Salonika Burning by Gail Jones has been announced as the 2023 Historical Novel Society Australasia prize winner in the Adult category. Find out more about the prize and shortlisted titles HERE.
Macedonia, 1917. The great city of Salonika is engulfed by fire as all of Europe is ravaged by war. Amid the destruction are those who have come to the frontlines to heal. Surgeons, ambulance drivers, nurses, orderlies and other volunteers. Four of them—Stella, Olive, Grace and Stanley—are at the centre of this extraordinary new novel. Salonika Burning takes its inspiration from the wartime experiences of Australians Miles Franklin and Olive King, and British painters Grace Pailthorpe and Stanley Spencer. In Jones’s imagination these four lives intertwine and change. Each compelled by the desire to create something meaningful in the ruins of a broken world.
In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Gail Jones about the intersection of two momentous events of World War I and how four figures from history became characters in her novel by winding back the clock on their lives. Finally,Gail discusses the importance of exploring different perspectives on the experience of war.