We’re delighted to welcome back Jess Kidd to the Society to discuss her novel, The Night Ship. The novel is based on the extraordinary story of the Batavia, the flagship of the Dutch East India Company that in 1628 was wrecked on Morning Reef, on the Houtman Abrolhos islands off western coast of Australia. Its wrecking was followed by factions in the crew instigating a massacre of most of the survivors. This was amongst the first contacts of europeans with the continent of Australia and provides a brutal alternative to the myth of Cook’s arrival bringing Enlightenment values.
Jess will be joined by the historian Mike Dash whose fascinating account of the Batavia story, Batavia’s Graveyard (2002) opens up a wider history of the Dutch Republic, seventeenth century trade and exploration. In both Dash’s history and Kidd’s novel the later discovery of the Batavia and its archeological recovery feature. Kidd establishes a connection over the span of centuries via the lives of two young characters: in 1628 a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, in the 1980s, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island. Dash’s book was the invaluable starting point to Kidd’s research which led her from Haarlem and Amsterdam to Australia. The wreck was discovered in 1963, over the next two decades, archaeological excavations of the ship and various campsites evidenced the extent of the savage campaign. Find out more about Kidd’s research trip on her site: jesskidd.com
Lyrical, haunting, a beautiful and elegant fictional interpretation of history, I loved it.Kate Mosse on Kidd's The Night Ship
Scholarly and exhilarating. Not only history, but an enthralling sea yarn and true-crime thriller.Associated Press on Dash's Batavia's Graveyard
This event will be followed by a signing and a book sale.