2018 ALM brochure for 2018 Sydney Writers Festival

  Australian Literary Management

  2018 Sydney Writers Festival Brochure
 

 
 

Sydney Opera House: Steps. Photo by John Tranter.
2018 Sydney Writers Festival Brochure
Australian Literary Management
2-A Booth Street, Balmain New South Wales 2041, Australia
Proprietor: Mrs Lyn Tranter       [lynalm8@gmail.com]

 

Jennifer Spence: The Lost Girls

Having previously written young adult books and a crime novel, Jenny has now completed a truly high concept commercial women’s fiction novel.
        The core of this work is the question she poses on how can we change events if we travel back in time. Can we change outcomes? Can we prevent tragedies from occurring? At what length will anyone go to ensure that something so dramatic as the death of a child can be stopped?
        The main character, Stella, journeys twenty years back in time. She moves into her house under the guise of a close relative who went missing when she was a teenager and has now turned up as an adult. Her mission is to try and change events that she knows will occur in the future.
        This is a carefully structured novel, full of suspense and twists. The voice is consistent and convincing and the writing is understated and elegant. It is a novel that would sit beside The Woman in the Window, Girl on a Train and more closely with the crime / time travel novel The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.
        Rights have been sold to Fiona Henderson at Simon & Schuster. However any expression of interest can be forwarded to me, Lyn Tranter, at ALM. [lynalm8@gmail.com]

Author Jenny Spence.

Eileen Ormsby: The Darkest Web

The author Eileen Ormsby has spent the past five years exploring every corner of the dark web. This book will take you into the murkiest depths of the web’s dark underbelly: a place of hitmen for hire, red rooms, hurtcore sites and markets that will sell anything a person is willing to pay for — including another person.
        Not for the faint-hearted, this work explores the stories of a kingpin willing to murder to protect his dark web drug empire; a corrupt government official determined to avoid exposure; the death of a dark web drugs czar who dies in mysterious circumstances in a Bangkok jail. It explores who is willing to sell poisons and weapons, identities and bank accounts to anyone with a wallet full of Bitcoin.
        Allen & Unwin have recently published this provocative truecrime work and enquires can be made to Maggie Thompson at [maggiet@allenandunwin.com]

Eileen Ormsby, The Darkest Web, cover image.

Jonathon Shannon: The First Snow

This debut novel is from a copywriter who works in advertising. I always believe if you have to know how to sell toothpaste then you know the value of words. Such is the case with this young author.
        The story is set in two countries — Iceland and Japan. It follows the lives of brother and sister Svana and Brynleifur. They were separated as young children when their parents divorced, and although siblings, they hardly know each other. Now in their early twenties they decide to embark on an adventure and spend a month travelling in Japan.
        On their arrival in Okinawa they meet Tristan, a young Australian man who is travelling in Japan, to further his studies in Japanese, before he begins university. He speaks the language and Svan and Bryn warm to him and realise what a great travel guide he would make. Tristan in turn is fascinated by the beautiful Svana. They fall in love.
        The work takes them on their month-long journey through Japan and its major cities culminating in Svana and Tristan climbing Mount Fuji. However Svana knows that she must return to Reykjavik, and Tristan, who is still recovering from a relationship breakup in Australia, decides that they must go their separate ways, but will write to each other.
        Arriving back in Iceland, Bryn discovers through seeing her passport that Svana has chosen to not take on the family name, but instead the surname of her mother. One interesting factor in Icelandic culture is the widespread use of the patronymic surname, that is, the tradition of children always taking on the “family” name, the name of the father. Svana and Bryn have an enormous row and separate.
        Unknown to Svana her brother is dying and when his will is read, he asks that she return to Mount Fuji and scatter his ashes there. She does so, and Tristan comes with her. We are left knowing that their relationship will flourish.
        The manuscript is still in draft form but will be submitted to publishers by July 2018. All enquiries to Lyn Tranter at ALM: [lynalm8@gmail.com]

