February 20th 2008
John Bell chose Townsville to launch PAYBACK, his first novel, on Wednesday February 20th. Many Australians enjoy an affinity and fascination with New Guinea. Very often this affinity has come about due to it being their birthplace, their parents or grandparents living there, or sent there during the war years, or through business associations with the country. This affinity has had somewhat of a resurgence in recent years with so many Australians walking the Kokoda Track almost as a pilgrimage. John Bell was born in Kavieng, New Ireland and as such his affinity with New Guinea is deep rooted.
As with many of us, as he’s grown older he has been drawn more and more to further investigating and learning of his roots. It is now in retirement that he has been able to dedicate time and passion to that of research and a number of visits back to New Guinea in order to, as he says “to tell a story that I’ve wanted to tell. A story of what I’ve always regarded as my homeland. A story of life there, of what the country was, and for the most part, still is like, and what happened. I wanted to make it interesting and readable, yet be generally factual. So, I’ve written a novel. Creating a fictional family that went to Kavieng in 1909. The story traces their lives until 1945, and is based loosely around my forebears.”
John Bell is now a north Queenslander, having lived most of his adult life in the Whitsundays, however, it was in Townsville where his legal career began. PAYBACK is his first novel, with two more ready to follow. The immediate sequel NIGHTMARE, and a prequel yet to be titled.
Painting by Carol Bell of the choir that sang on the night.
Photos from the Townsville Payback Book Launch.
April 18th 2008
Stuart Bell, Lincoln Bell, Sharyn Bell, Lachlan Goddard, Carol Bell, Bruce Goddard, Jacquie Goddard, Lucie Bell and John Bell.