From a reader:
I have enjoyed reading "Across Great Divides" immensely, at times reading parts aloud to my husband, and I have recommended it to so many of my friends and family. Very easy reading, but great for learning the story of the First Fleet and, the historical figures of the time, rather than just being names in history, for me they became characters in a fascinating story. I have just recently returned from a trip to Kakadu and Arnhem Land, where we were shown around by local indigenous guides, who told us about their land, art, food and culture. All this married perfectly with the perspective your book gave to the arrival of the First Fleet and its effect on the native inhabitants of Sydney Cove and beyond.
I just wanted to let you know, that I loved your book and look forward to a second book continuing the story. Regards, PM. (Email received, November, 2015.)
From a reader:
I attended Susan Boyer's presentation of her book (Across Great Divides) at Blaxland Library and purchased the book. I did say to Susan afterwards I would give her some feedback.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I loved the way it was written and particularly liked that there were enough characters, but it was always easy to keep track of them.
As I said I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I look forward a future one.
Best regards.....Lachlan (03.07.2014)
Author Talk - School
The class teacher's comment on an author talk to Stage 2 students at St Matthews, Windsor in April 2015.
Our class was thrilled to have a 'real life author' visit and present them with a different perspective on the history of the first fleet.
Your talk engaged all our students (and the teachers) with the individual stories of our first fleet people. Your book was particularly useful to the students as a resource for their Project Based Learning research. There was much evidence of the stories and characters you had referred to, in the student's projects and presentations.
The talk itself was delivered in an engaging manner, like a story teller sharing their tales. I'll finish with a student's comment:
" If Mrs Boyer didn't write that book we wouldn't have known the full story of the first fleet." (Olivia)
Author Talk - Windsor Library (NSW), September 2014, at which over 50 Year 5/6 students attended.
Email from Julie Tuck, primary school teacher. (19.09.2014)
Our kids loved it. They were very engaged and came out saying they wanted more, which was just how my colleague and I felt! Their understanding was clear and I don't think you need to change anything from the adult presentation for this level at school.
On my part, I would provide clipboards for my students next time to minimise the noise from the paper as they completed their worksheets, but I was very proud of how involved and interested they were.
Let us know if you do any more please! Regards, Julie.
Author Talk - Randwick Library, September 2014. Email from attendee, JD, a historical researcher. (18.09.2014)
I thoroughly enjoyed the talk, and I felt that everyone else there was just as enthralled as I was.
The theme of "crossing the divide" is really intriguing, and a stroke of sheer genius! For me, it really presented a new perspective on the First Fleet, and from dipping into the book, I can see that it becomes a thread that runs through all the different stories. And I also love the way the talk looked at the range of different attitudes and motivations among the settlers and the Indigenous people. The "White Settlers vs Black Natives" version of first settlement is overly simplistic, and your telling of the story allows all its complexity to come out.
If there's anything I've learned from my own research, it's that history is complicated--because people are complicated. I can't wait to read the book and really delve into all these fantastic stories.
Author Talk - Randwick Library, September 2014. Library survey feedback forwarded by Eric Connerton.(18.09.2014)
The feedback we collected was incredibly positive, with all feedback rating you (the speaker) as either "good", "very good" or "outstanding" on a six point likert scale.
Some of the verbatim feedback included:
- Really enjoyed the talk, so interesting and I learnt so much.
- Fascinating topic. Please find more great events on early Australian Colonial History.
- The talk exceeded my expectations. Thoroughly enjoyable and interesting.
- Could have used the screen more instead of reading from book.
Thank you again for giving such a fantastic talk. It was a pleasure to host you.