Georgina Gregory is from Bristol, England. A passion for travel and a journey back to the classroom as a mature-aged student have resulted in the urge to collect stories, investigate histories, analyse cultures and ponder the connections between them. Georgina has a BA double major in Writing and French from Edith Cowan University. She teaches ESL in the real world and writes short fiction in the other. Georgina lives in Perth, Australia.
What's the story behind your latest book?
'Wajemup: Place across the water where the spirits go' started as more of a non-fiction project, detailing the brutal history of an island which is now a popular tourist destination. I had a conversation with one of my Mum's friends on holiday at the beginning of the year about her visit to Perth, and she told me a bit about the history of Rottnest Island. I couldn't believe that I had lived in Perth for nearly a decade without realising that this white man's playground used to be an Aboriginal prison. I had visited several times before, but there were no signs, no brochures, no acknowledgement. It's literally like the history has been wiped away so that people can get on and enjoy themselves. The more I thought about it and researched, the more I thought that a powerful critique could take a fictional form, and that's what I hope I have achieved.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am an ESL teacher, so I spend a fair bit of time at work: preparing lessons and teaching English to multi-nationality adults. I also run my own business - freelance editing - and I'm on the committee of Editors WA. On top of all that, I've been studying for the past three years, so I haven't had much free time. When I do get some time off, I love going to the beach, food and wine, spending time with friends, and (of course) curling up with a good book. When I lived in Europe, I had the chance to travel a lot, which I really miss.
This flash fiction received a commended award for prose in the 2016 Talus Prize. It looks at themes of longing, belonging and family, and was inspired by an article on the front page of The West Australian Newspaper on 9 December 1952: 'U.K. Migrants In W.A. Complain'.
On the surface, this short story is a snapshot of an Australian family holiday. Look a little deeper and you'll find a subtle critique of a society that buries its head in the sand, ignoring a brutal history to focus on its own gain and enjoyment.