Amanda Webster

webster-tear-cvr Born into privilege and wealth, Amanda Webster is a sixth generation Australian descended from white settlers and the third generation to grow up in Kalgoorlie. When she turned five Amanda started school and became friends with Aboriginal children fromthe nearby Kurrawang Mission. At that time the lives of the Aboriginal people were controlled by the Chief Protector and his local representatives, one of whom was Webster’s very own grandfather.

Forty years later, Webster returns to her hometown. She confronts her racist blunders, her cultural ignorance and her family’s secret past. And so begins her journey of reconcilication and friendship, taking her into a world she hardly knew existed.

A Tear in the Soul is a frank, beautifully written account of Webster’s personal journey towards the relisation that she, like generations of Australians, grew up with a distorted and idealised version of the past.

Do boys get anorexia? People were often surprised when Amanda Webster told them her son Riche was not just a bit too skinny, but dangerously ill.

Then they would ask, ‘How did he get it?’
That was the question Amanda asked herself. She had trained as a doctor. She knew that every disease has a cause. And if her eleven-year-old son had an eating disorder, surely the cause must be something she and her husband Kevin had done — or failed to do?


Amanda Webster grew up in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. She graduated from the University of Western Australia as a doctor, but left medicine to raise a family with her husband. Amanda turned to writing after her son’s illness; subsequently her work has appeared in several US literary journals. Amanda lives in Sydney with her husband and two of her three children.

Amanda Webster, photo Karl Schwerdtfeger

World rights: Text Publishing

Christine Wallace


Christine’s latest title, The Private Don, based on a series of revealing letters by the normally reticent cricketer Sir Donald Bradman, was released by Allen & Unwin in late 2004.

Christine is currently working on a biography of Julia Gillard, contracted to Allen & Unwin.

Prior work

Her controversial biography of Germaine Greer, The Untamed Shrew, was published in 1997 in Australia and was released in the USA and the UK.

Christine Wallace is a Canberra press gallery journalist of long standing.

Murray Waldren


Photo, left: Murray Waldren.

Christopher O’Doherty, aka Reg Mombassa, has infiltrated our culture for more than thirty years with a unique, laconic view of our world. His wit, sense of mischief and larrikin energy resonated in the songs and performances of one of Australia’s most beloved bands, Mental As Anything.

mombassa-cvrYet long before he became a Mental or transformed Mambo shirts into collector’s items, Mombassa was first and foremost an artist. From his idiosyncratic pop art to the delicately realised fine art landscapes and images that celebrate and elevate the suburban, his artworks are sought by collectors around the world. Who else could stage the biggest one-man art show in history at the Sydney Olympics? Who else could have Elvis Costello producing his records, or Johnny Rotten and Crowded House seeking his record cover designs?

mombassa-wolvesBut there is much more to Reg Mombassa, as fellow New Zealand-born writer and painter Murray Waldren shows in this illuminated journey, illustrated with over 300 artworks, photographs, posters and band memorabilia.

See Reg Mombassa’s page.

Prior works

Dining Out With Mr Lunch, a collection of literary profiles, was published by the University of Queensland Press in 1999.

Murray’s analytical feature on the Moran trial, A Family Act, was shortlisted for a Walkley Award.

He then went on to write a book on the turbulent Moran family, Moran v Moran, which was published by HarperCollins Australia in 2001.

Mark Wakely

Sweet Sorrow: a beginner’s guide to death

Mark’s new book is remarkable: at times heart-breaking, at times humorous, it is dazzling for its profound honesty. Like most of us, Mark Wakely had always put death in the too-hard basket. He was curiously distanced from his own parents’ deaths. Thirty years later, he went on a journey to confront one of the most intensely personal yet universal experiences: our own mortality. With Mark as our guide, we are introduced to morticians and embalmers, rabbis and doctors, coffin makers and gravediggers. He reveals the fashions and the fads, the rituals and the deep emotion in a heartfelt and whimsical investigation into this timeless subject.

Prior work

Dream Home: Houses and the Imagination

Mark Wakely takes the reader on a wonderful ride between womb and tomb as he looks at what our homes mean to us at different stages of our lives. Dream Home is a book for anyone who’s ever made a house a home, and for all readers who question the notion of home. It is a book of universal appeal with numerous international references.

Mark Wakely is a Sydney-based writer, and a journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National.

