• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:

    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!



Sara Douglass remembered by Karen Brooks

Sara Douglass R.I.PThe outpouring of grief that has followed the death of Sara Douglass (Sara Mary Warneke), who died on Tuesday morning has surprised no-one – except, had she lived to see the effect of her passing, Sara herself.

How do I know? Having been Sara’s close friend and confidant for twenty years – and having followed in her career-footsteps (from academic to author; as she did for many others, she both inspired and encouraged me) and being in the process of recovering from cancer myself – I’ve spent the last nine months caring for Sara, along with my husband, Stephen. We shifted to Tasmania at the beginning of the year and have been privileged to share the best and worst of times with the woman who called me her soul-sister.

Though Sara was an intensely private person, when Stephanie Smith, Sara’s editor and good friend at Harper Collins, asked me if I could write an obituary, revealing something of Sara’s last weeks, I agreed. Sara had a deep affection for her readers and fans and loved connecting with them through cyberspace – through the early years of her message board and its various discussions, to her blog and websites (her homepage and the Nonsuch garden) and FaceBook. So, without disrespecting her privacy and with a heavy heart, let me briefly invite you into Sara’s, Stephen’s and my world – a world that with her death, for us at least, has been cast adrift and irrevocably shattered.

Her final weeks were not easy; even the seemingly simple act of showering tired her for an entire day. Nonetheless, Sara maintained her wonderful sense of humour and acerbic wit, and her curiousity and concern for others. She managed to edit and see the publication of what is now her final novel, the magnificent The Devil’s Diadem and even saw (though didn’t read) the advance readers’ copies of her collection of short stories, The Hall of Lost Footsteps, which is being published in November by Ticonderoga Publications.

Accompanying her to every medical appointment, ensuring she had meals, clean clothes and well-fed cats, Stephen and I spent as much time as we could with Sara and did what we could for Sara. And typically of her, she was incredibly undemanding and often apologised (for what, we still don’t know!). I don’t know how many times she thanked us. We didn’t feel (and still don’t) that we deserved her thanks … we loved her and still do love her and it was a joy to see and be with her, as others who know her can attest.

While she sometimes appeared aloof, it was often because she didn’t hear what was said – Sara was quite deaf and relied on hearing aids – but distant she was not. On the contrary, she was one of the most loving and affectionate people I know who would embrace you in the warmest of hugs and squeeze you tight. I will miss those hugs more than I can say.

Visited by a few dear girlfriends (she was selective about who she let into her life) who travelled to Tasmania to see her, she very much enjoyed their company, but was also glad to be by herself again. She was a very solitary person who lived in her imagination as much as she did in the real world. I think she would be overwhelmed by what people are expressing on various forums now; she would be laughing in her unrestrained and contagious way and shaking her head in bewilderment.

Her final days were, by her choice, in a palliative care ward in Hobart. Despite what she wrote in her forthright and amazing blog, ‘The Silence of the Dying’, Sara chose not to die at home. After two weeks in hospital and then just over two in palliative care, she made the decision, despite everything being set in place (care teams organised, doctor ready, and I was to move in with her), not to return. I think it was emotionally too hard for her – the distancing from her old life had begun. The palliative care ward was comfortable, the ambience was warm, the staff caring, frank and compassionate: just like Sara. There was a garden on the balcony outside her window.

At first she felt guilty that she experienced relief at her decision not to go back home, but we quickly assuaged that and told her it was both normal and perfectly all right to feel such things.

After that, she seemed to find inner peace.

Then, she died.

She died as she lived – on her own terms, in her own time. Her death was quick.

She looked peaceful, serene even, her alabaster skin glowing, her hair softly framing her face. It’s an image that will live in my mind forever.

In accordance with Sara’s wishes, there’s no funeral or formal celebration of her life. She wanted ‘no fuss’. That is so Sara! As I promised, I’m following these wishes – it’s the least I can do.

Sara will be cremated on the 29 September at 10 a.m. There will be three people present. I will read from both BattleAxe (the part where StarDrifter sings the Star Song) and from page 511 of The Devil’s Diadem to the end. I will also read selections from the various tributes that family, friends and fans have left. I will make sure you’re all there with Stephen and me as we say another goodbye.