Geisha2

Sarah Hopkins: Beta Boy

When a new computer game or app comes out, people queue to be considered as “beta testers”. This mean that they get to use the game or app for free — before it goes public. They have to note bugs or glitches in the product and make the developers aware of these.
        Beta testing comes after Alpha testing. Alpha testing is done internally by the engineers, and Beta is done by a select group of members of the public. The reason for this is that the developers want to wait for the product to be tested on real people.
        This is Sarah Hopkins’ third book, and is a haunting work that blends speculative fiction and science fiction, and looks at incarceration, social engineering and the crimes adults can commit against children.
        The premise of the book is that a group of children who have had troubled lives are “rescued” from the legal system for crimes they have committed and placed in a school to deal with their specific needs. Daniel, the main character, has been dealing drugs and when he is due for sentencing, the likely jail term is dismissed on the provision that he attends this new school. When he arrives he is faced with a number of other children, mainly teenagers who have committed various crimes or come from disturbed homes. It is not an ordinary school, and lessons are conducted in an unconventional manner; and although Daniel believes he can leave at any time, the place is very isolated.
        The insight into why this school is here, and what it is for, is slowly revealed. In many ways it reminded me of Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. In that novel we gradually find out that the school is designed to breed children for body parts, in Beta Boy we learn that Big Pharma are not bothering to test new drugs or medicines on animals (it is far too slow a process) but on children, and these schools are scattered around the globe.
        A fascinating and disturbing hypothesis written by a natural storyteller. All enquires to Lyn Tranter at ALM. [lynalm8@gmail.com]

Human Brain

Barry Maitland: The Promised Land

There have been twelve Brock and Kolla novels published so far in Australia, the USA, the UK and in translation. They feature two central characters, DCI David Brock and DI Kathy Kolla, homicide detectives in London’s Metropolitan Police.
        Now Barry has written his thirteenth novel in this series titled The Promised Land. Central to the plot of this brilliant crime novel is the discovery of a lost manuscript by the British writer George Orwell. Extensive tests are done and it becomes clear that this is in fact a work by Orwell.
        The manuscript is delivered to Charles Pettigew, the owner of a floundering publishing house that he inherited from his father. He knows that if this is in fact a genuine Orwell novel, his business will be saved.
        Australian and New Zealand rights have been sold to Allen & Unwin who have previously published all Barry’s Brock & Kolla books. The editor there, Ali Lavau, in her closing remarks on this work said:

It’s been an absolute pleasure to engage with your work again. It’s the promise of intricate plotting, ingenious twists, a strong sense of place and natural, fluent prose. And, oh boy does The Promised Land deliver. There are the murders in Hampstead, framed judges, psychopaths and most startling of all, Brock in prison. I am absolutely hooked.

Allen & Unwin—Aust and NZ rights. All other enquiries to Lyn Tranter at ALM, [lynalm8@gmail.com]

British Author George Orwell (Eric Blair)

 

Eileen Ormsby: Silk Road / and / The Darkest Web

Eileen Ormsby: Silk Road

silk-road-cvr-ormsby It was the ‘eBay of drugs’.
A BILLION DOLLAR EMPIRE.
Behind it, an FBI Most Wanted Man, the enigmatic crime czar DREAD PIRATE ROBERTS.

SILK ROAD lay at the heart of the ‘Dark Web’ — a parallel internet of porn, guns, assassins and drugs. Lots of drugs. With the click of a button LSD, heroin, meth, coke, any illegal drug imaginable, would wing its way by regular post from any dealer to any user in the world. How was this online drug cartel even possible? And who was the charismatic mastermind all its low roads led to?

The incredible true story!

Silk Road’s riseand fall, told with unparalleled insight into the main players — including alleged founder and kingpin Dread Pirate Roberts himself — by lawyer and investigative journalist Eileen Ormsby. A stunning crime story with a truth that explodes off the page.


