Thu, 20 Aug | Zoom - see ticket email for meeting details

Betty O'Neill - The Other Side of Absence

Honest and compelling, with elements of a cold case detective story, Betty O'Neill's 'The Other Side of Absence' is a memoir of resilience and strength as a daughter reconciles the damage and trauma wrought on families by war. Betty appears in-conversation with Patti Miller.
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Betty O'Neill - The Other Side of Absence

Time & Location

20 Aug 2020, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Zoom - see ticket email for meeting details

About The Event

Betty O’Neill grew up knowing very little about her father Antoni. She knew that he had fled Poland after WWII, that he had disappeared one night when she was a baby, and that his brief reappearance when she was a young adult had been harrowing and painful.

Honest and compelling, with elements of a cold case detective story, The Other Side of Absence is a fabulous memoir of resilience and strength as a daughter reconciles the damage and trauma wrought on families by war. 

Betty chats with Patti Miller, Better Read Literary Tour's memoir mentor. Tickets are just $5, or free with any pre-order of The Other Side of Absence. This event takes place on Zoom. The Zoom meeting details form part of your ticket, emailed to you after registration.

About the Book

Fifty-five years after her father Antoni deserted her family, Betty O'Neill becomes determined to solve the mystery of her absent father and discover exactly who was Antoni Jagielski. But what also becomes clear, through writing The Other Side of Absence, is the illuminationof parts of her own life; as the only child of a single parent, Betty was fostered out to different families and then sent to boarding school at age 9. Her upbringing was often painful and lonely. The war cast long shadows.

Betty’s search takes her to Poland, where she unexpectedly inherits a family apartment from a half sister she never met. Sifting through photos, letters, and other clues from her father’s life, she puts together a more complete picture of Antoni: Polish resistance fighter, a Catholic political prisoner, survivor of Auschwitz and Gusen concentration camps, an exile in post-war England, and a migrant to Australia.

Honest and compelling, The Other Side of Absence has elements of a cold case detective story. Evidence and facts gathered along the way reveal disturbing truths buried within a family. This is a memoir of resilience and strength as a daughter reconciles the damage and trauma wrought on families by war. 

About the Author

Betty O'Neill is a writer and teacher with a lively curiosity and passion for learning. She has an eclectic range of degrees, the most recent being a Doctorate in Creative Arts. She is a lecturer in Creative Intelligence and Innovation at the University of Technology, Sydney. She has presented conference papers in Australia and overseas on writing family history, the Cold War, migration and the domestic space as an archive. Betty attended our Better Read Literary Tours' Memoir Writing in Paris with Patti Miller. 

About the Moderator

Patti Miller is an award winning writer as well as tutor and mentor of other writers. She is the author of eight books – non fiction, memoir and fiction as well as writing texts. She also features in three collections and has contributed articles, essays, stories and interviews to numerous literary magazines and newspapers, including Southerly, Mattoid, H.Q, The Melbourne Age, The Australian, Good Reading Magazine, SMH’s The Good Weekend, SMH’s Spectrum, The Guardian (UK), Asia Literary Review, Christchurch Press, Island, Art Monthly, Eureka St, Look, Mama Mia, SA Weekend Magazine, Adelaide Advertiser, Bonjour Paris, Brisbane Courier Mail and Meanjin.

Patti began teaching Writing at University of Technology Sydney in 1984 and then Writing and Literary Studies at University of Western Sydney the following year. She teaches extensively, including for Better Read Literary Tours, where you can study the art and joy of memoir writing with Patti in Paris in 2021. Click here for more information..

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  • Event Ticket + Book
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