Fiction. Art History. HOLD STILL is set in 1860s London and Paris, and is a fictional account of a short period in the life of Joanna Hiffernan, the muse and model of both James Whistler and Gustave Courbet. Cherry Smyth has created an enthralling picture of what must have been a remarkable woman. How did a young girl, just seventeen when she met Jim Whistler, admittedly with beautiful red hair, and a vivid personality, inspire talented painters to create wonderful paintings: Whistler's Symphony in White, No.1: The White Girl and Courbet's La Belle Irlandaise which made their names? HOLD STILL tells the story from Jo's point of view. Her father instills in her a sense of self and Jo grows up to be a free spirit, a suffragette avant la lettre. Read HOLD STILL for an interpretation of Courbet's notorious The Origin of the World's genesis, with a highly plausible explanation of the absent head and face of the model.
Cherry Smyth's debut poetry collection, When the Lights Go Up, was published by Lagan Press in 2001, and her most recent poetry collection is Test, Orange, available from Pindrop Press. Smyth was a guest editor for Magma Poetry Magazine in 2012 and was the poetry editor of Brand Literary Magazine from 2005 to 2011. She has been awarded a Royal Literary Fellowship for 2014. Cherry has been teaching poetry writing in the Creative Writing Department of the University of Greenwich since 2004. She also writes for the visual art magazines Modern Painters, Art Monthly, Art Review and Circa, and her work as an art critic informs and shapes HOLD STILL. Author City: London ENG