Dazzling: Judy Nunn’s latest novel Sanctuary

Dazzling: Judy Nunn’s latest novel Sanctuary

Why we love it: Sanctuary is a book about the human spirit. Like all Judy Nunn’s books it dazzles, painting a world that is simultaneously mystical and familiar. It describes the experiences of those able to survive the most horrendous circumstances, and the spirit of those who put themselves on the line to help them.

It’s a story of human extremity: we see the best and worse of people – their compassion, intolerance, and ultimately hope.

The story opens with a flimsy wooden dinghy running aground on a barren island off the Western Australia coast. The inhabitants are barely alive, with no idea where they are, thrown together in their will to survive. We meet Rassen the doctor, and his wife Hala the nurse. Massoud, a student. Karim and Azra, and their child Kamid, clinging to life. Hany and Sanaa, a couple who only have each Sanctuary-Judy-Nunnother. And Jalila, the beautiful, young, and mysterious Yazidi woman.

Nine people, from different countries, cultures, religions and languages, but all with a dream of a new life.

Two worlds collide when the dinghy is noticed by Lou, a retired fisherman and resident of Shoalhaven, a tiny fishing port. There aren’t many surprises in this small town, and nothing can prepare them for the winds of change that come sweeping through.

judynunnThe story of how this book came out is an interesting one. A group of authors was invited to spend the night out on the Abrolhos islands off the coast of WA, as part Big Sky Writer’s Festival (that also appears as an event in the book). Judy Nunn was one of those invited authors.

She describes the islands as bleak, barren, and desolate. The night she spent there was eerie. Afterwards, her husband came up with the idea of a boatload of refugees happening upon it; deserted, but with everything they need to sustain life – and thus the idea for Sanctuary was born.

Judy Nunn has written about immigrants in her previous books, mostly from European countries following World War II. This time she is writing about those who seek refuge from the horrors of war, but these people are very much in today’s world. They are a new generation: different people from different places with different backgrounds.

At its core, this is a book about stories. Some heartbreaking, some almost beyond our comprehension and some perhaps quite familiar to us. Stories that show how each of the characters came to be, and what they’ve gone through to get there. The book is at times hard-hitting and heartbreaking, at times funny and life affirming, and one that will make you think about other people’s stories.

As Judy says, if this book is to be summed up in one word? It’s about humanity.

About the author 

Judy Nunn’s career has been long, illustrious and multi-faceted. After combining her internationally successful acting career with scriptwriting for television and radio, Judy decided in the ’90s to turn her hand to prose. Her first three novels, The Glitter GameCentre Stage, and Araluen, set respectively in the worlds of television, theatre, and film, became instant bestsellers, and the rest is history, quite literally in fact. She has since developed a love of writing Australian historically based fiction and her fame as a novelist has spread rapidly throughout Europe, where she is published in English, German, French, Dutch, Czech and Spanish.

Her subsequent bestsellers, Kal, Beneath the Southern Cross, Territory, Pacific, Heritage, Floodtide, Maralinga, Tiger Men, Elianne and Spirits of the Ghan confirmed Judy’s position as one of Australia’s leading fiction writers. In 2015 Judy was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her ‘significant service to the performing arts as a scriptwriter and actor of stage and screen, and to literature as an author.’

Grab a copy || Start reading here || Watch our FB Live interview with Judy Nunn

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                Publisher details

                Sanctuary
                Author
                Judy Nunn
                Publisher
                Random House
                Genre
                Australian Fiction
                Released
                16 October, 2017

                Synopsis

                In Judy Nunn's latest compelling novel, compassion meets bigotry, hatred meets love, and ultimately despair meets hope on the windswept shores of Australia.On a barren island off the coast of Western Australia, a rickety wooden dinghy runs aground. Aboard are nine people who have no idea where they are. Strangers before the violent storm that tore their vessel apart, the instinct to survive has seen them bond during their days adrift on a vast and merciless ocean. Refugees from wartorn lands, fate has cast them ashore with only one thing in common ...fear. Rassen the doctor, Massoud the student, the child Hamid and the others all fear for their lives. But in their midst is Jalila who appears to fear nothing. The beautiful young Yazidi woman is a mystery to them all. While they remain undiscovered on the deserted island, they dare to dream of a new life. But good things aren't meant to last ...Forty kilometres away on the mainland lies the tiny fishing port of Shoalhaven. The people who dwell there have opinions. Many and varied opinions. The refugees are about to become the centre of attention - and Shoalhaven a microcosm of Australia at large ...About the authorJudy Nunn's career has been long, illustrious and multifaceted. After combining her internationally successful acting career with scriptwriting for television and radio, Judy decided in the 90s to turn her hand to prose.Her first three novels, The Glitter Game, Centre Stage and Araluen, set respectively in the worlds of television, theatre and film, became instant bestsellers, and the rest is history, quite literally in fact. She has since developed a love of writing Australian historically-based fiction and her fame as a novelist has spread rapidly throughout Europe where she is published in English, German, French, Dutch, Czech and Spanish.Her subsequent bestsellers, Kal, Beneath The Southern Cross, Territory, Pacific, Heritage, Floodtide, Maralinga and Tiger Menconfirm Judy's position as one of Australia's leading fiction writers.
                Judy Nunn
                About the author

                Judy Nunn

                Judy Nunn’s career has been long, illustrious and multifaceted. After combining her internationally successful acting career with scriptwriting for television and radio, Judy decided in the 90s to turn her hand to prose.Her first three novels, The Glitter Game, Centre Stage and Araluen, set respectively in the worlds of television, theatre and film, became instant bestsellers, and the rest is history, quite literally in fact. She has since developed a love of writing Australian historically-based fiction and her fame as a novelist has spread rapidly throughout Europe where she is published in English, German, French, Dutch, Czech and Spanish.Her subsequent bestsellers, Kal, Beneath the Southern Cross, Territory, Pacific, Heritage, Floodtide, Maralinga, Tiger Men, Elianne, Spirits of the Ghan, Sanctuary and Khaki Townconfirmed Judy’s position as one of Australia’s leading fiction writers.In 2015 Judy was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her "significant service to the performing arts as a scriptwriter and actor of stage and screen, and to literature as an author".

                Books by Judy Nunn

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                1. Gillian Coates says:

                  Will there be a sequel to sanctuary? I did so enjoy the book but would really love to know how it panned out for everyone , I think it very important to know, we don’t always hear what happens and your take on it would be so enlightening thankyou. Gillian Coates