2022 - Highly commended
In her 2010 memoir, Affection, Krissy Kneen introduced readers to her unique family and the towering matriarchal figure of her grandmother. Stern, domineering, fiercely loving, Lotty Kneen—born Dragica—was always tight-lipped about her early life and family history. She rebuffed Krissy’s curiosity and forbade her from taking the trip back to the old country that might have satisfied it.
When her grandmother died recently, Krissy finally felt at liberty to explore the questions that had nagged at her for so long. In The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen Krissy sets out with a box containing her grandmother’s ashes, intending to trace the old woman’s early life in Slovenia and Egypt, and perhaps locate some remnants of family. Along the way she uncovers the extraordinary story of the colony of Slovene women who became the nannies of choice for the wealthy Italians of pre-war Alexandria—and identifies as best she can the places where Lotty’s restless, demanding spirit will be at peace.