Adam Wakeling

Adam Wakeling: The Last Fifty Miles
‘They were fifty miles to victory and defeat, fifty miles to collapse and renewal, and fifty miles to a new place for Australia among the nations of the world. They were among the most significant fifty miles in our history.’

March, 1918. The young Australian nation is struggling to cope with the Great War, now in its fifth year — the strain of maintaining huge armies halfway across the globe, the bitter divisions over conscription, anxiety from the rise of Communism in Russia, and the creeping influence of the War Precautions Act. And, above all, the country-wide grief over the death of its men on a scale never before seen or even imagined. The five Australian divisions have recently been combined into an all-Australian Corps, fighting as one unit in France. They need a commander and Major-General John Monash is a leading candidate, but he rose through the ranks as a part-time militia officer rather than as a professional soldier, and is of German-Jewish background at a time when xenophobia is at its height. Before the issue can be settled, German supreme commander Erich Ludendorff resolves to launch a massive offensive, seize Paris and win the War…

The Last Fifty Miles by Adam Wakeling is the riveting account of how, when it mattered most, Australia stood up to play a critical role in one of the most decisive victories of World War One. Told with immediacy, lyricism and a clear-eyed focus by a brilliant new talent in history writing, it relives an extraordinary, neglected chapter of Australia’s past. Published by

Julienne van Loon

vanloon-portrait-2004-loresJulienne van Loon was the Winner of the 2004 Vogel Award. Her novel Road Story was released in 2005.

In 2006 she completed a new novel Backtracking, set in and around Port Hedland in the inhospitable far North of Australia. This book was published by Allen & Unwin in 2008.

Her latest novel is Harmless:

“With the right kind of mindfulness, William Blake tells us, one can behold infinity in a grain of sand. In the grainy bush tracks of the outer eastern suburbs of Perth, the whole canvas of contemporary Australian life — its ethnic diversity, its violence, its growing divisions of class and economic status, its convoluted history of linkage with South East Asia — is made vivid and visible in this remarkable novella. In sensual prose, van Loon presents a gallery of characters whose lives are as grim as they are compelling, whose small acts of resistance and resilience loom large and beautiful and heroic.”
— Janette Turner Hospital

Photo: Julienne van Loon, 2004.

Peter Twohig

twohig-torch-cvrThe Torch Melbourne, 1960: Mrs Blayney and her twelve-year-old son live in South Richmond. At least, they did, until their house burnt down. The prime suspect – one Keith Aloysius Gonzaga Kavanagh, also aged twelve – has mysteriously disappeared. Our narrator, the Blayney kid, sets off on a covert mission to find young Keith, whom he privately dubs ‘Flame Boy’, to save him from the small army of irate locals (not to mention his mother) who want to see him put away.

Flame Boy has not only made himself scarce, but he’s done so with a very important briefcase of secrets, which the kid is keen to get hold of for his grandfather, a shady character who has some secrets of his own. But the kid has got a lot going on: he’s also organising a new gang of kids; coping with the ups and downs of having a girlfriend (who likes to kiss – a lot); trying to avoid Keith’s dangerous prison-escapee father, Fergus Kavanagh, who is suspected of selling secrets to the Russians; and all the while wondering how he can get his hands on the most beautiful object in the world – the Melbourne Olympic Torch.

A madcap, brilliantly shambolic and irresistibly fun novel about loss, discovery and living life to the full, The Torch is a ripper of a ride.


The Cartographer: Melbourne, 1959: An 11-year-old boy witnesses a murder as he spies through the window of a strange house. God, whom he no longer counts as a friend, obviously has a pretty screwed-up sense of humour: just one year before, the boy had looked on helplessly as his twin brother, Tom, suffered a violent death.

Now, having been seen by the angry murderer, he is a kid on the run. He takes refuge in the dark drains and grimy tunnels beneath the city, transforming himself into a series of superheroes and creating a rather unreliable map to plot out places where he is unlikely to cross paths with the bogeyman.

Peter Twohig was born in Melbourne in 1948. He survived a Catholic education, and worked in the Australian Public Service until 1992. He then moved to Sydney to become a naturopath and homoeopath. He has degrees in philosophy and complementary medicine. The Cartographer is his first novel.

