A war story tops the bio list
WHEN Rita Lowther retired to the hills behind Nimbin and began writing the story of her childhood, little did she dream that it would become one of the best selling Australian autobiographies.
Her book, The Wayward Child, which deals with growing up during the Second World War, has just been named the top Australian biography being sold by Amazon for the increasingly popular Kindle e-book reader.
Ms Lowther, who lives at Stony Chute, said she never dreamed the book would be a top seller when she began writing it - on paper by longhand in 2010.
She wrote it twice by longhand before doing a third revision on a computer and was delighted when it was published in hard copy in April last year.
She said her publisher then decided to "put it on Amazon Kindle Australia" - but admits she hasn't even looked at that version herself.
"I don't own a Kindle," she quipped. "I still love to turn pages".
"But it's been amazing. It's almost like an overnight sensation.
"It came from obscurity and it straight away made the top. It's been there five days now."
The book deals with the hardships of childhood during the Second World War and importantly, said Ms Lowther, gave her the opportunity to "thank all the soldiers, sailors, air force people and the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels (Papua New Guinea native stretcher bearers) for their efforts during the war".
She hopes with the approach of ANZAC Day more people will pick up either a hard copy or e-book version to read.
"It's got a lot of hilarity and it's got a lot of sadness," she said.
"We lived in a town called Leeton where there was a huge cannery. It was providing canned food for the troops in Papua New Guinea and they worked around the clock.
"My father worked the night shift and my mother worked the day shift. They were like ships in the night. They had weekends off. That's the only time we had parents."
The book recalls the propaganda newsreels of the time which had her running out of a picture theatre in a panic that the Japanese were about to invade.
Ms Lowther tells the story of a visit to see a doctor in Sydney when she and her mother got onto the wrong railway platform at Central Station where a group of Japanese prisoners were strapped down to stretchers in dirty, torn uniforms, many with heads bandaged.
"There's a lot of graphic stuff like that in it," she said.