Two of ARCH’s prolific creative writers, have recently released new books. Professor Gary Crew has published The Story of Eva Carmichael: The Wreck of the Loch Ard (illustrated by Paul O’Sullivan) and an illustrated novel Leaving the Lyrebird Forest (with original woodcuts by Julian Laffan). Dr Ross Watkins has released his debut novel, The Apology.
The Story of Eva Carmichael
The Story of Eva Carmichael (Harbour Publishing House, June, 2018) is a historical illustrated book based on the experiences of the sole female survivor of the ship the Loch Ard which was wrecked off the coast of Victoria in 1878. Eva narrates the story of her journey from Gravesend to Australia. The book is another collaboration of award winning author Gary Crew and illustrator Paul O’Sullivan, whose previous collaborative effort The Visions of Ichabod X (Harbour Publishing House) was short listed for the 2016 Australian Book Designers Association award.
Gary says, ‘I have been researching accounts of Australian Colonial Castaways for some time and found the story of Eva Carmichael fascinating but rarely told and at risk of slipping into historical obscurity. This gave me the impetus to recreate her story for modern readers.’
Leaving the Lyrebird Forest
Leaving the Lyrebird Forest (Hachette, September, 2018) is an illustrated Young Adult novel tracing the rite of passage from adolescence to maturity of a girl living in a Victorian forest inhabited by endangered lyrebirds. Gary’s research into lyrebirds and their habit is based on two iconic publications, Pratt, A 1933, The Lore of the Lyrebird and Chisholm, A 1960, The Romance of the Lyrebird. Gary says, ‘Although it is not generally known, lyrebirds inhabited the subtropical forests of Maleny and Montville until the 1940-50’s. I wrote the book as an appeal for their preservation.’
Ross Watkins’ The Apology (University of Queensland Press, July, 2018) is a gripping psychological drama about family, betrayal and the limits of forgiveness. The story follows the plight of English teacher Adrian Pomeroy, whose life starts to unravel in spectacular fashion when he finds himself at the centre of an allegation that might end his career.
‘My central focus in writing this novel was to portray the veneer, dysfunction and resilience of contemporary Australian family life, especially when it comes to the abuse of male authority and assumptions of control,’ says Watkins. ‘We live in a complex world where things are rarely clear-cut and in The Apology I wanted to explore the in-between, the shades of grey and to turn assumptions upside down.’
Ross Watkins’s picture book One Photo (illustrated by Liz Anelli) explores the impact that early onset Alzheimer's can have on family. The book has been translated into Chinese, published in America and Canada, and was shortlisted for the Children's Book Council of Australia 2017 Picture Book of the Year. The Apology is Ross’ first published novel.
“Watkins’s dissection of dark family dynamics is remorseless as it ratchets up the tension. It’s an impressive first novel…” QI Magazine
“Set in Western Sydney, The Apology by Ross Watkins is unsettling, unexpected and a rare mix of intricately crafted prose and clever plotting, with a prologue that begs you to keep reading.” Books+Publishing
“This is a brave and intriguing novel.” Weekend Australian