Eileen Ormsby: The Darkest Web
Eileen Ormsby: The Darkest Web (cover image)

DARK: A kingpin willing to murder to protect his dark web drug empire. A corrupt government official determined to avoid exposure. The death of a dark web drugs czar in mysterious circumstances in a Bangkok jail cell, just as the author arrives there. Who’s behind the online markets that came after Silk Road, willing to sell poisons and weapons, identities and bank accounts, malware and life-ruining services online to anyone with a wallet full of Bitcoin?

DARKER: A death in Minnesota leads detectives into the world of dark web murder-for-hire where hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin is paid to arrange killings, beatings and rapes. Meanwhile, the owner of the most successful hitman website in history is threatening the journalists who investigate his business with a visit from his operatives — and the author is at the top of his list.

DARKEST… People with the most depraved perversions gather to share their obscene materials in an almost inaccessible corner of the dark web. A video circulates, and the pursuit of the monsters responsible for ‘Daisy’s Destruction’ leads detectives into the unimaginable horror of the world of hurtcore.

Eileen Ormsby has spent the past five years exploring every corner of the dark web. This book will take you into the murkiest depths of the web’s dark underbelly: a place of hitmen for hire, red rooms, hurtcore sites and markets that will sell anything a person is willing to pay for — including another person. Enter the darkest web…

Glenda Guest: A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline

Glenda Guest: A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline
Life of Casandra Aberline, cover image
The train races along its rails,
a silver and blue streak
trying to make up time
spent dallying in the dust…

After forty-five years in Sydney, Cassandra Aberline returns home to Western Australia in the same way she left: on the Indian Pacific. As they cross the emptiness of the vast Australian inland, Cassie travels back through her memories, too, frightened that she’s about to lose them forever — and with them, her last chance to answer the question that has held her to ransom almost all her life.

By the author of Siddon Rock, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book.

This story is about the complexities of memory, and the loss of memory. It is also about guilt, trust, and the breaking of trust. Primarily, it is about identity and how that changes in various circumstances.

Cassandra Aberline left her home in the wheatlands of Western Australia for Sydney in 1970. She is now sixty-four, lives in Surrey Hills, Sydney, and is teaching theatre skills after a long and distinguished career as an actor in Shakespearean and classical works.

Cassie has been given a diagnosis of early onset Altzheimers disease, and she is now returning to the west the same way as she left: by train on the Indian-Pacific. On this return journey she expects to work out what in her early life led to the specific event that made her leave. She cannot remember the specifics of that moment, if she pushed, or she left by choice.

“In the literary world there is a propensity for prize-winning authors to be elevated – or to elevate themselves – onto a special pedestal, complete with pretentious black-and-white profile photographs designed to make the subject appear as erudite and aloof as possible. Glenda Guest is not one such writer. She is approachable and refreshingly frank…” You may read more of this fascinating interview in the pages of Verity La.

Louise Allan: Sisters’ Song

Louise Allan: Sisters’ Song, cover image
Louise Allan: Sisters’ Song: As children, Ida loves looking after her younger sister, Nora, but when their beloved father dies in 1926, everything changes. The two young girls move in with their grandmother, who is particularly encouraging of Nora’s musical talent. Nora eventually follows her dream of a brilliant musical career, while Ida takes a job as a nanny and their lives become quite separate.

The two sisters are reunited when Nora’s life takes an unwelcome direction and she finds herself, embittered and resentful, isolated in the Tasmanian bush with a husband and children.

Ida longs passionately for a family and when she marries Len, a reliable and good man, she hopes to soon become a mother. Over time, it becomes clear that this is never likely to happen.

In Ida’s eyes, it seems that Nora possesses everything in life that could possibly matter, yet she values none of it.

Set in rural Tasmania over a span of seventy years, the strengths and flaws of motherhood are revealed through the mercurial relationship of these two very different sisters.

