Authors Of The Southern Highlands
Authors of the Southern Highlands
It’s not difficult to understand why the Southern Highlands is home to a large and diverse, artistic community. Our close proximity to the city; the clean, country air; a plethora of inspirational scenery; and the opportunity to disconnect from the rat-race within the comfort of one of our many idyllic villages, are all conducive to a creative frame of mind.
Our tradition of housing artistic, specifically literary talent, dates back to the mid 19th century when Sutton Forest resident, Louisa Atkinson, penned ‘Gertrude the Emigrant’ and became the first published, Australian-born, female author in history. Louisa is also credited with being both a female pioneer in the field of journalism as well a renowned botanical artist. Not a bad resume for a woman of any era, let alone 1860’s Australia! Interestingly, Louisa’s mother, Charlotte Barton originally of the United Kingdom, was the author of Australia's first children's book, ‘A Mother's Offering to her Children’.
Authors of the Southern Highlands cover a broad range of genre and areas of interest. From cookbooks to crime, debutants to seasoned professionals, here are just some of the Southern Highland’s own writing elite.
Children’s, Young Adult and Fiction Writers
Lee Richie – Novelist, Young Adult Literature.
‘Alexander Bottom & The Dreamweaver’s Daughter’ is the debut novel of Southern Highlands author, Lee Richie, an emerging talent in the world of Young Adult fantasy-fiction. The multi-dimensional, Alexander Bottom Series, promises fantastical adventures filled with twist and turns for readers of all ages but particularly those with a penchant for sci-fi and young adult, literary-fiction. Think teen-sensations, ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent’ series’.
‘Alexander Bottom and the Dreamweaver’s Daughter’ is available to purchase on Amazon Australia.
R. A. Spratt – Children’s Novelist and Television Writer
Bowral author, R.A. Spratt is the creator of best-selling children’s series’ ‘Friday Barnes’ and ‘Nanny Piggins’. In ‘Friday Barnes - Girl Detective’ and subsequent books, 11-year-old Friday delights young readers with her quick thinking, street smarts and top-notch detective skills. ‘The Adventures of Nanny Piggins ’ (Book 1), is the delightfully silly tale of a nanny with a tail. Not your ordinary pig, Nanny Piggins is a giggle-fest for readers of all ages. All of R.A. Spratts’ books are available at The Bookshop Bowral.
Michelle Morgan – Author, Young Adult Fiction and Playwright
Michelle Morgan’s two books, ‘Flying Thorough Clouds’ and ‘Racing the Moon’ are both coming-of-age stories set in 1930’s Sydney, suited to children 12+. ‘Flying Through Clouds’ was Michelle’s first self-published work. In addition, four of Michelle Morgan’s plays have been performed at festivals in Sydney, Newcastle and Armidale. Ms Morgan lives in the Southern Highlands with her family.
David Foster – Novelist and Non-Fiction writer
Bundanoon resident (and one-time Bundy postman), David Foster is a multi-award-winning novelist, poet and non-fiction writer. Foster’s many works include the ‘Dog Rock’ series, a comical telling of life in a small rural town (Bundanoon) through the lens of postman D'Arcy D'Oliveres. David Foster’s (arguably) best-known work, Miles Franklin award-winning, ‘The Glade Within the Grove’ also features D’Oliveres as a retired postman and centres around the establishment of a hippie commune circa 1968/69. David Foster is the father of Zoë Foster Blake, novelist, columnist and children’s book author. Zoë Foster Blake was born in Bowral, raised in Bundanoon, and currently resides in Melbourne.
Lifestyle and Non-Fiction
Lucy Palmer – Author
Lucy Palmer’s memoir, ‘A Bird On My Shoulder’ is the story of a family devastated by the loss of a husband and father. ‘A Bird On My Shoulder’ conveys the toll of grief and the journey of mourning a loved one – including the unexpected gifts and moments of joy such a tragedy can inspire. An award-winning journalist, documentary maker, author and editor, Lucy Palmer resides in the Southern Highlands.
Desmond Freeman – Artist, Author
‘Paris – Impressions In Ink’ is a stunning collection of Paris inspired artworks, bound beautifully in hardcover. Desmond Freeman is a leading visual artist. ‘Paris – Impressions In Ink’ is Freeman’s second book, the first being a collection of images inspired by Venice.
Louise Keats – Food and Nutrition Writer
‘Sweet Nourish’ is the fifth cookbook by Kangaloon resident and Food and Nutrition guru, Louise Keats. Other cookbooks by Ms Keats are primarily baby and toddler focused. Louise Keats has also published two books in collaboration with her much-loved grandmother, cooking sensation and pioneer ‘food-journalist’, Margaret Fulton OAM.
Janet Epps & Dr. Gabriella Lang – Co-Authors
‘The Forgotten Tutor' – John Epps and the Romanovs’ is the captivating true story of John Epps whom, from 1905-1914, was an English tutor to the children of the last Russian Tsar, Emperor Nicholas II. ‘The Forgotten Tutor’ is a collection of carefully preserved letters, photographs and illustrations sent to the tutor by his beloved and ill-fated, pupils. Co-author, Janet Epps is a Southern Highlands local. ‘The Forgotten Tutor’ is available at The Brown Bookshop, Bowral.
Arthur Upfield – Novelist (1890-1964)
Crime and mystery writer and former Bowral resident, Arthur Upfield was the creator of 'Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (Boney)' and the ‘Boney’ series of books which went on to inspire a number of television series and telemovie productions. The film, ‘Three Acts of Murder’ is a true-life telling of how Mr Upfield inadvertently inspired a murderer to commit his crimes by providing explicit detail of “the perfect murder” in his best known book, ‘The Sands of Windee’. Arthur Upfield’s final work, ‘The Lake Frome Monster’ was published posthumously in 1966.
James Kemsley – Cartoonist and Playwright (1948-2007)
James Kemsley was the creator of the popular character and comic strips ‘Ginger Megs’. He also wrote several successful children’s plays. Mr Kemsley continued to create his comics right up until his death at his home in Bowral in 2007.
A huge thank you to the staff at Bowral Central Library for their interest and willingness to assist in the research of this article. In particular, the staff of the Local Studies and Archive Collection which is open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays 2pm-4pm. Your expertise and support are greatly appreciated. We thoroughly recommend a visit, particularly if you love a bit of local history, like we do!
Thanks also to the staff of The Bookshop Bowral for introducing us to the non-fiction / lifestyle books that appear in this article.
Happy reading, Highlanders!