Australia / New Zealand rights held by Harper Collins/Fourth Estate

Overseas rights available through ALM

Kirsten Tranter

Kirsten Tranter, Hold

‘Sensual, spooky, and utterly beguiling: Hold is an enormously powerful work of art, an intimate portrait of grief and betrayal.’  — Ceridwen Dovey, author of Only the Animals

Three years ago, Shelley’s lover, Conrad, died in a surfing accident. Now, still in a state of subdued grief, Shelley has just moved into an old Victorian terrace in Paddington with David, her new partner, trying for a new beginning. At home one morning, Shelley discovers a door to a small intriguing room, which is not on the plans. There is a window, a fireplace and a beautiful chandelier. But nothing else. When Shelley meets a man who seems to be Conrad’s uncanny double, the mysterious room begins to dominate her world, becoming a focus for her secret fantasies and fears, offering an escape which also threatens to become a trap. A waking dream of a novel, Hold is spellbinding, sensual and unsettling.

Hold is an uncanny tale and a compelling story of unresolved grief in a structure so perfectly calibrated that it’s like being at the centre of an unfolding flower. Written with great delicacy and restraint, Hold is intensely evocative of Sydney and its disorienting subtropical strangeness.’ — Amanda Lohrey

Praise for The Legacy

‘[Kirsten Tranter’s] first novel, The Legacy, shows her to be a novelist with a commanding talent — a tough plain-stylist who can people her fictional world with characters of great vivacity and vigour … Full of suave and stunning evocations of Sydney and Manhattan, this sparkling and spacious novel captures the smell and sap of young people half in love with everyone they’re vividly aware of, and groping to find themselves… like the answer to an erotic enigma’ — Peter Craven, The Monthly

‘This hypnotic debut from Australian author Tranter pays homage to Henry James’s A Portrait of a Lady while offering a suspenseful story line worthy of Patricia Highsmith… While Tranter’s sedate pacing avoids typical thriller antics and conventional crime plot twists, she raises some wickedly keen questions about art world wheeling and dealing’ — Publishers Weekly

‘An intelligent and engaging novel that is dense, intricate, detailed, acutely observed, and beautifully written in a voice that is measured and consistent from start to finish’ — Debra Adelaide, author of The Household Guide to Dying

‘The Legacy never lacks self-assurance or narrative drive’ — Sydney Morning Herald

‘[Tranter is] an innovative revisionist unafraid of challenge and more than up for the risks, tempering the satisfaction of the known with the surprises of the new … The Legacy is an entertaining literary thriller that skilfully describes the almost pleasurable pain of love and life denied’ — Weekend Australian


They were originally five close friends, bonded in college, still coming together for their annual trip to Las Vegas. This year they are four. Four friends, sharing a common loss: Dylan’s tragic death. A common loss that, upon their arrival in Vegas, will bring with it a common threat: one that will make them question who their departed friend really was, and whether he is even worthy of their grief.

A Common Loss is Kirsten Tranter’s follow-up to her critically acclaimed debut, The Legacy. Yet again, Tranter’s weave of watertight prose and literary sensibilities shows her to be a born writer with a precocious control of storytelling and style.

A Common Loss: Fourth Estate / HarperCollins

tranter-kirsten-2008-150wPrior work

The Legacy explores the complex workings of love and friendship, and asks whether it is possible to escape or to transform our scripted fate. Julia Alpers, a young woman from Sydney, travels to New York in August 2002 at the request of her friend Ralph to search for answers about their friend, his cousin Ingrid. Ingrid inherited a fortune when she was twenty-one and married Gil Grey, a charismatic dealer in the New York art world with a teenage daughter, Fleur, a child art prodigy. Ingrid has been missing since September 11, 2001, presumed dead in the destruction of the Twin Towers.
A literary mystery, The Legacy reshapes the plot of Henry James’ novel The Portrait of a Lady into a study of ambivalence and desire, loss and possibility.

‘This is the most satisfying novel I’ve read all year. I can’t wait to see what she does next.’ – Hannah Francis, Australian Bookseller and Publisher

The Legacy was placed on the long list for the Miles Franklin Prize.

The Legacy: Australia/New Zealand rights: Harper Collins Australia

World rights other than Australia/New Zealand rights: Simon and Schuster

US: The Legacy was published in the US under the Atria inprint in 2010

UK: Quercus published The Legacy in the UK in 2011.