Then, as the sun sets on Friday the 30th of September, I will spread her ashes over her beloved garden with her cats and a bottle of bubbly as witnesses. I ask that, wherever you are in the world – real and virtual – you raise a glass or pause, and for just a moment, help us send Sara on the first steps in the eternal dance of stars.

I know she’s poised to soar and once she departs, she’ll twinkle brightly forever – in our hearts, minds and every time someone picks up her books and reads her astounding and beautiful words.

Vale Sara.

Karen Brooks was Sara’s friend & carer for the past 9 months.

67 Responses

  1. What a beautiful tribute to an amazing person. Rest easy amongst the angels Sara

  2. Karen, thank you. It’s hard to type through the tears.

    Your words are so beautiful and comforting. We shall all be lifting our glasses to Sara for a very long time to come.

  3. Beautiful words, thank you. Vale Sara.

  4. Karen, Thank you so much for writing this to let us know of Sara’s last few months. Sara was such an exceptional person, who introduced so many people the world over to the joys of reading. I wrote to her a few years ago and was so thrilled when I got a lovely hand-written card in reply. That lead to a correspondance that I will always treasure and will remember for the rest of my life. As hard as I’m sure it was for both you and Stephen, and indeed everyone else around her, I know that she is now at peace, and is probably already starting her own garden in the afterlife. I will indeed raise a glass in celebration of her life and what she bought to this world. And again, thank you for sharing this with her fans, as it does bring enormous comfort. She was, and will remain, extremely loved.

    Chantelle Roberts

  5. Hard to know what to say, really. Every writer of speculative fiction in Australia owes Sara the most enormous debt. She broke the trail for every one of us who followed, and we are all of us diminished by her passing. My heartfelt prayers and condolences to you, Karen, and her Voyager family. No matter this was an outcome prepared for, it’s still devastating. Thank you to you and your husband for being such wonderful friends. After reading this tribute, I think I know perfectly well why Sara kept saying thank you.

  6. Thank you for sharing this Karen. I will make sure that at sunset on Friday I pause to toast one writer who definitely took hold of my heart.
    Vale Sara.

  7. Such a shock. I knew Sara had been ill but did not expect this. Wonderful fantastically imaginative writer. I shall read her books over and over. Thank you Karen for the lovely words.

  8. Thank you so much for this, Karen. It can’t have been easy to write.

    Despite not knowing Sara personally, she’ll always have a special place in my heart. She gave me friends when I was alone and an escape when life was cruel. I could never have thanked her enough for that.

    I’ll be sure to help farewell Sara on Friday and I’ll be thinking of you and all Sara’s loved ones.

  9. I fell in love with Sara’s books, one after the other and then was able to delight in her willingness to share her life with us (her readership) online. Her website and thoughts on writing, her progress with the garden – the astonishing work she did, and her excitement and joy at receiving a new copper pot in the mail. Her pride and joy – her kitchen. I looked forward to every response she’d make to a writer’s post, and to her posts on facebook. I was thrilled when she got her new camera and was able to take us on a tour of Nonsuch and introduce us to some of the cats! I am hugely sad that we’ve lost such an incredible woman, and hugely glad that we’ve all had an opportunity to drink in her many, many talents that she chose to share with us. Thank you Sara for bringing us your varied and delicious worlds and thank you Karen and Stephen for sharing yourselves also. I agree with everything that everyone has written. She was well loved and will be missed deeply.

    With great loving and warmth always,

  10. It is hard and almost funny in a sense to think about how deeply someone can influence your own life who you have never actually met. How you can cry and grieve and feel like a significant part of you is now missing. But I do indeed feel that with the loss of sara. I felt like sara was my own little secret. I could go to her and count on her to take me into a world and a place I loved and felt accepted no matter when, or where I was or how I felt or anything. As someone else who is a survivor of cancer I really admired sara and will always do so. She was so strong and such a brilliant artist. I am so happy to know that I have and we all have a new and healthy pain free sara looking down on us as an angel now. The world may have suffered a loss but the heavens or next world have gained such a force of greatness. Thank you Karen, for taking care of my friend.

