Winner of the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize
In 1806 William Thornhill, a man of quick temper and deep feelings, is transported from the slums of London to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife Sal and their children he arrives in a harsh land he cannot understand.But the colony can turn a convict into a free man.
Eight years later Thornhill sails up the Hawkesbury to claim a hundred acres for himself.Aboriginal people already live on that river. And other recent arrivals—Thomas Blackwood, Smasher Sullivan and Mrs Herring—are finding their own ways to respond to them.
Thornhill, a man neither better nor worse than most, soon has to make the most difficult choice of his life.
‘Fabulous historical fiction.’ The Australian
Winner, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, 2006
Winner, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, Christina Stead Prize and Community Relations Award, 2006
Winner, Fellowship of Australian Writers’ Christina Stead Award, 2006
Winner, Literary Fiction Book of the Year and Book of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards, 2006
#69 Australia’s Top 100 2016
Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s finest writers. Her bestselling novel The Secret River has been published in more than twenty countries. It has received numerous awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The companion memoir, Searching for the Secret River, was released in 2006.
The Idea of Perfection won Britain’s prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction, and her other novels include Sarah Thornhill, The Lieutenant, Lilian’s Story, Dark Places and Joan Makes History.
As well as her novels and a collection of short stories, Grenville has published three books about the writing process, one co-written with novelist Sue Woolfe. The Writing Book, Writing From Start to Finish and Making Stories have become classics both for writing classes and individuals. Grenville has also written a memoir, Searching for The Secret River, an account of the research and writing of the novel for which she’s best-known.
The Lieutenant, The Secret River, and her most recent novel, Sarah Thornhill together make up The Colonial Trilogy, novels which explore Australia’s often troubled past.
Grenville was born in Sydney and has lived in the UK, France and the USA. She has been awarded many honours, including an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of NSW. For many years she taught Creative Writing in universities, but she now writes full-time. In her leisure hours she enjoys attempting to play the cello in an amateur orchestra and a string quartet. She lives in Sydney with her family.