Kirsten Tranter completed a PhD in English (on English Renaissance poetry) at Rutgers University and has divided her time between New York, Sydney and Berkeley for the past ten years. You can follow Kirsten’s internet diary at

John Tranter

Australian writer John Tranter, Sydney, 2009, photo by Anders Hallengren

John Tranter — Poetry, reviews

‘Tranter may now be Australia’s most important poet.’

US Publishers Weekly             

John has published more than twenty books, including the Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry (1992), co-edited with Philip Mead. He is the founding editor of the internationally popular literary quarterly Jacket, free on the Internet at

John recently edited the 2011 annual anthology of recent Australian poems for Black Inc Books. Here’s part of his introduction:

Each year (since 2003) Black Inc. has asked Australian poets to submit a selection of their work for this anthology. This year it was my turn to read through the two to three thousand poems that were sent in and choose the best

John Tranter (Ed), The Best Australian Poetry 2011, cover image

“I’m not sure that we can trust the word ‘best’ when we’re talking about poetry — there are so many different kinds of poetry, from Homer to rock and roll, and then there are millions of readers with their individual tastes and prejudices — but in any case I chose a little over a hundred of what I felt were the most vigorous, varied and interesting poems for this book.…
“…what a rich, strange and diverse lot these poems turned out to be. Look at this list below, a gathering of some of the brightest images, transformations and unbelievable events that litter this collection. I suspect that these strange and potent imaginings can only have come into existence as fragments of dreams or nightmares…:

“Bent hot-dogs talk to strangers. Still, the oak trees flower above us, a canopy of lust; an academic scholar talks about whoring his mind, a poetry editor apologises for not accepting a sentimental poem about a lost ant, a well-known fiction writer snoozes on the sofa, an empty brandy bottle in her lap, Boofhead’s Egyptian style of ambulation and a vast mural of Fred and Wilma are discussed, mothers wonder how tiger snakes got into the linen cupboards, an unknown baby skeleton, a word in Arabic that means a tree that befriends doomed travellers, the irony of green rain, the devil on holiday in Tasmania, Picasso’s one red eye, Ezra Pound’s brilliant rottenness, the Master of Stomachs, a skyscraper as a babel of crockery, dawn as the clock-face of the heavens, the feedback loop of amazing grace and dead birds, phantoms on the home stretch, a woman who’s doing the accounts with one hand and killing a snake with another while she gets an armful of wood…

“…enjoy these fragments of dream-work, as Freud called it. And when you wake up tomorrow, if you’re lucky, you’ll have some dream-work of your own to think about.

Here is a link to Black Inc’s Internet page for the book: [»»]

The Salt Companion to John Tranter, Edited by Rod Mengham, 2010

In 2010 British critic Rod Mengham compiled a collection of a dozen essays from critics in Britain, the US and Australia: The Salt Companion to John Tranter (Cambridge: Salt Publications, 2010.) The blurb says:

“The essays published here focus on key works in Tranter’s career to date, emphasising the importance of his work as editor as well as poet, both in an Australian and in an international context. They include close readings of poems that illustrate the formal range of his work, assess the reception of his books in the context of his perceived role as symbolic representative of an urban, cosmopolitan, tradition in Australian culture, and provide fresh interpretations of his relationships with English, French and American literature.”

You can read the Preface here, on John Tranter’s own internet site.

John Tranter, Urban Myths, UQP

John’s 2006 collection of poems, Urban Myths: 210 Poems: New and Selected, won:

  • the Victorian Premier’s Prize for poetry in 2006
  • the New South Wales Premier’s Prize for poetry in 2007
  • the 2008 South Australian state award for poetry
  • the 2008 South Australian Premier’s Prize for the best book in any field published in 2006-2007.

No other collection of poetry has been so widely popular with the judges of so many different awards.

Australian Writer John Tranter, Starlight, 150 poems, UQP

His (2010) book is Starlight: 150 Poems (UQP, 2010). In 2011 it was awarded the Age Book of the Year award for poetry, and the Queensland Premier’s Prize for poetry. No other Australian writer has ever won six major awards for literature in five years.

