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Books to read in quarantine, celebrating our alumni authors


We know many of you will be spending extra time indoors over the next few months and there is nothing better than curling up on the couch with a good book.

The University of Tasmania has a history of fostering creativity, no more so than when it comes to the written word.

We are starting a list of books written by our alumni to help guide your reading and support your fellow alumni during these difficult times.

This is a ‘living list’ that will evolve overtime and we’d encourage you to contact us if you are an alumni author or have read a novel by a University of Tasmania graduate that you enjoyed.

We will do our best to update the list online over the coming months.

First Person

Richard Flanagan (BA Hons 1983, DLitt 2002)

What is the truth? In this blistering story of a ghost writer haunted by his demonic subject, the Man Booker Prize winner turns to lies, crime and literature with devastating effect.

Paris Savages

Katherine Johnson (PhD 2019)

Fraser Island, 1882. The population of the Badtjala people is in sharp decline following a run of brutal massacres. A story of love, bravery, culture, and the fight against injustice.


Danielle Wood (BA Hons 1994), written under the pen name Minnie Darke.

In this sparkling romantic comedy, a young journalist tampers with her magazine's horoscopes to win her friend's heart - and sets in motion an unpredictable and often hilarious ripple effect

Through Ice and Fire: the adventures, science and people behind Australia’s famous icebreaker Aurora Australis

Sarah Laverick (BSc Hons 2002)

This is the 30-year story of Aurora Australis and of her diverse charges - crew, technicians, scientists, explorers, writers and artists.


Robbie Arnott (BA,BBus 2012)

Two siblings traverse the southern island to try to find their way back to each other in this tale about grief and love and the bonds of family.

Bridget Crack

Rachel Leary (BSc 1998)

In this remarkable novel of convicts and bushrangers, the central character is a young woman who struggles to take control of her life, but again and again is thwarted.

The People’s Park

Stephenie Cahalan (GradDipEnvSt Hons 1997, MA 2017)

The People’s Park is a gathering of stories from the Queen’s Domain, as seen through news coverage over two centuries. These stories offer snapshots of the love for a city park, distinctive for the gentleness and proximity of its nature.

The Octopus and I

Erin Hortle (BA Hons 2014, PhD 2018)

Lucy and Jem live on the Tasman Peninsula near Eaglehawk Neck, where Lucy is recovering from major surgery. As she tries to navigate her new body through the world, she develops a deep fascination with the local octopuses.

The Beautiful Mother

Katherine Scholes (BEd 1981)

In a remote corner of Tanzania, Essie Lawrence lives with her husband in an archaeologist’s camp. One morning a chance encounter with two strangers sees her making a rash promise.

Imperial Mud, The Fight for the Fens

James Boyce (BA 1995, PhD 2007)

An innovative new take on the drainage of the Fens, framed in the language of colonialism, Imperial Mud upends the classical narrative of this being a triumph of technology over nature.

A Treacherous Country

K.M. Kruimink (BA 2013)

Drawn by the promise of his heart's desire, and compelled to distance himself from pain at home, Gabriel begins his quest into Van Diemen's Land.

Wild Island

Jennifer Livett (BA Hons 1977, PhD 1986)

This dazzling modern recreation of a nineteenth century novel ingeniously entwines Jane Eyre's iconic love story with Sir John Franklin's great tale of exploration and empire.

Jilda's Ark

Verity Croker (MArts 2013)

A young adult novel about rising sea levels, environmental refugees, and their doomed animals. A teenage girl is trapped on an over-crowded cruise ship with thousands of other passengers, heading to an unknown port.

The Secrets We Keep

Shirley Patton (BSW Hons 1991, PhD 2005, MArts 2013)

Arriving in a Western Australian mining town, a social worker uncovers a web of lies and a tie with her past, in this compelling family saga where the personal and political collide.  ‘A mother's secret, a father's betrayal, a town on the edge…’

Under the Microscope

Kim Finney (PhD 2012)

Ezzabell Chetwood the scholar, is invisible. To her society and in history she does not exist. Ignoring conventions is dangerous and following her heart has consequences.

Unrequited Love: Diary of an Accidental Activist

Dennis Altman (BA Hons 1964)

Written through the lens of recent activism and the global rise of authoritarianism, this is a story of a half century of activism, intellectualism, conflict and friendship.

Forgotten Corners: Essays in Search of an Island's Soul

Pete Hay (BA Hons 1970, PhD 1976)

Animals and ancestors, people and plants, the lost and the loved, the humus and the human, the artist and the artefact, the books and the birds, the sadness and the stillness, the past and the possible, the humour and the horror all find voice in 'Forgotten Corners'.

