A recent author talk organised by Mansfield Readers and Writers raised $500 for Mansfield Hospital Auxiliary.
Speaking at the event was Georgina Banks, author of the memoir Back to Bangka published by Penguin Random House this year. Back to Bangka is a memoir that follows two threads.
One thread is about Georgina Banks’ great aunt Dorothy ‘Bud’ Elmes, who grew up in Cheshunt, trained as a nurse and served in World War II. Bud Elmes was one of 21 nurses massacred in Bangka Strait, Indonesia in 1942.
The other thread in the memoir is about Georgina’s journey to uncover the truth and understand what really happened to her great aunt and the other nurses. The loss of ‘Bud’ had been so painful to her family that nobody had talked about her death, or even talked much about her at all. After being invited to and attending the 75th year memorial of the massacre, Georgina felt compelled to research and share what she uncovered. She also chronicled her own experience of uncovering and confronting the truth.
The Mansfield Readers and Writers (MRW) committee reached out to the Hospital Auxiliary and offered to make the event a fundraiser, as a way to honour the work that nurses do.
“I found the story incredibly moving,” said Miriam Zolin, President of MRW. “Bud Elmes had such strong connections with the North East of Victoria, it made perfect sense to invite Georgina to speak about her book in Mansfield.
The author talk was attended by over 30 people, and the ladies at St Johns baked Devonshire teas.
“We would like to thank St Johns Parish, through Rev Mel Clark and all the wonderful team there who helped set up the hall and made us welcome, said Miriam. “Their generosity and warmth contributed to make this a very special event for all involved.”
All funds from ticket sales have been donated to the hospital auxiliary. Marion Mitchell, from the Mansfield Hospital Auxiliary attended the event and said she enjoyed Georgina’s talk. “She has done a wonderful job of honouring her great aunt,” said Marion.
The author talk also led to Back to Bangka being on the August bestseller list at Mansfield’s Ink Bookshop.