Backstory: Hannah Kent On Her New Novel ‘Devotion’

Hannah Kent, the acclaimed author of Burial Rites and The Good People, joins Backstory to chat about Devotion, her new novel, with fill-in presenter Elsie Lange. Devotion is a story of Hanne Nussbaum, a child nearing womanhood with a deep connection to nature. She is brought up in 1830s Prussia as part of an Old Lutheran congregation and is an outsider until she meets Thea, and journeys to South Australia to escape religious persecution. 

Hannah says that this book is more celebratory and lighter than her past novels. She was curious about the Prussian immigration to South Australia and was thinking about the friendships and relationships between women in the past. Following Australia’s gay marriage plebiscite, Hannah says she felt a need to address a resounding silence in history surrounding queer love. Devotion addresses this silence and blends it with history, witchcraft, superstition, nature and land.

Photo: Lauren Bamford

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Listen to Backstory: Hannah Kent On Her New Novel ‘Devotion’31:1417 November 2021