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Wed, 25 Oct


CCANESA, Madsen Building F09

Kate Forsyth speaks about her book 'The Crimson Thread'

AAIA | Kate Forsyth | The Crimson Thread: Retelling of the Anzac story through Cretan myths.

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Kate Forsyth speaks about her book 'The Crimson Thread'
Kate Forsyth speaks about her book 'The Crimson Thread'

Time & Location

25 Oct 2023, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

CCANESA, Madsen Building F09, Madsen Building, University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW 2050, Australia

About The Event

The author, Kate Forsyth

The people of Crete had three great passions: love of country, love of freedom, love of life.

The Nazis brought subjugation, enslavement, death.

May 1941. German paratroopers launch a blitzkrieg from the air against Crete. They are met with fierce defiance, men, women and children fighting machine guns with daggers, pitchforks and kitchen knives tied to broomsticks. 

During the ferocious ten-day battle that follows, a young Greek woman named Alenka saves the lives of two young Allied soldiers.

Jack and Teddy are childhood friends who joined up together to see the world. Both men fall in love with Alenka. Both are forced to retreat with the tattered remains of the Allied forces over the towering, snow-clad White Mountains. Both are left behind in the desperate and dramatic evacuation.

Alenka hides Jack and Teddy at great risk to herself. Her brother Axel is a Nazi sympathiser and collaborator who spies on her every move. She must somehow keep them all alive, without her brother finding out her secret.

The German commandant is a cruel tyrant nicknamed ‘the Butcher of Crete’. As her people suffer under his rule, Alenka is drawn into an intense triangle of conflicting emotions with Jack and Teddy. Their friendship suffers under the strain of months of hiding, and their rivalry for her love. Together, they join the resistance and fight to free the island, but all three will find themselves tested to their limits. Alenka must choose whom to trust and whom to love and, in the end, whom to save - her brother or her beloved.

About the speaker

Kate Forsyth was first told the dramatic story of the Battle of Crete by her grandfather. Her great-uncle fought in Crete in 1941, and was one of the soldiers evacuated from the island after the Allied defeat. She became even more fascinated by Crete when she read the myth of Ariadne and the minotaur in the labyrinth. As she grew up, Kateread everything she could find about Greece. One day, while researching Greek myths, Kate stumbled upon a photo of a young Cretan woman and her mother carrying rifles as they determined to resist the Nazi invasion and occupation of 1941-1945. The daughter was so resolute and yet so vulnerable, the mother so sorrowful.

Intrigued, Kate began to read about the brave Cretan resistance to the Nazis, and - in a flash of inspiration - conceived the idea of writing a reimagining of the minotaur myth set in Crete during World War II. Years of research followed, including a trip to Crete, and deep immersion into the island's rich and ancient culture including learning how to cook traditional recipes and the exquisite art of Cretan embroidery. The result was her novel The Crimson Thread, whichThe Washington Review called ‘a riveting tale of courage, love, and betrayal’. Join Kate Forsyth and discussion about her novel, Cretan art and mythology, and why The Crimson Thread may well be her most personal book to date.

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