My memoir, Heaven Tempers the Wind, Armour Books, 2016, was one of the three books that made it to the Non-Fiction Book Section of the Finalist List.
The title, Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child is taken from Psalm 6, Verse 2.
It is quoted in literature by the protagonist, Hereward, in Charles Kingsley’s book, Hereward the Wake when he says, ‘They say heaven tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, but it tempers it, too, sometimes, to the hobbled ass.’
I am the ‘hobbled ass’ in my book because when Japanese bombs fell on Rangoon and we were evacuating, I thought that we were having an extra holiday as all schools had closed.
The book tells the story of my family when we were caught up in the traumas of World War Two, during the Japanese occupation of Burma. The story gives vivid accounts of the war, which renders us homeless, sick and starving.
Heaven Tempers the Wind concludes with the end of the war.
I commenced writing this book when I took early retirement from teaching at the turn of the century because, at the end of hostilities in 1945, few of us spoke of the past as the memories were too painful. I think that all of us need to realise that war has long-lasting consequences, especially on children. I also felt it necessary to get it out of my system and use my memories to benefit others by exposing some of the horrors of war.
My short story Hunger an excerpt from my memoir, was shortlisted in the Redlitzer competition and selected for publication in the 2013 Redlitzer anthology.
The following year June’s Death, another excerpt from my memoir, was published in the nation-wide Grieve anthology.
My short story Love at First Sight an excerpt from book two of my memoirs, The Sides of Heaven, has been shortlisted in the Lane Cove Literary Award Competition.
Here is what my manuscript appraiser Laurie Hergenham Emeretis Professor from QUP said:
This is an interesting and symmetrical story line: the Burma setting and its forgotten war will intrigue many readers, as will the personal battles of the family against the back drop of war. There is also tension from main episode to episode which lures the reader on.
My memoir, Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child, made the final short list of the Great Aussie Book Competition of 2014.
Results of the 2017 Caleb Competition:
2017 CALEB ~ Published Non-Fiction
Heaven Tempers the Wind – Hazel Barker
Becoming Me – Jo-Anne Berthelsen
Burn My Letters: Tyranny to Refuge – Ruth Bonetti
Congratulations to the winner, Ruth Bonetti!
Delighted to see my name alongside my dear friend, Jo-Anne Berthelsen.