  11. Sara left us and she lived her life, on her own terms. Vale Sara.

  12. We will pause to honour Sara at that time, Karen. I never met Sara but I have been lucky enough to meet you, Karen. Such a beautiful moving post. Journey well, Sara. On the 30th September as we enter the twilight time, I’ll stand in my little garden and send my love and light for Sara as she moves onto the next stage of her journey. xx

  13. Sara shared her home in S.A. with a ghost so she had some inkling of what is to come. If Sara wants to haunt this world she is welcome in so many homes around the world. Thank you Sara for the gift of your books. May you grow wings and soar.

  14. Thank you Karen, this is beautiful. We’ll be thinking of Sara and you and Stephen and the cats as the sun sets on Friday.

  15. Karen, I will pause in Friday’s twilight from the garden at Taroona and think of you and Sara and Stephen and raise a glass to friendship and good women. ♥

  16. Beautiful. I do hope Sara realized how much she meant to all her fans. To be honest, I cried when I read that she had died, and this was the first time I’ve ever cried at the death of someone I have not personally known. Maybe it’s because I feel as if I know her so well through her writing. Thank you so much, Sara, for everything.


  17. This is so beautiful, Karen, and I’m glad Sara is returning to her garden. It makes me feel a sense of calm in amongst the sadness.


  18. Am so saddened by Sara’s passing – my favourite Aussie Author – was so hoping one day Sara would go into remission and be able to continue the Axis Books but alas that will always remain unfinished. A brilliant Aussie Writer that will never be forgotten. Thank you for sharing her last months with us. I will be thinking of you all Friday Evening. xx Amanda

  19. Thank you Karen. I’m so grateful that you’ve allowed us this involvement in Sara’s life, death and memory. How lucky was Sara to have friends like you and Stephen!

    The forecast for Melbourne is pretty miserable all day Friday – it might be hard to pinpoint sunset so I’ll just drink steadily for a full hour to be safe!

    All the best x

  20. That was beautiful. It sounds like she lived and died well.

  21. Thank you for sharing this with everyone Karen. It was beautifully written and I’ll be pausing on Friday at Sunset to toast her life. I’m glad she gets to return to her garden and to see her cats. She was a beautiful soul and I’m sure that the send off you and Stephen give her will equip her for the next stage of her journey. Thank you for being so generous with your time and caring for her throughout this trying time.


  22. thank you Karen for sharing Sara’s final weeks with us. I knew Sara from one of the many online forums she frequented and only later discover her books which I now treasure. I feel so lucky to have been part of Sara’s journey and to have known her wit & wisdom, she was one of a kind. I will raise a glass and help send Sara into the dance this Friday.

  23. What a shock I didn’t even know she was sick, I was wondering why I hadn’t seen any thing of hers on Face Book recently. She was a great woman, and her passing will be a great loss to the world. I loved her books, she was a fantastic author and could draw me into the stories she wrote. Good bye Sara. <3<3<3

  24. Karen that was Sara…thank you for being there for her. She was definitely special and one of a kind. So many loved her and I am not sure that she knew but she touched many many lives…mine included.

  25. Just beautiful Karen. Your words have me in a flood of tears again. We all knew it was ciming but it’s still so hard to believe she is gone. She was an extremely special person & I will miss her. She moderated my forums for years & I always adored her for her wit, her wicked sense of humor & her kindness. RIP dear Sara, thank you for your friendship.

  26. Thanks Karen for posting this. I’m glad to know that Sara chose to be in the pallative care ward, I’ve read the silence of the dying quite a few times and felt sad that it came about the way she predicted.
    It makes all the difference to know that was what she wanted.

    What a wonderful person you are to have been her carer, especially with your own body fighting cancer. Sara did mention you on the simple savings forum, but she did not use your name. I am pleased to now know who she meant 🙂 She had such a way with words and helped us all with great advice on so many different topics.

    Will raise my glass on friday 🙂

  27. A beautiful tribute to a dear friend – we never met, but Sara’s words and her writing journey have inspired me as I have walked along my own path. Vale Sara, I too will toast your twinkling star.

