Connection to POW camp helps inspire novel

Peter Yeldham, who will launch his latest book in Cowra on October 20.

Peter Yeldham, who will launch his latest book in Cowra on October 20.

The Last Double Sunrise, the latest novel by award-winning Australian author Peter Yeldham, will be launched by Cowra’s Mayor, Mr Bill West, on Friday, October 20 at the POW Campsite and Italian Memorial in Cowra.

The Last Double Sunrise is Yeldham’s 10th work of Australian historical fiction and his third novel where World War II is a dominant theme.

The book starts in Northern Italy’s Lombardy region where Carlo Minelli is being groomed by his politically ambitious father to take over the family vineyard.

When Carlo’s mother discovers his incredible talent for painting, a deep schism emerges in the Minelli family.

On the day Carlo is due to take up a highly coveted art scholarship at the Villa Medici in Rome, Il Duce declares war.

Carlo is turned away from the Villa’s heavily guarded entrance and is subsequently press-ganged into the Italian Army, with disastrous consequences. Released by For Pity Sake Publishing,

The Last Double Sunrise is an epic story that brings the hardships of life as a prisoner of war in the 1940s into sharp relief against unexpected mateship, beauty and love.

Peter Yeldham was a young recruit in the Australian army when he first encountered Italian POWs in Cowra during his basic training.

Many years later, a visit to the French-operated Villa Medici in Rome sparked the inspiration for The Last Double Sunrise.

Peter Yeldham has been a writer for radio, television, film, theatre and novels for more than 70 years in both the UK and Australia.

He wrote screenplays for several acclaimed Australian mini-series including All the Rivers Run, The Alien Years, 1915 and Captain James Cook which was nominated for an Emmy.

In 1991 he received an Order of Australia Medal for achievement in film and television and in 2003, a Centenary Medal.

His adaptation of Bryce Courtenay’s Jessica earned Peter a Logie in 2005.