Gillian Mears grew up in the northern New South Wales town of Grafton. Acclaim came early, with her short-story collections and novels winning major prizes. Her books include Ride a Cock Horse (1988), Fineflour (1990), winner of a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, The Mint Lawn (1991) winner of the Australian/Vogel Literary Award, and The Grass Sister (1995), winner of the regional Commonwealth Prize for Best Book. A Map of the Gardens (2002) won the 2003 Steele Rudd Australian Short Story Award. Foal’s Bread (2011) was awarded the 2012 Australian Literary Society (ASL) Gold Medal. The ALS Gold Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding literary work and has been in existence since 1928.