  28. […] Her dear friend, Karen Brooks, who helped Sara through her final nine months has written this obituary for her fans: Sara Douglass – Voyager Blog […]

  29. Thank you Karen.That was beautiful and moving…. And as I wipe the tears from eyes, I give my solemn vow to raise a glass in Sara’s honor on Friday.
    I must admit, I was quite the late comer to Sara’s work…… It all began with The Troy Games. I just couldn’t put the first book down. I could often be found curled up in my bed in the wee hours, promising myself that I would just get to the end of this chapter…. Then I’ll go to sleep…. But Sara had a way of engaging you…. Of making you invest in the plight of her characters, so you just had to know what happens on the next page….I was completely absorbed….. And had to literally fall asleep before I would put the book down. I would even carry them to school to pick up my children so that I wasn’t wasting good reading time :D. I (stupidly) thought when I started reading The Troy Games, that there would be only three books…. One chapter into the third book I knew that there was just too much happening for Sara to be able to put it all in one book. I read on regardless 🙂 I was not surprised to get to the end and find there was to be another book. I waited for an eternity for that final chapter 🙂 When It came, I purchased it as soon as I could find it, and went back to the first book and started all over again so I wouldn’t lose the flow of the story. It was just as engaging the second time around.
    While waiting for the fourth book to be published I bought all the Sara Douglass books I could find, and I greedily ate up every word. She had such a way with a story, and I know that other fans of her writing will know just what I mean 🙂 The places and the characters came alive for you. You could see them and feel their pain. There were characters that you just wanted to punch in the face, and characters you wanted to hold in your arms and give them a shoulder to cry on, and tell them that everything would be okay. That’s the kind of writer Sara was.
    Sara was amazing and has brought me countless hours of laughter and tears as I travelled through the lives of her characters. For that, I deeply thank her. I appreciate how difficult it must be to put your heart and soul into a well spun tale, and then put it out there, hoping that someone will turn page after page and see what you saw, and feel what you felt….. There are sooooo many of us Sara 😀 We will miss your humor in the comebacks of your characters, miss their wild adventures….. Quite simply, we will miss YOU…. The parts of you that have gone into all the stories you have shared with us. I’m so very sorry that we will have no more, but rest assured that you will bring countless generations the same love of a good yarn that you brought to me 😀

    Thank you Sara. R.I.P. xo

  30. RIP Sara has been a pleasure to know you through SS, fly high and free in the sky – will raise my glass in your honour on Friday night – thank you Karen for being a wonderful friend to Sara, everyone needs a friend like you :O)

  31. 10am Friday I’ll be sitting down to a Service in Synagogue. I’ll send her name forth from there during the appropriate part of the Service.

  32. oh Karen, you make me cry and feel so raw. I only came to know Sara over the last 5 years and she let me into a tiny part of her world with humour and acceptance. We loved gardening and found we had both been to MLC and of couse I enjoyed all her books and she was wonderful the way she connected with my students….and the bubbles ! I breathed a huge sigh of relief when you 2 relocated and all of us are in your debt for such a gift of love.
    There was something outofwordly about her, a charisma and specialness. I cant believe she is gone. I will go down to Melb with Dee etc to raise our glasses on Friday. I cant believe her story has ended this way.No wonder we get lost in a world of fantasy bc sometimes life truely sucks. You are in my hall of fame 4eva.
    Sue knight.

  33. Karen, that was beautiful and gives those who loved Sara a sense of peace and closure. I will be joining others on Friday and raising a glass of bubbly, to a beautiful, talented, generous and loving person.
    Sherold Kelleher

  34. […] friend and carer, Karen Brooks, has written the most beautiful tribute for the HarperCollins Voyager […]

  35. Karen, thank you for your beautiful words. You are a true friend.

    I love the fact that my first intro/book of Sara’s came through one of my students – Threshold. “its really unusual, you should read it”. So I did, thank heavens!! What a journey it has been…. i will miss Sara’s interaction on Facebook, the way she would ask peoples advice on plot/characters etc was very humbling. it was amazing to hear her think things through ‘out loud’.

