Dotter of her Father’s Eyes presents two coming-of-age stories, taking place at different points in the twentieth century. By intertwining these stories, I explore aspects of social history: gender politics and social expectations, shifting notions about ‘acceptable’ behaviour.

The idea for the book started when I took early retirement, giving me more time to write. Bryan suggested I try my hand at autobiographical writing, producing a graphic novel script that he would illustrate. Some previous plans of his for a collaboration had sadly fallen through, with the untimely death of the Australian narrative poet, Dorothy Porter. He suggested a couple of draft titles: ‘James Joyce and Me’ and ‘What a Piece of Work’ (actually the title of one of Porter’s books). To be honest, I was a bit bemused at the prospect of autobiography. ‘Whoever would want to know?’ I thought, ‘So, my father was a Joycean scholar, so what?’ I gave it some thought anyway and, vaguely aware that Joyce had a daughter, I looked into that as a possible angle. As it happened a biography of Lucia Joyce had come out not long before (Carol Shloss’s Lucia Joyce: To Dance at the Wake, published Farrar Straus Giroux). I was blown away by the tragedy of Lucia’s story – that was what I was interested in writing about. It’s that biography that I’m reading in this train journey scene, part of the opening sequence.

Check out the rest of the Director’s Commentary for Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes on the Forbidden Planet blog.