Connecting Profit With Purpose: How to Create a World-Changing Business

Phil Preston (BSc Hons 1989)

Social contributions by businesses are often token or ineffective, but there is a way to create immense change and grow profits at the same time.

The Independent Effect - Parliamentary contributions from the crossbenches in Australia.

Andrea Cullen (GradCertPLP 2012)

An informative book about independent politicians and why they matter in a parliamentary democracy—with an Australian focus.

The Red Rucksack

Ben West (BPharm 2000)

How a burnt-out pharmacist escaped his stagnant life to search for joy. Deeply disillusioned with life, Ben sells his share of a profitable pharmacy, puts his house on the market and casts off to find happiness.

Theodore Thomson Flynn : not just Errol's father

Tony & Vicki Harrison (BSc Hons 1962, DipEd 1965, GradDipSocSc 1991)

Born in country NSW as a second generation Australian, the first of his family to attend university, Theo Flynn became a professor at the University of Tasmania at the age of 28.

History of the Iron Pot: Derwent Light

Suzanne Smythe (BA 1976, DipEd 1977)

This comprehensive history of the Iron Pot is also a fascinating study of life in the colony and of its transition to the modern state of Tasmania.

Progressive New World: How Settler Colonialism and TransPacific Exchange Shaped American Reform

Marilyn Lake DLitt, AO (MA 1973)

The paradox of progressivism continues to fascinate more than one hundred years on. Democratic but elitist, emancipatory but coercive, advanced and assimilationist, Progressivism was defined by its contradictions.

State of the Heart

Carol Patterson (GradDipSocSc 1990, PhD 2009)

A collection of short stories exploring the crucial points in people’s lives when change takes place.

The Sisters’ Song

Louise Allen (MBBS 1994)

Set in rural Tasmania from the 1920s to the 1990s, The Sisters’ Song traces the lives of two very different sisters. One for whom giving and loving are her most natural qualities and the other who cannot forgive and forget.

Mermaid Spell

Ellie A. Goss (DipIntSt 2017)

Just how will the day unfold, with a spell in hand, will one little girl's wish to become a mermaid really happen? Find out in, Mermaid Spell, a storybook for under 7s.

Floundering: Stories from Cradle Mountain

Jillian Brady (GradDipLib Hons 1993)

A collection of six short stories and one non-fiction piece, all inspired by Cradle Mountain. All of the stories are in some way about people floundering through life.

New Mountain, New River, New Home?

Margaret Eldridge (BA 1980, GradDipEdStud 1990, MA 2008)

The book describes, largely in their own words, the exodus of Hmong refugees from their hill-tribe homes as a result of the Secret War, and the conflict in Vietnam, to Australia where they build a new life.

Imitations of Evil (Book 1: Warriors of Vhast series)

Cary J. Lenehan (BA Hons 1995)

From every direction nine individuals of varied races and walks of life are drawn to the village of Evilhalt on the shores of Lake Erave.  They uncover deep, dark mysteries which hint of greater evil. Together, and for a mix of reasons, they set off to face their destiny.

Not Enough Stars in your Banner and other Poems

Tega Obebeduo (MIB 2019)

Not Enough Stars in Your Banner and other Poems invites you on a journey with the poet. From the idealistic optimism of his teenage years, to the reality check of life experience. He navigates love, heartbreak, grief, faith, even politics.

Bound by Every Tie of Duty: John Lewes Pedder, Chief Justice of Van Diemen's Land

Jacqueline Fox (BA Hons 2000, PhD 2012)

John Lewes Pedder's long career provides a unique window into the colonial world – through crime, politics, and frontier collision with the island’s Aboriginal people. This new biography offers a sensitive account of a complex and surprisingly sympathetic man, who played a significant role in Tasmanian history.

The Chronicle of a Young Lawyer: A legal journey in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea

Kerry Dillon (LLB 1968)

This unique book tells the story of the day-to-day life of a young criminal circuit lawyer from Tasmania, Kerry Dillon, some 50 years ago in a country where many people lived as generations before had lived, back into the mists of time.

The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn

Kate Gordon (BPA 2002, GradDipInfoMgt 2004)

A lonely orphan called Wonder Quinn yearns for a friend in this enchanting fairytale celebrating friendship, bravery and the importance of staying true to yourself.

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Published on: 08 Sep 2020 3:50pm