    Much love and blessings to yourself and Stephen – my thoughts are with you. Till Friday….

  36. Thank you Karen for including us, who didn’t actually know Sara, but felt as if she was a friend, to share a part of her last journey.
    She has been such a presence in my life for the last 16 years, Every book she wrote was an event for me. Waiting for the next in the Saga to be released, not being able to put it down when it came, joyous! Then re-reading them, so many times now……
    To have been able to share her self-sufficiency dream & renovations of Nonsuch in the last few years, has been equally delightful. A gorgeous journey through something really beautiful on this world.
    I will be sending my love on Friday at Sunset to wish my friend a beautiful journey to the next. I will really miss her.

  37. […] Brooks, a long-time friend of Douglass who has recently been treated for cancer herself, posted this beautiful obituary at the Voyager blog that gives some insight into the person behind the name. […]

  38. My perspectives and memories of Sara are different from most of those here. I knew her in the mid-1990s as Dr Sara Warneke, history lecturer at La Trobe University. I was still a student – just – when Battleaxe hit the stands. I bought a copy and read it, out of curiosity and loyalty to Sara. I can’t say I found it compelling; fantasy fiction has never been my favourite genre. But that didn’t matter. My admiration was for Sara’s professionalism, passion for history and her ability to teach and inspire, and that was enough.

    There’s always a danger with History lectures that they’ll dull your senses with a monotone barrage that bypasses people for meta-analysis. This was not Sara Warneke. Her teaching had plenty of academic rigour, but it was grounded in narrative, humanism, progress, hope and fate. History to Sara was the study of human beings and their communities, each in their historical contexts, adapting, surviving, struggling, rejoicing when they could. She never thought of the past and people separately; each was a product of the other.

    This concern with people also made Sara an excellent teacher. She was never one of those research-junkie academics to whom undergraduate students are an annoying imposition. She was extremely giving of her time and her wisdom. She marked essays with criticism but also with advice on how to improve. She was personable and likeable, without ever revealing much of herself (the first I heard of her once being a nurse was in the cover notes of Battleaxe). I had many office chats with her. Each of them she started with that curt, reserved manner of hers, then she’d offer a wry smile or a bit of sarcasm, and we’d be away, speaking honestly. That was the Sara I knew.

    Thank you for all you did for me and for others.

  39. A beautiful memorial, Karen.
    Vale Sara.

  40. Thank you Karen and Stephen for being there for Sara and for your beautiful tribute.

    I will raise my glass on Friday like many others.

  41. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I didn’t know Sara as a famous author – I knew her as a wonderfully caring, genuine, warm person who I found amazingly inspirational. LJG (Janey) is the 1/2 sister to our Bella and Leo and I loved sharing pictures of our fur kids and hearing hilarious stories of the going’s on of the Cat Empire.
    Visiting her home in Bendigo was wonderful, the garden was stunning and the work she had done on the house was just astounding. Nonsuch was the same – hilarious renovation stories, amazing gardening photos and yet more hilarity of the feline variety!
    I am heartbroken that Cancer has taken yet another wonderful person from this world. I will be thinking of you tomorrow at 10am and I will raise a glass of bubbly for her on Friday night.
    If it isn’t asking too much (and maybe it is) could someone let us in the cat world know how the cats are going? What will happen to them? I remember her telling me (but that was back in Bendigo and so long ago…) sending you all hugs and hugs and hugs xxx

  42. Thankyou Karen. What a beautifully written tribute to your friend. I am not so fortunate to have called Sara a friend, but I felt I knew her a little through her posts on a forum we both frequented. We reached out to each other just a little as we had both lost our Mothers to this insidious cancer, and I tried very hard to offer her some words of support when her condition started to decline. I found it difficult to find the words and cannot imagine her emotional suffering never mind the physical, but I wanted to do something, so I tried to offer some small and ongoing comfort, knowing how sometimes the rest of the world retreats in the face of illness. I hope that she felt the warmth and care that I tried to convey as someone who only knew her through the cyber world. I want to add that Sara has influenced me through her efforts to become self sufficient, and I learned things from her in that respect that will remain with me always. I am, thanks to her, about to harvest my first home grown tomatoes and strawberries. Home grown veges are not something I’ve been stunningly successful at in the past, but I perservered mainly due to Saras unwavering encouragement. I did not know when I first encountered Sara that she was a famous fantasy author. This is not a genre I normally read, being partial to biographies and mysteries. But to honour Saras memory, I will make a point of buying some of her books and particularly reading the passage that you mention Karen, to be read on Friday. When my darling Mum passed away almost ten years ago, succumbing to this same cancer, we named a star after her. I know now that Sara is with her amongst the stars, forever watching over all of us. RIP Sara.

