The Last Telegram
with Liz Trenow
6.30pm Fri 2nd Nov 2012
When Colchester-based Liz Trenow embarked on her first novel she turned to the remarkable history of her family, who have been silk weavers for nearly 300 years.
She grew up next to the mill on the Essex/Suffolk border, which is the oldest family-owned silk company in Britain and one of very few operating today.
It was the memories of her father about weaving parachute silk in the Second World war which inspired the plot for The Last Telegram, which will be published in Sept 2012 by HarperCollins. Liz was fortunate enough to interview local people who had worked at the mill during the Second World War, whose memories helped her to understand the pressures of wartime.
From one of the company’s yarn merchants she learned about an extraordinary and little known mission undertaken by his father at the height of the war to source vital silk supplies from the Middle east, which becomes a storyline in the novel. She says:
“All of these recollections were invaluable, and made me really appreciate the vitally important work that they had carried out.”
About the Book
The war changed everything for Lily Verner.
As the Nazis storm Europe, Lily becomes an apprentice at her family’s silk weaving factory. When they start to weave parachute silk there is no margin for error: one tiny fault could result in certain death for Allied soldiers.
The war also brings Stefan to Lily: a German Jewish refugee who works on the looms. As their love grows, there are suspicions someone is tampering with the silk.
Can their love survive the hardships of war? And will the Verner’s silk stand the ultimate test?
About the Author
Liz Trenow grew up in the house next to the silk mill which provided the inspiration for The Last Telegram, and which still operates today. Instead of becoming a weaver, Liz worked for many years as a journalist for national and regional newspapers, and for BBC radio and television news, and is now a full time writer.