Literary Fiction

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Our Little Secret

by Allayne Webster
Ligature finest
genre Literary Fiction · Young Adult

Fourteen-year-old Edwina is growing up in a town where nothing ever happens—and her mother wouldn’t let her near it if it did.

Then Tom Atkinson comes along. He works with her dad, he’s older and good-looking and he notices her. But he also wants to keep their relationship a secret.

Soon there are no rules, and it feels like no one can help.

Haunting, challenging, and uncompromising, Our Little Secret remains essential reading.

‘gripping, moving, deliberately confronting, hard to put down…’

The Advertiser


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Deeper Water

by Jessie Cole
Ligature finest
genre Literary Fiction

‘The secret things I knew about my mum, and the things that everyone knew, had played in my mind for some time, since I was real little, I guess. When I was small, all around me seemed to flow, gentle and sweet like the edge of the creek. Then my brothers grew too large to be hemmed in, and Sophie met a bloke, moved out and had babies, and things became harder.

The older I got the louder those secret things inside me became, all those knowns and unknowns, until—apart from Anja—I’d rather talk to animals than people.’

Innocent and unworldly, Mema is still living at home with her mother on a remote, lush hinterland property. It is a small, confined, simple sort of life, and Mema is content with it.

One day, during a heavy downpour, Mema saves a stranger from the raging creek. She takes him into her family home, where marooned by rising floods, he has to stay until the waters recede. His sudden presence is unsettling—for Mema, her mother and her wild friend Anja—but slowly he opens the door to a world of beckoning possibilities that threaten to sweep Mema into the deep.


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Darkness on the Edge of Town

by Jessie Cole
Ligature finest
genre Literary Fiction

‘My dad, he collects broken things …
Where other people see junk he sees potential …
My dad collects broken people too.’

Vincent is nearly forty years old, with little to show for his life except his precious sixteen-year-old daughter, Gemma: sensitive, insightful and wise beyond her years.

When a stranger crashes her car outside Vincent and Gemma’s bush home, their lives take a drastic turn. In an effort to help the stranded woman, father and daughter are drawn into a world of unexpected and life-changing consequences.

Darkness on the Edge of Town is a haunting tale that beguiles the reader with its deceptively simple prose, its gripping and unrelenting tensions, and its disturbing yet tender observations.


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Rowena’s Field

by Nicholas Jose
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction

Finishing school is an intoxicating feeling; life is about to begin. Who will you be? How will you know? What will it take to find out?

It’s 1970 and Rowena Sonner is confronting these three questions. For her, the answer is to escape—first, from her upper middle class family’s expectations; then from conservative Adelaide and Australia itself—and to live. To love, lose, and learn from it all.

Rowena’s Field captures the generational, class, and cultural tensions of the seventies while exploring timeless questions about how we become ourselves.

‘Men rarely explore the domestic, rarely write the adventures of people’s lives, certainly rarely of women’s lives. For two reasons, then, this book has the fascination of the unusual, the unexpected. Does it work? Yes. Brilliantly.’ — Marion Halligan, The Canberra Times, 1984

First published in 1984, Rowena’s Field, Nicholas Jose’s debut novel, was shortlisted for The Australian/Vogel Award for an unpublished manuscript the previous year.

Nicholas Jose is an acclaimed author and Professor of English and Creative Writing at The University of Adelaide. He’s written seven novels, two collections of short stories, a memoir and was general editor of the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009). For more information visit www.nicholasjose.com.au.


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I’m not Racist, But …

by Anita Heiss
Ligature untapped
genre Essays · Literary Fiction · Poetry

An award-winning collection of poetry and prose from acclaimed Indigenous writer and advocate Anita Heiss. By turns witty, angry, eloquent, moving and insightful, I’m Not Racist But… includes Advance Australia Unfair, Pieces for Children, My 10 Point Plan for a Better Australia, Who’s Truth, I Don’t Hate You, But… , Treaty, The A-Z of First Contact, Being Aboriginal and Proud to be A Koori.

‘Anita Heiss writes from the heart … her poems are an angry and eloquent call for justice for Indigenous Australian people.’ Rosie Scott

First published in 2007, the collection won the Scanlon Prize for Poetry in the same year.

Anita Heiss, a member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales, is one of Australia’s best known Indigenous authors and advocates, and has won and been shortlisted for multiple awards. Professor of Communication at the University of Queensland, a board member of the State Library of Queensland and Lifetime Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, she’s written poetry, novels, short stories, children’s books and, in 2004, a memoir, Am I Black Enough for You? She co-edited The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature with Peter Minter. Her most recent book is the historical novel, Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (2021). Visit her website at https://www.anitaheiss.com.


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The Bluebird Cafe

by Carmel Bird
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction

In Tasmania, successful entrepreneur Nancy Best has recreated the defunct mining town of Copperfield as a glass-domed amusement park whose centrepiece is the Bluebird Cafe. The facsimile also includes a wax museum containing a statue of Lovelygod, the midget daughter born to the twins Bedrock and Carrillo Mean, who caused a sensation when she vanished without a trace 20 years before. Bedrock faithfully keeps vigil for her daughter’s return, while Carrillo roams the world in search of her. Also haunted by the mystery is expatriate author Virginia O’Day, who returns to Tasmania from America to write a play, Waiting for Lovelygod …’ Publishers Weekly US, in the publication review of the American edition. Unlike the Australian edition, it has never been out of print.

Described by Kirkus Reviews, US, as ‘a sweet-natured looking-glass version of Twin Peaks’, The Bluebird Café is award-winning author Carmel Bird’s debut novel and announced the arrival of a highly original, talented writer. First published in 1990, The Bluebird Cafe was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award the following year.