  43. […] Sara Douglass Obituary:  http://voyagerblog.com.au/2011/09/28/sara-douglass-remembered-by-karen-brooks/ […]

  44. I am so glad to have logged onto FB after some absence and so sad to have found this news. Years ago when I first found Sara’s writing her stories saved me from depression, gave me a place to be excited and ecstatic and thrilled and amazed. She was the first author I ever wrote to and yes, I too have a personal handwritten note from her which I cherish. She told me at the time that “Threshold” was her favorite book of hers, and that I had inspired her to go drink a beer as the one I had described while enjoying her book was so tempting. She has given so much to all of us. An amazing talent and amazing woman. Thanks so much for your tribute. I’ll raise a glass.

  45. Dear Karen. This is devastating news. My thoughts are with you, your husband and Sara’s family and friends today and in coming months. All the ex-students and staff of Bendigo TAFE’s writing program who came into contact with Sara remember her with deep affection. She generously shared her knowledge of fiction writing and the writing industry generally with hundreds of our students in the years before she left for Tasmania. She was also a personal inspiration to me both as a teacher, a writer and a creative thinker – her deep humanity, immense wisdom and breathtaking creativity were evident in everything she did. Central Victoria’s writing community are grieving at the passing of someone who gave so much to this region. You did an amazing job being there for Sara in those final days. Finally, I also wish you all the very best with your own continued recovery. Deep condolneces. Ian Irvine (Hobson).

  46. That was generous of you, Karen, to share a private and hugely emotional time in a public way for our benefit. I can remember the day I read BattleAxe – I was lucky enough to read a proof – and had to pinch myself that this was not only a woman but an Australian…a South Australia at that. There I was sitting in Adelaide and dreaming of writing fantasy and Sara’s opening volume was a watershed moment. Apart from the brilliant story it gave me, it also gave me permission to write my own. If she could, I could. I wrote immediately to congratulate her and learned that I caused great joy being her first item of fan mail that began a long series of letters between us. We corresponded each week, sometimes every few days and I probably still have them all from a time when she was living in a funny little house, before she moved to Ashcotte – is that its name? – and long before her marvellous home and garden in Hobart where I now live and write from. Her excitement at being published fuelled my motivation and her encouragement – sometimes given obliquely! – was strong and wise, often wry and even prickly. Thank you, Karen and Stephen, and we will all be thinking of you in the garden tomorrow. I will certainly raise a glass to a universal star and a trail blazer for Australian writers. Vale Sara…

  47. That you Karen and Stephen for your care of Sara (I so loved her books I will reread everyone again) I wll raise a glass to the night sky and remember a great Aussie writter Vale Sara

  48. Firstly Karen,what a lovely tribute.
    I never got to meet Sara in person but conversed with her many times online via the forum sharing the love of cats,
    Us members/friends would clan together and attempt to rake away the bad for her.
    I am sad to read of her passing, she put up a good fight.
    Always remember some of the stories of funny sights when she would go for her walks through Hobart.
    Always loved to see her beautiful garden photos.
    My heart goes out to all who were close to her.
    Rest in peace a special and unique lady.

  49. Karen a lovely tribute to a woman loved by all through her works. I drink a virtual glass of champagne in the memory of Sara, and may the stars shine of her exquistite tales when we re-read her works in honour and splendor. She was and still is one of my best authors I like to read and I’ll read her books every year in memory of a unique woman.

