22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Dianne Touchell

Portrait Dianne Touchell
© Photography Project

Dianne Touchell was born in 1966 in Fremantle, Western Australia, where she also grew up. As a child, she developed a great passion for music and books. At age twelve, she won a scholarship to a music school, where she learned to sing and play the cello. While studying art at university, Dianne Touchell also worked as a bar singer and sold fish and chips. After taking time to travel extensively, she settled down as a bookseller in Perth and began to write.
Her début novel for children ages 15 and up, »Creepy & Maud« (2012), was nominated by the Children’s Book Council of Australia for the 2013 Book of the Year award and was enthusiastically received by the Australian press. It tells an unusual teenage love story: Creepy and Maud are neighbors who go to the same school and increasingly have conversations by writing on their windows. With his grim and reserved demeanor, Creepy lives up to his nickname, but he also has the remarkable ability to draw the cleverest conclusions from everything he reads and hears. Maud suffers from a rare psychological ailment that causes her to pull her hair out all over her body while her parents, who drink red wine at breakfast, schlep her to therapists. In their encounters with each other, Creepy and Maud find new strength and self-acceptance. Touchell’s next young adult novel »A Small Madness« (2015) is about having sex for the first time. Rose and Michael are in love, their »first time« is affectionate and timid, but they do not use a condom and after two months without menstruating Rose’s pregnancy test comes back positive. Under great pressure from the people around them, Michael and Rose remain in denial until Rose ultimately kills the baby. »Dianne Touchell’s novel neither accuses nor makes judgments, it simply tells an old story that is not at all outdated« (»ZEIT«). Touchell’s most recent novel »Forgetting Foster« (2016) addresses the problem of Alzheimer’s disease: Foster’s father Malcolm, a financial expert, begins to forget small things like turning off the stove or an appointment at work. But the instances start increasing and Foster starts to fear that his father could gradually lose all their shared memories and forget who his son is. Foster tries to process the situation by simulating battles with his toy soldiers and making his father the character of the powerful general who can no long remember his many war maneuvers. With her vividly narrated story of erasure, Touchell inspires the reader the contemplate what memories mean to people and what remains after one has forgotten all his preference and aversions.