Susanna Hoe: author of Tasmania: women, history, books and places

UK author and publisher Susanna Hoe has spent much of her life abroad, leading to an interest in writing history and fiction, often about women who have lived in places foreign to them.

Her first book, Lady in the Chamber, was published in 1971. Five years in Papua New Guinea resulted in At Home in Paradise: A House and Garden in Papua New Guinea. Ten years living in Hong Kong saw the publication of six books, mainly about foreign women in the region, including The Private Life of Old Hong Kong and Women at the Siege, Peking 1900.

In Chinese Footprints: Exploring Women's History in China, Hong Kong and Macau, Susanna shows the links between the past and the present, exploring ways in which women activists can pick up the baton handed them by their forebears.

This aspect of her writing is manifest in the story of her own time in Hong Kong, Watching the Flag Come Down: An Englishwoman in Hong Kong, published to mark the tenth anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to China.

The tenth year of operation of the imprint she shares with husband Derek Roebuck, HOLO Books, sees the publication of Tasmania: Women, History, Books and Places. This new book is third in the series 'Of Islands and Women' that includes Madeira (2004) and Crete (2005).

The new book on Tasmania includes walkers’ guides to key areas, including Macquarie Street and Hobart, New Town, Risdon Cove to Port Arthur, Oyster Cove to Recherche Bay, New Norfolk, the Midland Highway, Longford, Launceston, and Cape Grim. 

Susanna said HOLO Books' two imprints - The Women's History Press and The Arbitration Press – reflected their aim to publish scholarly books accessible to the general reader, which may not appear commercial to mainstream publishers.

“The price is kept as low as practically possible and titles are kept indefinitely in print. 

“So far they have been mainly on arbitration and women's history, though four law books by other authors have been published. We also distribute women’s history not published by the press.”

“The Women's History Press is inspired by Virginia Woolf's haunting image of 'those unlit corridors of history where the figures of generations of women are so dimly, so fitfully lit.’

“The Arbitration Press' primary concern is to provide historical and comparative insights into how disputes are resolved.

Susanna will travel to Tasmania for the launch, by Frances Underwood, of Tasmania: Women, History, Books and Places at the Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square, at 5.30pm on Thursday 25 November 2020.

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre members can purchase books from the Hobart Bookshop at a 10 per cent discount. 

Susanna is now preparing for publication Travels in Tandem: The Writing of Women and Men Who Travelled Together, and finalising her research for Foreign Daughters of Old Shanghai: Radical Western Women in China 1919-1949.