The Sitter

by Angela O'Keeffe

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Winner of the Joan C. Bell Prize

The Sitter is the story of Hortense, wife of the Painter Paul Cezanne, and Georgia, a writer who, at 16, was forced to give up her child for adoption. Although Hortense and Georgia are born more than a century apart, they exist, together, in a hotel in Paris at the beginning of the pandemic. Georgia is anxious to catch a flight home to Sydney before the Australian border closes. Hortense is the subject of a novel that Georgia has been writing. But when the two witness a terrible accident from the window of the hotel, Georgia abandons the novel about Hortense and begins to write about the forced adoption in her own past, and Hortense becomes a nightly reader of this new story. There are clues in this story, clues that Hortense becomes increasingly aware of as she reads, and when Georgia’s life becomes in danger, Hortense knows what action she must take.

ANGELA O’KEEFFE grew up with nine siblings on a farm in the Lockyer Valley, Queensland, Australia. She completed a Master of Arts in Writing at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Her first novel, Night Blue, was shortlisted for the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing and the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. She was awarded the 2023 Varuna Eleanor Dark Fellowship.

Zerogram Press