Louise Allan’s The Sisters’ Song speaks of dreams, children and family, all entwined with a musical thread that binds them together.

Sarah Bailey

Dark Lake cover image

‘There had been a few minutes when I was alone with her in the autopsy room. I ’d felt wild. Absent. Before I could stop myself I was leaning close to her, telling her everything. The words draining out of me as she lay there. Her long damp hair hanging off the back of the steel table. Glassy eyes fixed blindly on the ceiling. She was still so beautiful, even in death.

‘Our secrets circled madly around the bright white room that morning. Rocking back and forth on my heels as I stood there next to her, I knew how far in I was again, how comprehensively her death could undo me. I looked at Rosalind Ryan properly for the last time before breathing deeply, readying myself, letting her pull me back into her world, and I sank down, further and further until I was completely, utterly under.’

A beautiful young teacher has been murdered, her body found in the lake, strewn with red roses. Local policewoman Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock pushes to be assigned to the case, concealing the fact that she knew the murdered woman in high school years before.

But that ’s not all Gemma ’s trying to hide. As the investigation digs deeper into the victim ’s past, other secrets threaten to come to light, secrets that were supposed to remain buried. The lake holds the key to solving the murder, but it also has the power to drag Gemma down into its dark depths…

Tamora Pierce

Pierce at the Boskone science fiction convention in Boston, February 2008
Pierce at the Boskone science fiction convention in Boston, February 2008

 
Tamora Pierce is an American writer of fantasy fiction for teenagers, known best for stories featuring young heroines. She made a name for herself with her first book series, The Song of the Lioness (1983–1988), which followed the main character Alanna through the trials and triumphs of training as a knight. Many of her books have feminist themes.


Alanna, cover image
Alanna, cover image
Lioness Rampant, cover image
Lioness Rampant, cover image


Pierce won the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 2013, citing her two quartets Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small (1999–2002). The annual award recognizes one writer and a particular body of work for “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature”. (Wikipedia)
Secret of the Chevalier
Secret of the Chevalier

THREE STUDENT MAGES, BOUND BY FATE… FATED FOR DANGER

Tamora Pierce, cover image for Tempests and Slaughter
Arram Draper is on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness — and for attracting trouble. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the leftover prince, with secret ambitions.

Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. But as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram realizes that soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

BOOK ONE Of THE NUMAIR CHRONICLES

‘Tamora Pierce’s writing is like water from the swiftest, most refreshingly clear, invigorating, and revitalizing river. I return to her books time and time again.’ — GARTH NIX, New York Times bestselling author.

Valerie Lawson: Mary Poppins, She Wrote

Valerie Lawson: Mary Poppins, She Wrote

Mary Poppins She Wrote cover image
Mary Poppins She Wrote cover image
The story of Mary Poppins, the quintessentially English and utterly magical children’s nanny, is remarkable enough. She flew into the lives of the Banks family in a children’s book that is now hailed as a classic, then became a household name when Julie Andrews stepped into the starring role in Disney’s hugely successful film. Now she is a musical sensation all over again in ‘Mary Poppins’, the musical. But the story of Mary Poppins’s creator is just as unexpected and outstanding.

The fabulous nanny was conceived by an Australian, Pamela Lyndon Travers, who in 1924 left Sydney for London, where her career as a writer blossomed.

She travelled in the elite literary circles of the time and, most famously, clashed with Walt Disney over the adaptation of her books into film. Disney accused her of vanity for ‘thinking you know more about Mary Poppins than I do’. This struggle formed the center of the recent movie “Saving Mister Banks”, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.

Like her mysterious character, Travers remained inscrutable and enigmatic to the end of her ninety-six remarkable years. Valerie Lawson’s illuminating biography provides the only glimpse into the mind of a writer who fervently believed that ‘Everyday life is the miracle’.

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.

twohig-cart-cvr

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

tranter-k-hold-cvr
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

kirsten-common-new


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 www.kirstentranter.com