. More so that it is entertaining and in spite of the subject matter, generally a pleasure to read. ' - Nicolette Stasko, Southerly

'A must read.' - Marie, The Big Book Club

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image of a display of natural foods and ingredients

NOT CUTTING THE MUSTARD

Do our children recognise an aubergine, or a quince? We have never watched more cooking programmes on television, never eaten so much or cooked so little, but it might not be many years before our agricultural shows become a slice of the olden days with quaint exhibits of produce...

This fragment is taken from a rather longer piece on the vanishing art of home cooking - it first appeared in Manx Tails.

Not Cutting The Mustard can be read in full by clicking here


a bee keeper in her garden

ZEN AND THE ART OF BACKYARD BEEKEEPING

Beekeepers exude an enviable serenity; in conversation they are affable and calm. But is this composure - which they appear to possess in abundance - innate, or has it developed as a consequence of handling large numbers of bees without being badly stung? In short, is there a beekeeping temperament?

After spending time with members of South Australia's Amateur Beekeepers' Society, I was as keen to keep bees as I was to understand the Zen mindset. (Zen & The Art of Backyard Beekeeping was published in SA Life magazine)

Zen and the Art of Backyard BeeKeeping can be read by clicking here


a bee keeper in her garden

FROM HERE TO CLARE

Perhaps the most recognisable Australian wine label around the world is Jacob's Creek.

I've often wondered, while pouring a glass of their excellent Riesling, whether the creek named on that classic black and white label really exists.

This southern summer, on a trip through the wine country, I was finally able to satisfy my curiosity. (From Here To Clare was published in Manx Life)

From Here To Clare is available to read by clicking here


Photograph of a sun bleached wooden jetty

ENCOUNTERS WITH WHALES

Whale watching is a unique opportunity for a close-up look at the world's largest mammal in its natural habitat. The beauty of South Australia is that you can manage it from the comfort and safety of some of the world's finest beaches.

Encounters With Whales was published in SA Life and Manx Tails.

Encounters With Whales can be read by clicking here


Photograph of two fashion show judges at the races

A DAY AT THE RACES

From the very earliest days, South Australia's country race meetings have been important events on the rural calendar.

Social gatherings in which everyone plays a part, from horses and trainers to the toddlers picking up discarded betting tickets while judges puzzle over which of their lovely mothers will win the Fashions-in-the Field.

A Day At The Races was published in SA Life Magazine.

Read A Day At The Races by clicking here


Photograph of a bicycle in Temple Bar, Dublin

THE CELTIC CINDERELLA

In recent times, a fairy godmother - in the shape of the European Union - has waved a magic wand and revitalised the Irish economy with the result that Dublin's elegant 18th century houses, which once seemed in a state of terminal decay, have been rescued and restored to their former beauty.

Each city street has enough history in it to keep you busy for a month, but the greatest pleasures to be found in Dublin are some of the simplest to access, those aspects of life the city has always excelled at - a hot towel shave in an old fashioned barber's shop, or a perfectly poured glass of Guinness enjoyed in any one of the handful of public houses which have resisted change and are loved all the more ardently for that.

The Celtic Cinderella was published in The Advertiser Review on 24th November 2007 and can be read here


Photograph of Christmas tree decoration - a star

DEPTHS OF GLITTER

A lit Christmas tree in a darkened window is a sight that sets the mice of memory scurrying along complex pathways. There are other stirrings, too, deep in the psyche, for those of us raised on the rituals of Christmas and its ancient magic.

Each year as December approaches I resolve to be more casual, even to break with tradition. But as soon as I bring in the tree and unpack the decorations I find myself caught, as always, in a reprise of past seasons.

The Depths of Glitter can be read in full here