“Reading the 150 poems in this collection is to spend time in the company of a writer steeped (well-versed?) in the work of other poets, and able to assume different narrative voices at will. There are poems inspired by the French poet Baudelaire, American John Ashbery and TS Eliot. Infiltrating his work is a dry, laconic wit and a rich understanding of culture and history. In my opinion, Starlight saves the best till last. A particular pleasure was the lively sequence ‘At the Movies’, which ruminates on films of the past, and Tranter’s updated response to Baudelaire’s celebrated Les Fleurs du mal, which is every bit as wicked and visceral as the original.”
 — Andrew Wilkins, Bookseller+Publisher

The Australian Poetry Library project, which John Tranter founded in 2004, was funded with a major Linkage Grant from the Australian Research Council. Professor Elizabeth Webby and Creagh Cole, from the University of Sydney, in association with CAL (the Copyright Agency Limited), head a team of researchers building a wide-ranging library of resources on the Internet. You can check its progress here:

You can visit a homepage for John Tranter’s writing at a new, permanent address:, where you can read more than a thousand pages of poems, interviews, book reviews (including dozens of reviews of John’s various books), a biography and a bibliography, and links to dozens of other sites on the Internet that relate to his writing.

Also, his latest book, Heart Starter (Puncher and Wattman, Sydney, and Blazevox Books, Buffalo.) After the publication of Heart Starter in 2015, Tranter has decided to take a decade off from writing poetry, to concentrate on his other interests.

Australian writer John Tranter, Heart Starter, poems, 2015

And his Internet Journal at



Andrew Tink

Australia 1901-2001 — A Narrative History

Andrew Tink’s superb book tells the story of Australia in the twentieth century, from Federation to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

It was a century marked by the trauma of war and the despair of the Depression, balanced by extraordinary achievements in sport, science and the arts. And it witnessed the emergence of a mainly harmonious society, underpinned by a political system that worked most of the time.

Tink’s story is driven by people: prime ministers, soldiers, shopkeepers, singers, footballers and farmers, be they men or women, Australian-born, immigrant or Aboriginal. He brings the decades to life, writing with empathy, humour and insight to create a narrative that is as entertaining as it is illuminating.

Air Disaster Canberra: The Plane Crash that Destroyed a Government

At 11am on August 13, 1940, with Australia having been at war for almost a year, a dual-controlled Hudson bomber, the A16-97, crashed into a hillside near Canberra airport. In what is still Canberra’s worst disaster in terms of loss of life, all ten aboard died, including the chief of the general staff, Cyril Brudenell White, and three of Robert Gordon Menzies’ closest cabinet supporters: minister for the army Geoffrey Street, minister for air James Fairbairn and information minister Henry Gullett.

NewSouth, 309pp, $45 (HB)

Prior works

Lord Sydney: The Life and Times of Tommy Townshend
Just who was the man whose name is proudly borne by Australia’s oldest city, and by another city in Canada? A John Bull figure, full of bumptious ambition and self-confidence, Sydney had a remarkable political career, largely in opposition. He had sympathised with rebellious American colonists while holding true to British interests, and in 1782 he led in settling the peace between Americans and Britons. As a peer he chose the name Sydney for his barony in memory of his distant uncle Algernon Sidney, beheaded in 1683 for writing ‘the people of England… may change or take away kings’. This very fine biography is a story to savour.
Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2011

William Charles Wentworth,  Allen & Unwin in 2009.
This is the story of the man Manning Clark described as ‘Australia’s greatest native son’. Best known as one of the first Europeans to cross the Blue Mountains, Wentworth led a life full of firsts. One of the first born Australians of European parents, the first Australian author to be published and co-founder of Australia’s first independent newspaper, Wentworth gave the colonists an Australian voice. One of Australia’s first barristers who fought for trial by jury, for the first Parliament in Australia and for self-government in an Act the British called ‘a legislative declaration of independence’ Wentworth was a physical and intellectual giant. Ruthless when it suited him, he purchased the South Island of New Zealand for a pittance until a furious Governor made him give it back. With his rough charm, colonial cunning and English education, Wentworth was equally at ease addressing a rowdy meeting of ex-convicts as he was lobbying Ministers in the corridors of Whitehall.

Following eight years at the Bar, Andrew Tink spent nineteen years in the New South Wales Parliament, including eleven as a Shadow Minister and three as Shadow Leader of the House. After stepping down in 2007, Andrew became a Visiting Fellow at Macquarie University’s Law School, where he concentrates on his writing.