The Lost Sister

Journey of a Groningen Girl

Hi Everyone,

I really enjoyed the Bali Opening and hope some of you can check out their exhibition. The video is up of the poetry performance!

I am off to Victoria to write for the new novel, A Token For Perry'(The Girl From Shay's Flat)' and am looking forward to being inspired! Happy Easter and safe holidays.

I recieved this great letter from a reader Marg Mills about the Lost Sister of Groningen-really lovely to receive positive feedback. (see below) Thankyou Marg!

Nell Jones



Congratulations Nell,


Set, as your book substantially is, in a time and place of particular cultural, historical and social significance, it is much more than a personal description of a significant segment of family history. Your detailed description of the varied struggles and trials of individuals in your family gives life to what is all too often an incidental reference in much literature.


Life in enemy-occupied countries was particularly horrific, as much for civilians (perhaps even more so) as for those in active combat.   So much was lost (often within hours): homes, work (often replaced by forced labor), personal safely, trust in friends/neighbours, and most means of basic survival (food, clothing, heating, etc).  Fear tended to dominate – socially and environmentally.  Separation from spouses, and of children from parents, was endemic.  The number of “illegitimate” children soared. 


As appears to have been the case with some in your family, many people, being virtually destitute, ill or fearful of being arrested/deported, would place their children in orphanages, convents, or with “safer/more affluent” relatives/friends, to give the children a better chance of survival.  It is very much to your family’s credit that, despite so many trials, most survived and built new lives for themselves.


As for those who succumbed, in one way or another, I would need to “walk (more than) a mile in their shoes” (and then some) before contemplating passing “judgment” on anyone who lived in such an intensely soul-destroying environment.


In both primary and secondary school, I had friends who had no knowledge of birth parents, or whose families had been fragmented.  Some had come from England for “resettlement” with foster families.  Others had lived all their young lives in war-riven cities. Many of them went on to become extremely successful adults.  I believe that their initial recovery  (physical, mental, social and emotional) was due almost entirely to their parents’ commitment, sense of hope and determination.


How proud your parents must be of you (and you of them). Your book is a wonderful, enduring tribute to them.  It is rare, these days, to hear of people celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary; so, surely, the celebration of fifty years of marriage reflects great commitment, resilience and love.


Again – congratulations.


Margret Mills.


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Tags: Bali, Broken, Groningen, Jones, Nell, Religion, Sister, Sky, poetry


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Book Launch of The Sky Is My Religion at the 'Dancing Under The Sky Exhibition', Ubud, Bali, October 4th, 2012

The Sky Is My Religion
Special Edition
By Poems by Nell Jones
Photo book

Article featuring the Lost Sister of Groningen

Newcastle Herald

Article by Donna Page Newcastle Herald April 8th 2011

The Lost Sister at Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

Anneke and Nell interviewed by Joop Mul for the Dutch Australian Cultural Centre



English Translation of the Book Review on Radio Nederlands By Joop Mul (Ozcloggie) DACC

SBS Dutch Radio Page with Interview


The Dutch Touch on ABC Open

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