Elyne Mitchell. Speak to the Earth. Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1945. First edition. Octavo, Ix, 215pp, black and white illustrations including frontis of brumbies, royal blue boards, gilt title to spine, lacks dust-jacket. Bookplate on f.f.e.p. states, “This book belongs to C.C.H. Culver with love from F.H.S.” F.H. Stevens is signed in pencil above the bookplate and dated 1945. Loosely inserted: a letter from Elyne Mitchell to F. H. Stevens and an obituary for Elyne Mitchell from The Australian.
Very Good. Head and tail of spine gently pushed, corners lightly bumped (bottom front corner more so than the others), clean throughout.
Elyne Mitchell, OAM (1913 – 2002), author, daughter of a Great War hero, wife of a politician and Changhi survivor, champion skier and passionate environmentalist. She is best known for her Silver Brumby series of children’s novels which she began writing in 1958 to provide suitable stories for her first daughter Indi who was growing up in some isolation at Towong Hill, the family property in the Snowy Mountains. Mitchell wrote her first book sixteen years earlier in 1942 and Speak to the Earth followed in 1945. In it she documents the time she spent managing the Towong property while her husband was Missing In Action during WWII. The loosely inserted letter to Mr Stevens is a response both to his appreciation for her writing and his enquiry after her husband.
Dear Mr Stevens,
Thank you very much indeed for your extremely nice letter about Speak to the Earth. That you had just read it for the second time was grand to hear. I’m so glad it gave you pleasure. And it was nice of you to say that Australia should be proud of it.
You very kindly enquired after my husband. He got back safely from Singapore about two months ago. He is already much fitter and in very good heart, very happy to be home, as you will imagine.
Thank you again, very much
Elyne Mitchell was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to literature in 1990. The Corryong Library in North East Victoria was renamed in Elyne Mitchell’s honour in 2001 and a rural women’s literary award (with prizes totalling $2000) has been named after her.
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