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by jraffan
posted 19/10/2014

Crime, Punishment & Redemption: A Convict’s Story

'Crime, Punishment & Redemption: A Convict's Story', author June Slee, published by the National Library of Australia

‘Crime, Punishment & Redemption: A Convict’s Story’, author June Slee, published by the National Library of Australia

ArtiFacts Eastside.

Join me, Monday October 20, for an interview with June Slee, author of Crime, Punishment & Redemption, published by the National Gallery of Australia:

“John Ward, writing in his diary whilst incarcerated on Norfolk Island, tells a story of thwarted love that–he claims–led him to a life of crime: including theft, sexual assault and more. In telling the candid story of his downfall he exposes his own ruthlessness and lack of empathy.

It’s all in this book: love, history, convicts, crime and criminology, Norfolk Island …

This book, using the diary as its base, is fascinating on so many levels – it is an insight into the criminal mind, ably examined by author June Slee; it is a glimpse into 19th–century aristocratic life–dress, food, pastimes and prejudices–from a servant’s perspective (Ward was a groom to an officer gentleman); and it is a unique record, perhaps the only extant diary ever written during the Australian penal era whilst its convict writer was imprisoned.

The author weaves the diary – Ward’s own words – into her text seamlessly to tell a gripping story.

Illustrated with over 150 images including paintings, photographs, documents, newspapers and drawings, June Slee’s book includes text box features that elucidate aspects of life at the time: oyster bars and eating out, disease, smuggling, county justice, convict marriage, convict class and society, the end of transportation, and more.

June Slee is an experienced writer and researcher, lecturer and practitioner in the field of criminology, particularly relating to the Australian convict era. Slee was immediately drawn to Ward’s story, not just for its insight into 19th-century crime and punishment, but also for its outstanding literary style and rarity as a diary that was written while its author was still incarcerated.”

The diary: http://www.nla.gov.au/apps/cdview/?pi=nla.ms-ms3275-1-s1-v

More on the book: http://publishing.nla.gov.au/book/crime-punishment-and-redemption.do

June’s blog: http://publishing.nla.gov.au/pages/blog.do?newsId=137

And the music? Prison blues, of course!

I look forward to your company – 10:30 to noon.

Jane Raffan