The death of the American journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik in Syria this week has caused an international outcry – and brought home the dangers of reporting from the front line.
Colvin, 56, a veteran war correspondent with the UK’s Sunday Times, died with 28-year-old Ochlik, when they were fired on as they tried to flee a makeshift press centre that had suffered a direct hit from a shell.
Their murder followed claims that Syrian forces had pledged to kill “any journalist who set foot on Syrian soil”.
In her powerful first novel What Remains, Denise Leith has written with intensity and candour the story of a female war correspondent and of the impact of what she sees in the course of her career.
The book follows the tumultuous life of journalist Kate Price from her ﬁrst assignment as an idealistic correspondent in Riyadh in 1991 through the war zones of Palestine, Bosnia, Rwanda and Chechnya to Baghdad in 2004.
We track her as she pays the price of bearing witness to unspeakable calamity and cruelty until she can’t feel anything unless it cuts her to the bone. Along the way Kate meets legendary photographer Pete McDermott.
From a cynical beginning to grudging respect to something much more precious, their growing attraction frames the danger and terror of their working lives.
Denise talks to Caroline Baum in this exclusive Hoopla video:
*Denise Leith has taught international relations, Middle East politics, Australian foreign policy and Australian politics at Sydney’s Macquarie University. Her first book The Politics of Power: Freeport in Suharto’s Indonesia was published in 2002. Her second book, Bearing Witness: The Lives of War Correspondents and Photojournalists (2004), looked at the world of war, disease and famine through the eyes and voices of the world top war correspondents and photojournalists. In 2005, as part of the committee of International PEN, she was awarded the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Community Award for work with writers held in detention. Denise currently lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and writes and teaches part time at university. Visit www.deniseleith.com