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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Debra Gavranich is touring NZ in September to talk about her book The Girl Who Left

The girl who left from Croatia to the canefields.

Marija’s idyllic early childhood on the beautiful Croatian island of Korčula is brutally disrupted by the invasion of the Italians and then the Nazis in 1941, bringing death and destruction. The devastation has left families struggling to survive years after the war has ended.

In 1950 an opportunity arrives for 17-year-old Marija to escape the hunger and despair all around her by committing herself to a complete stranger in faraway North Queensland, through a proxy marriage. Taking the plunge, she leaves her family and friends, her culture and everything she has ever known, to sail 12,000 km to a future in a land where she knows nothing and no one, whose language she doesn’t speak. Is it a chance for a better life? Will her husband be a good man? Will she ever see her family again? This is the true story of an incredibly courageous young woman who risks all in her quest to escape a still-traumatised Europe.

Debra Gavranich grew up on a sugarcane farm near Mossman in Far North Queensland and after travelling extensively returned to Cairns where she lives with her husband and family and works as a physiotherapist. Both her parents were born on the Croatian island of Korčula, near Split, but her father’s family migrated to Australia in the 1920s to work on the canefields, while her mother emigrated in 1952. Debra has always felt compelled to write her mother’s story, and this is the result – her first book. Follow Debra here

Events details

Wednesday 6th September - Wanaka Library 4-5 pm

Thursday 7th September – Frankton Library Queenstown 10-11

Thursday 7th September - Turanga Central Library Christchurch 6-7

Saturday 9th September – Whangaparaoa Library 1-2

Sunday 10th September – guest speaker at the Dalmatian Museum Monthly Meeting 2pm

Friday 15th September – Pakuranga Library Auckland 2-3

Saturday 16th September – Pukekohe Library Auckland 10.30

Sunday 17th September – Croatian Open Day Auckland

Monday 18th September – Waimahia-Clendon Library Auckland 10.30

Tuesday 19th September – Richmond Library 1

Wednesday 20th September – Motueka Library 10


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