By Kim Kelly
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Wild Chicory is the story of a journey from Ireland to Australia in the early 1900s, along threads of love, family, war and peace. It's a slice of ordinary life rich in history, folklore and fairy tale, and a portrait of the precious bond between a granddaughter, Brigid, and her grandmother, Nell. From the windswept, emerald coast of County Kerry, to the slums of Sydney's Surry Hills; and from the bitter sectarian violence of Ulster, to tranquillity of rural New South Wales, Brigid weaves her grandmother's tales into a small but beautiful epic of romance and tragedy, of laughter and the cold reality of loss. It's Nell's tales, tall and true, that spur Brigid to write her own, too. Ultimately, it's a story of finding your feet in a new land – be that a new country, or a new emotional space – and the wonderful trove of narrative we carry with us wherever we might go. In many ways Brigid and Nell are Kim and her grandmother Lillian Kelly, and many snippets of story in this work belong especially to them. It is primarily a work of fiction, but while the Kennedys and the O'Halligans in Wild Chicory are not the Kellys and O'Reillys of Kim's own family history, they have sprung direct from her heart, and show readers just how it is she came to be a writer of stories herself.