Photo by Joanne Moloney Photography

Photo by Joanne Moloney Photography

Vivien Achia has spent her life reading and telling stories. As a child on her family farm she took her books up a peach tree with the finches, or into a paddock, so she could read undisturbed, ignoring her harried mother’s pleas for help with younger children.

When she married an older Italian immigrant she barely knew, her life was forever changed, and her own story took on a new significance. In her work in libraries in adult education and multicultural services she immersed herself in the stories of hardship, war, love, loss and dislocation told to her by immigrants and refugees.

Despite her strenuous attempts to cross cultures and become a good Italian wife, the results were sometimes funny but ultimately tragic. She and her Italian husband built a ‘castle’ at Kinglake in the 1980’s.  There they spent memorable years with three children and an array of animals, but their attempts to become hobby farmers were blighted by misadventure and drought.

Vivien works as a writer helping others to tell their stories, and with her partner George Eraclides, divides her time between Kinglake and Melbourne. They share their lives with a family of much loved dogs and cats.            

Vivien's work has been published in a range of newspapers, journals and magazines including The Age, The Australian, and the literary magazine Overland. She works as a writer, and as interviewer and editor has been involved in eight books of collected stories and memoirs. Her own memoir is published by Hybrid Publishers and is available at Readings, Booktopia, and in bookstores from September 2013.