Stephen Daisley

Stop Press: 2016: Coming Rain wins the NZ$50,000 Fiction Prize at Ockham NZ Book Awards

Daisley: Coming Rain, cover
Daisley: Coming Rain, cover

The contractor left a letter from their father and a white carton of tailor-made American cigarettes with a big red circle on them. Lucky Strike Toasted plain cut. He would remember his mother holding the carton as she hugged him and told him to do his best. The crinkly sound of the cellophane. The other kids around them like chooks as he tried to say goodbye Mum.

LEWIS McCLEOD has been travelling with Painter Hayes since he was a boy. Shearing, charcoal burning — anything that comes. Painter made him his first pair of shoes. But Lew’s a grown man by the time he and Painter arrive on Drysdale Downs to shear for John Drysdale and his daughter, Clara. And now everything will change.

Stephen Daisley writes in lucid, rippling prose of how things work, and why; of the profound satisfaction in hard work done with care; of love and friendship, and the damage that both contain. Praise for Stephen Daisley’s Traitor:

NZ reviewer Sue Green writes: ‘It is four years since Stephen Daisley’s heartbreakingly beautiful debut novel Traitor. Many of us enjoyed the irony of this Western Australia-based Kiwi winning the $80,000 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction with what was, at its heart, a very New Zealand story. So it was disconcerting to discover that this much-anticipated second book is wrought by his experience in the harsh environs of rural Western Australia. Shearer, truck driver, sheep and cattle station worker, Daisley, who moved to Australia more than twenty-five years ago, knows and loves this unforgiving country and its people. And it shows. Even such unlovely characters as the violent bigot Painter Hayes are drawn with compassion for a man of his place and time… This is a brutal, unflinching work with moments of shocking violence. Yet it is rendered with the same compassion, the exquisite tenderness and eye for beauty in the harshest places which made Traitor so affecting and memorable.’  — Sue Green, Sunday Star Times, New Zealand

‘One of the best novels I have read in recent years.’ Stephen Romei, Australian

‘A revelation… A rare pleasure.’ Australian Literary Review

daisley-traitor-cvr Gallipolli 1915: A young New Zealand soldier and a Turkish doctor meet in the chaos of battle. When a shell bursts overhead, David and Mahmoud are taken to the same military hospital. There, an unshakeable bond grows between them: naive shepherd and educated Sufi mystic. A bond such that, when the time comes, David will choose to betray his country for his friend.

The savage punishment that follows will break David and make him anew. The compassion he finds within himself will touch the lives of his comrades in the trenches. And later, back in the hill country of New Zealand, it will wrench open the heart of a woman crazed by grief.

Traitor is a story of war, and love how each changes everything, forever. Evoking both brutality and transcendent beauty, Stephen Daisley’s astonishing debut novel will transport the reader heart and soul into another realm.

The author: Stephen Daisley was born in 1955, and grew up in remote parts of the North Island of New Zealand. He served for five years in an infantry battalion of the NZ Army, and has worked on sheep and cattle stations, on oil and gas construction sites and as a truck driver and bartender, among many other jobs. He has university degrees in writing and literature and lives in Western Australia with his wife and five children. Traitor is his first novel.

2011: Traitor has won the Australian Prime Minister’s Prize
2011: Traitor has won the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing in the New South Wales Premiers’ Prize
2016: Coming Rain wins the NZ$50,000 Fiction Prize at Ockham NZ Book Awards

Rights: Australia and New Zealand.