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Photo by Frida Sterenberg.

Only in New York by Lily Brett.

Lily Brett's love affair with New York began as an outsider in her late teens when she was posted on assignment there as a young Australian rock journalist. In her early forties she returned, together with her soul mate and three children, to start a new life, and for the last twenty-five years she has

called New York home.

This witty, candid and moving collection of short pieces celebrates the city that's now part of her heartbeat. A compulsive walker, Brett takes us to her favourite places and introduces us to the characters of the city that has nurtured, perplexed and inspired her.

She brings to life the delights of Chinatown, the majesty of Grand Central Station, the lure of spandex and sequins in the Garment District, and the peculiarity of canine couture. And she muses on the miracle of love in the Lodz ghetto, the possibility of loneliness amidst skyscrapers, and the joy and redemption in a child's curiosity.

Full of wisdom, humour and grace, Only in New York is a human portrait of a city much loved and of a woman in step with herself.

"It seems to me that all men are particularly adept at removing a bra from a woman's body. One deft twist of the wrist and a woman is bra-less. Putting a bra on a woman is a different matter. They can't do it. Most men have never tried."

What do you hope to achieve when you write?

I hope that what I write moves people. I hope it makes them laugh; I always want to make people laugh. And I don't mind at all if they cry about what I've written as I think there are lots of things in life to cry about.

When people tell me they recognize themselves in something I wrote, I'm really thrilled.

Lola Bensky by Lily Brett won France's 2014 Prix Medicis Etranger.

Lola Bensky will thrill [Brett's] fans: finally a book based on her extraordinary experiences as a reporter for Australia's first music magazine, Go-Set, during the most exciting era in pop music history.
Australian Jewish News

Lola Bensky is a nineteen-year-old rock journalist who irons her hair

straight and asks a lot of questions. A high-school dropout, she's not sure how she got the job – but she's been sent by her Australian newspaper right to the heart of the London music scene at the most exciting time in music history: 1967.

In London, New York and LA, Lola interviews the biggest rock stars of the day, including Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger and Janis Joplin. But she begins to wonder whether the questions she asks are really a substitute for questions about her parents' past that can't be asked or answered.

With time, she discovers the question of what it means to be human is the hardest one for anyone - including herself - to answer.

Drawing on her own experiences as a young journalist, Lily Brett shows in Lola Bensky just why she is one of our most distinctive and internationally acclaimed authors.

Lola Bensky was the winner of the Prix Médicis Étranger. Lily has just become the first Australian and only the fourth woman to win.

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"Full of wit and earthy wisdom in the most surprising ways."


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