  50. Sara was a tower of strength for me when I was crook and we bitched about chemo and it’s after effects, and she was my inspiration for my garden after my car accident ,a kindred spirit for our love of recycling and reducing our impact on the earth.
    Karen you were her strength throughout this and she mentioned you ,not by name, but by nature…
    Love you Sara ,I walk out to play in my birdies everyday ..you will live in my garden forever!

  51. […] wrote a very powerful, moving and defiant essay, The Silence of the Dying. Friend and fellow author Karen Brooks wrote a beautiful obituary on the Voyager blog. Make sure you have a box of tissues […]

  52. Thank you Karen for sharing your time with Sara.
    Fly high Sara, your purpose on earth was more than fulfilled with your generosity of heart & spirit & your wisdom, knowledge & sharing of same.
    You are missed in so many spheres & you have left a huge legacy.

  53. Thanks for your insights into Sara’s life. She will be greatly missed by all.

  54. Thats so beautiful. I’ve loved reading all of Sara’s books and was genuinely sad to hear of her passing. She was lucky to have such a good friend in Karen. I will raise a glass to her tonight.

  55. Karen you’ve written a beautiful and moving tribute.

    May your star shine forever Sara…

  56. What beautiful words from someone that was obviously a truly treasured friend. I just found out about Sara’s passing on goodreads – and I’m gutted. She was my favourite author. I often visited her blog to check how life was rolling, and didn’t even realise that she’d disappeared from our connected cyber world in facebook and online. What a truly wonderful way to celebrate her time with us, Battleaxe is still my favourite of her works – the series in general one I will read and reread and hear in my head at all times. Her star will be one of the brightest in our skies.

  57. Thank you Karen, I have only just found out. I am sure Sara told you how much you meant to her. You have so beautifully encapsulated the very private Sara – the supreme gardener because her seeds will grow in minds forever.

  58. […] she would be laughing in her unrestrained and contagious way and shaking her head in bewilderment. Read the full post. Writer and critic Lucy Sussex, in an obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald: Middle Ages history […]

  59. Beautiful words Karen, I just wanted to say that Sara affected my life profoundly. Through her books I have laughed, loved and cried, let me say this few authors have ever made me experience such a range of emotions. I will remember Sara for the special way in which she touched my life.

  60. I am absolutely devastated. I just found out Sara had passed. Every one of her books have captured me and since the release of battleaxe i have patiently waited for the next to be released. I now feel i have nothing to look forward to. That is how profound her books are. She has touched my life thorugh her books in every way imaginable.

  61. […] met several times over the last ten years. But you were a close friend and wrote a lovely piece, ‘Sara Douglass Remembered’ on the Voyager blog, and you gave Sara’s acceptance speech for the Norma K Hemming Award. […]

  62. What tragic news.

    Sara’s books helped me through the rough times of high school and early 20’s when I needed a light to guide me. Her bulletin board gave me friends all over Australia when I had none and being an Apostolic Wreaker of Havoc for her was an honour I will always treasure.

    We organised a present for her that was sent to all 4 corners of the country for the havoc wreakers to sign personally before eventually finding its way to bendigo. Back when the internet was younger and we were so amazed by its power.

    The lessons I learnt from her have done me very well in my creative career and dreams of living in tasmania and having a garden will continue to help me through my life.

    Your books have pride of place in my home next to the family photos and are always the first thing to be unpacked when I move. When my nieces come of age they will be introduced to them so you will never be forgotten.

    Vale Sara.

  63. Patrick’s reply above is far more eloquent than what I can manage right now, because I had no idea about Sara’s passing and it hurts to find out so late — too late. I, too, was one of those “early days” fans on her forum, and will forever cherish Sara’s warmth, wit and friendship, and the chance to have been part of something very special.

  64. I have been desperately trying to recover the silence of the dying blogs to assist with a friend of mine who is caring for a terminally ill friend- unfortunately all links are inactive. Is there a copy somewhere that I can source to pass on??? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. It would be a tragedy to think that such a powerful piece of literature could have vanished

  65. Taz, it is still available at internet archive, thankfully, I was able to retrieve it today, I also think it is a tragedy that such a powerful piece has been lost online. You can find it here though:


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