Juliet Rieden worked with Aminata Conteh-Biger for 18 months to write Rising Heart, including travelling to Sierra Leone and London. The result is a powerful and important book, ghost written by Juliet in Aminata’s voice. It is the story of one woman’s astonishing journey from unimaginable trauma to becoming a power for good.
In 1999, Sierra Leone was in the midst of a brutal civil war where mindless violence, vicious amputation and the rape of young enslaved women were the everyday weapons of bloody conflict. It was also where rebel soldiers snatched the young Aminata Conteh-Biger from her father’s arms, then held her captive for months. Aminata experienced horrific sexual abuse and in Rising Heart talks in detail for the first time about her ordeal.
After she was released, the UNHCR recognised that her captors still posed a serious threat to her safety. So, still in her teens, she was put on a plane and flown to Australia to start afresh as a refugee in a land she knew nothing about. It is here that she has proudly built a life, while never allowing her trauma to define her. Yet it was a near-death experience she suffered during the birth of her child that turned her attention to the women of Sierra Leone – where they are 200 times more likely to die while having a baby than in Australia. So she set up the Aminata Maternal Foundation, then returned to the land of her birth to help. This is her story.
‘Memoirs such as this will ensure we do not lose the struggle against “forgetting” – that sly accomplice of tyranny’ Magda Szubanski
In 1939, as Hitler’s troops march on Prague, a Jewish couple makes a heartbreaking decision that will save their eight-year-old son’s life but change their family forever.
Australian journalist Juliet Rieden grew up in England in the 1960s and 70s always sensing that her family was different in some way. She longed to have relatives and knew precious little about her Czech father’s childhood as a refugee.
On the night before Juliet’s father died, in 2006, Juliet’s father suddenly looked up and said: ‘The plane is in the hangar.’ In the years after his death, Juliet comes to truly understand the significance of these words.
On a trip to Prague she is shocked to see the Rieden name written many times over on the walls of the Pinkas Synagogue memorial. These names become the catalyst for a life-changing journey that uncovers a personal Holocaust tragedy of epic proportions.
Juliet traces the grim fate of her father’s cousins, aunts and uncles on visits to Auschwitz and Theresienstadt concentration camps and learns about the extremes of cruelty, courage and kindness.
Then in a locked box in Britain’s National Archives, she discovers a stash of documents including letters from her father that reveal intimate details of his struggle.
Meticulously researched and beautifully told, this is the moving story of a woman’s quest to piece together the hidden parts of her father’s life and the unimaginable losses he was determined to protect his children from.
The Royals in Australia – Juliet Rieden
The relationship between Australia and the royal family is complex and fascinating. We are drawn to the pure magic of palaces, celebrity romance and high-fashion, but it goes deeper.
This isn’t just any royal family, its Australia’s royal family, who, when they are on our soil, consider themselves Australian, with a genuine and heartfelt connection to the people of Australia.
Juliet Rieden is the long-time deputy editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly and the magazine’s royal correspondent. In this lavishly produced, fully illustrated and meticulously researched book, Juliet tells the story of over 100 years of royal visits to Australia, and explores the myriad ties and deep connections that keep the Monarchy firmly entrenched as our Head of State and Australian support for the continuation of the Monarchy at 51 per cent, the highest in 35 years.