NONAGENARIAN Liz Hicklin’s memoir Kiss & Cry was launched on Sunday 26 February at Morven Manor Mornington to a warm group of fellow writers, friends, and family, as well as Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s deputy mayor Cr Debra Mar.
Originally from the United Kingdom, 92-year-old Hicklin (author, poet, and raconteur) has led an interesting life on two continents, dating the celebrated British poet Laureate Ted Hughes before moving to Australia and marrying her late husband Bill in the 1950’s.
In her introductory speech at the launch, vice president of the Peninsula Writer’s Club, (of which Liz is a member) Rebecca Fraser described the author as “…a naturally gifted storyteller. Kiss & Cry celebrates a life tapestry woven with a rich blend of love, loss, adventure, and entrepreneurship underpinned by a remarkable sense of recall and a delightfully wicked sense of humour. Liz’s writing is real and raw, shaped by introspection and emotion, and spans nine decades taking the reader from Manchester to Alberta and Alice Springs to Armadale, and beyond”.
When asked her secret to such longevity and sprightliness, Hicklin said “HRT and sex” to the raucous laughter of her audience. She then read an excerpt from her book about moving to Australia in the 1950s, originally working as a nurse before she and Bill established a pet shop.
Her son Boyd read a poem written by his sister Jane in 2000 about Hicklin, which captures the essence of their mother as a creative and witty character.
Tragically both of Liz’s daughters, Leeza and Jane, suffered with mental health issues and died by suicide. The theme of resilience in Hicklin’s memoir was well highlighted by Fraser in her introductory speech “Liz’s hardening is devastating in its finality, yet with hope comes healing, and with resilience comes revival”.
Kiss & Tell, and Hicklin’s first book Limerance, a tale about obsessive love, are both published by MMH Press and available to purchase from Farrell’s Bookshop Mornington, Rosebud Book Barn and Antipodes Bookshop Sorrento or online.