This beautifully written debut novel from writer/journalist David Allan-Petale is set in a fictional town in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt. Although strongly evocative of rural life and the relentless work involved in farming the land, the novel’s strength, for me, lies in the delicacy of its handling of family relationships and the way those bonds are tested by internal and external pressures. Locust Summer was shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel Literary Award.
On the cusp of summer, 1986, Rowan Brockman’s mother asks if he can come home to Septimus in the Western Australian Wheatbelt to help with the harvest. Rowan’s brother Albert, the natural heir to the farm, has died, and Rowan’s dad’s health is failing. Although he longs to, there is no way that Rowan can refuse his mother’s request as she prepares the farm for sale.
This is the story of the final harvest—the story of a young man in a place he doesn’t want to be, being given one last chance to make peace before the past, and those he has loved, disappear.
Read reviews by Lisa Hill at ANZ LitLovers and Gemma Nisbet in the West Australian.
Bella and the Voyaging House
Perth writer Meg McKinlay has produced some of my favourite children’s picture books and fiction for young people—A Single Stone (Prime Minister’s Literary Award, Queensland Literary Award), Catch a Falling Star (SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, WA Premier’s Book Award), Ten Tiny Things, Once Upon a Small Rhinoceros and many others. And I’ve lost count of how many copies of The Truth about Penguins I’ve bought! This is her latest, a chapter book for young readers.
Bella’s house likes to travel, setting sail across the ocean while everyone sleeps. Bella’s parents don’t mind as long as the house is home by daylight. One night, Bella has a wonderful idea for her grandfather’s birthday. She wants to find a figurine he made of her grandmother, which was lost overboard in an accident. Bella and the house go in search of it, but things don’t quite go according to plan…
Read a review by Writing WA