Serong for gong literature | The standard


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Port Fairy author Jock Serong has been shortlisted for a major new literary award for his novel The Burning Island. He is one of three authors short of the Historical Novel Society Australasia’s $ 100,000 ARA Historical Novel Award, saying it was “a real surprise” and “an honor” to be shortlisted. The Burning Island is the second volume in a trilogy inspired by the tumultuous colonial history of the Furneaux Islands off the northeast coast of Tasmania. Serong said the region’s history in the early 1800s was “a truly neglected part of our history” and he hoped his novel would put it in the spotlight. “I am hopeful that people will go away and think about it and keep reading about it,” he said. Australia is in a golden age of traditional historical writing, according to Serong. “There are great historians who write books for the general public… then you have Australian authors who re-evaluate our history,” he said. When asked if Southwest Victoria could serve as the setting for a future novel, Serong said he was shocked when he saw a map of the colonial border massacres produced by the University of Newcastle. “I was shocked to see that the biggest and darkest red spots on the map were in western Victoria,” Serong said. He said it was a disturbing story he wanted to explore more deeply.


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