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Cover for Peel Me a Lotus
Isbn: 978-87-2802-458-4
Publisher: Saga Egmont
Memoirs & Biography Society & Culture Travel & Holiday
Accessible since: November 2021
Narrator: Josie Taylor
Length: 7 hours 12 minutes


Peel Me a Lotus

In 1954 the Australian writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston left grey, post- war London for Greece. Moving first to the tiny island of Kalymnos they then settled on Hydra and stayed for almost a decade.

They bought a picturesque, dilapidated house and Charmian grappled with the chaos of domestic life, the arrival of a third child and the clash of cultures. On Hydra they became the centre of an informal bohemian community of artists and writers which later included Leonard Cohen.

A travel writing classic, available for the first time in 20 years. With a new introduction by Polly Samson this is the companion volume to Mermaid Singing.

Charmian Clift was born in New South Wales, Australia in 1923. She became a journalist on the Melbourne Argus after World War II and in 1947 married novelist and journalist George Johnston.

Early in their marriage they collaborated on three novels: the prizewinning High Valley, The Big Chariot and the Sponge Divers. Then in 1954, having lived in London for a few years, they took their family to live in the Greek Islands. During the period Charmian wrote two accounts of their life there, Mermaid Singing and Peel Me a Lotus, and two novels, Honour’s Mimic and Walk to the Paradise Gardens.

In 1964 the family returned to Australia and Charmian began a weekly newspaper column which quickly gained her a wide and devoted readership. She died in 1969.

Polly Samson is an author, lyricist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her most recent novel, the bestselling A Theatre for Dreamers, features Charmian Clift as one of the central characters

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