Patricia Donovan – Author Giving Back to the Place of Inspiration

19 May 2021

Drawing on her personal experience in the Syrian desert, Patricia tells the story of Jane Digby's life she traveled to the Middle East

  • Patricia Donovan
Remarkable Miss Digby

Donovan's debut novel, The Remarkable Miss Digby

Earlier this year (2021) Patricia’s debut novel The Remarkable Miss Digby was released. This historical novel was inspired by a trip to Syria in 2008 where she learned of the stories of Jane Digby, a 19th-century English aristocrat. However, it wasn’t only Miss Digby that motivated Patricia but the country of Syria itself.

During the time that Patricia began researching the book, Syria was a wonderful place to visit, however by the time she finished it, the country had been devastated by war leaving millions of Syrians homeless and helpless. Therefore, she decided to give back to the country by donating all author earnings to ReliefAid.

ReliefAid is an international humanitarian organisation with a vision for saving lives and alleviating the suffering of people affected by armed conflict. They provide life-saving aid, such as shelter materials (blankets, tarpaulins, cooking sets, and children’s clothing), to families in war zones.

Patricia grew up in Christchurch and graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Masters Degree (Hons) in English Literature. Her degree choice was inspired by a “love of words, books, and literature”.  She’s a member of the New Zealand Society of Authors and the New Zealand Writers Guild.

Patricia also works in corporate communications which enables her to work across a range of sectors, meeting different people, and continuing her love of learning. She’s also the author of a comprehensive reference book for the profession: Communications, The Four Essential Steps to Best Practice

Her advice to new UC students would be “Life is a canvas. Throw as much paint at it as you can”