Novelist, essayist and non-fiction writer Carmel Bird was the recipient of the Patrick White Award in 2016. Her works include The Bluebird Café (1990) and the thematically-linked Mandala trilogy The White Garden (1995), Red Shoes (1998) and Cape Grimm (2004). Her most recent novel is the acclaimed Field of Poppies (2019) of which Robert Drewe wrote: ‘How to describe Field of Poppies? A lush feast of wit and wisdom? Writing so rich you simply want to devour it? A forensic examination of an Australian country town? Literary tour de force will have to do.’


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Where the Queens all Strayed

by Barbara Hanrahan
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction

It’s the beginning of the twentieth century and young Thea Hodge lives with her family in the picturesque Adelaide hills. There’s her father, who’s hiding his drinking from her mother, her mother, who’s hiding from reality, and her older sister who seems all set to get married. But when her sister strays from the path that should lead her down the aisle, Thea comes to realise that in her world, there’s a price to pay for those who don’t conform. An evocative, richly realised novel of a society on the brink of change. First published in 1978.

 

As Geoff Page wrote in The Canberra Times on its release, ‘The main concern of the novel … [is] the gap between the polite, class-conscious exterior of Edwardian life and its more seamy underside.’

 

A recent review by Melinda Rackham in The Conversation of ‘Bee-stung Lips’, a travelling exhibition of Hanrahan’s visual art, calls her ‘an Australian feminist artist you need to know’. The inclusion of Where the Queens All Strayed in the Untapped Collection will ensure that her value as a writer is also not forgotten. 

 

Barbara Hanrahan (1939–1991) was a South Australian writer and artist. Her novels include The Scent of Eucalyptus (1973), The Frangipani Gardens (1980), Kewpie Doll (1984). Her diaries, edited by Elaine Lindsay, were published posthumously in 1998.


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Working Bullocks

by Katharine Susannah Prichard
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction

Writing for British publication The Bookman in 1928, John Sleeman declared Working Bullocks to be ‘the high-water mark of Australian literary achievement in the novel so far’.

‘It’s the story of the people of the timber country in the South-West of WA and follows a young man named Red Burke who has a way with horses and bullocks but not people, as he is torn between two women and struggles to make his way in that world.’ So writes Nathan Hobby, Prichard’s biographer on his website. He goes on to lament, ‘Sadly, Working Bullocks is out of print despite being one of Katharine’s finest novels.’

First published in 1926, the Untapped edition brings this fine novel back into circulation. Hobby’s biography of Prichard, The Red Witch, will be released in May, 2022, by Melbourne University Press.

Katharine Susannah Prichard’s novels include The Pioneers (1915) which won the Hodder and Stoughton All Empire Literature Prize for Australasia, Coonardoo (1928), joint winner of The Bulletin Novel Competition, Intimate Strangers (1943) also in the Untapped Collection, and Haxby’s Circus (1930).


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What Was Left

by Eleanor Limprecht
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction

Rachel knows she’s not feeling the way she should about her new baby—the way she’d imagined she would—but no one wants to talk about it. Desperate and afraid she’ll do something terrible, she makes a radical decision: to leave the country in search of her father, who left when she was a child and from whose desertion Rachel’s never recovered. Will she find him? Will she find answers? Will answers lead her back to baby Lola and her bereft husband?

What Was Left takes us into territory that is still taboo – a mother leaving her child. This unsentimental and utterly honest account of what it is to struggle with becoming a parent is also a wonderfully absorbing read, a novel that I couldn’t wait to get back to each time I put it down.’ — Georgia Blain

‘You don’t need to have given birth to sympathise with Rachel’s predicament. Her perceived failure at being the perfect mother highlights many impossible pressures placed on women today. Rachel’s longing to escape means What was Left also succeeds as great travel fiction. Limprecht’s accomplished prose richly evokes the landscapes of India, Europe and the US, while also capturing the essence of Sydney. An exceptionally talented writer…’ — Emily Laidlaw, Books + Publishing

First published in 2013, What Was Left was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal in 2014. It went out of print with the closure of its original publisher, Sleepers Publishing.

Eleanor Limprecht is an essayist, short story writer, reviewer and novelist. She is the author of What Was Left (2013), Long Bay (2015), also in the Untapped Collection, and The Passengers (2018). Her new book, The Coast, will be published in 2022. For more information visit www.eleanorlimprecht.com.


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To the Burning City

by Alan Gould
Ligature untapped
genre Literary Fiction

The Second World War casts a heavy shadow, and for one family there seem to be only on choice: lean in or turn away. Jeb and his mother turn away: from Europe, from conflict, from husbands and brothers. His father, who was involved in the bombing of Hamburg in 1943, and Len, his half-brother have leaned in, in ways both affecting and, as Jeb discovers, shocking.

‘Underrated Alan Gould, unable to write the pretentious, politically correct, thinly textured fiction that wins publicity in Australia, has managed at least to construct a finely crafted and substantial novel, To The Burning City. When temperate retrospects become possible, this will be regarded as one of the most accomplished novels of recent years.’ — Critic Peter Pierce, The Canberra Times, at the time of the book’s original publication in 1991.

To the Burning City won the NBC Banjo Award for Fiction in 1992 and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award the same year.

Alan Gould is an acclaimed poet, essayist and novelist, and recipient of multiple literary awards. His works include Trawlermen (1975), To the Burning City (1991), The Schoonermaster’s Dance (2000 – also in the Untapped Collection, an ACT Book of the Year and Courier-Mail Book of the Year), The Past Completes Me (2005 – winner of the Grace Leven Poetry Prize), The Seaglass Spiral (2012 – winner of the Canberra Critics Circle Award), and, most recently, The Poet’s Stairwell (2015).