Publication day for Wanderer!

Today is the publication date for Wanderer, the brilliant new novel by one of Australia’s greatest storytellers, multi-award-winning author Victor Kelleher. It is his first new middle-grade novel in over fifteen years, and we are so proud to be publishing it!

Wanderer is not only an exciting, immersive adventure, with unforgettable characters, set in a brilliantly-imagined alternative world: it is also a lyrical love song to the power of books and stories. You can read more about the story here, and watch a great trailer for it here, but here below too are some words from Victor to readers, about the book and its themes.

I wrote Wanderer while living in the Channel Country of southern Tasmania. It grew out of the waterways and landscape I looked onto every day, and more or less demanded to be written. So like all my fantasies, it is grounded in a real place. Only the time has shifted, from the present to a not-too-distant future, when the world is learning to heal itself again.

 The notion of healing runs right through the book, from the main character, Dane, who has been mentally wounded by the manner of his mother’s death and his own feelings of guilt; right through to the animal kingdom, which has turned against humanity after millennia of ill-treatment and neglect. Then, too, there are the abandoned children who, for me, symbolise the plight of poor kids everywhere.

 The stories told by Lana, and the books she and Dane are trying to rescue, can also be seen as a part of this healing process – though they clearly symbolise much more. Again, for me, the image of the lost kids sitting around the campfire listening to Lana tell her tale is central to so much of what I was trying to convey. Stories can heal us, as First Nations people throughout the world have known for many, many centuries.

 In this respect, let me confess something here. I hadn’t written a novel for some years and telling Lana and Dane’s story helped restore my writerly self. It reminded me of a part of myself that had been missing. Does that make sense? I hope so, because it’s the simplest truth I took away from this act of authorship.

 But that’s enough about healing. Readers can further explore that theme for themselves.

 Just a final word about one of the many other issues raised by the novel, and that’s the thorny problem of violence. In and of itself, violence is a nasty thing. On the other hand, it’s something we’re all capable of. Why does, say, Lana show restraint at critical moments, while her father, Karl, gives free rein to his basest passions? What constrains her?  Or Dane come to that? Or to look at it in another light, why do the people of Skull veer one way, and the people of Elysia another?

 Much greater writers than myself have tackled this problem, and it even arises in many fairy tales. So it would have been foolish of me to pretend that Wanderer supplies all the answers. It doesn’t. But at the heart of my young characters’ quest, there are, I hope, some clues as to how and why we become who we are.

Happy reading!

Wanderer

By Victor Kelleher

ISBN 9780645378818

Cover and internal illustrations by Lorena Carrington

Published August 2022 by Eagle Books, an imprint of Christmas Press

RRP $19.99

Available in all good bookshops.

Cover reveal for Wanderer!

We are absolutely delighted to reveal the beautiful cover of Victor Kelleher’s magnificent middle-grade novel, Wanderer, which we are publishing in August. The cover was created by the brilliant photographic illustrator, Lorena Carrington: isn’t it just superb!

Wanderer is the first new middle-grade novel in over fifteen years by multi-award-winning author Victor Kelleher, one of Australia’s greatest storytellers. An exciting adventure set in a brilliantly-imagined world, it is also a lyrical love song to the power of books, and stories. We are so proud to be able to bring this wonderful book to the world!

You can read more about Wanderer here.

Fabulous first review of Children of the Wild!

Michael Grey’s amazing novel, Children of the Wild, has just received its first review, and it’s fabulous! It’s on the influential book site Read Plus, and the reviewer is Carolyn Hull. Here’s a short extract:

This is an exciting and impressive first novel. There are waves of dramatic moments within a dystopian or speculative-style fantasy set in an unidentified world that has declined beyond imagination. Sometimes it has the feel of a ‘Hunger Games’ survival tale with bows and arrows, set within a world-gone-wrong, and sometimes it is more Sci-fi with coming-of-age overtones.

You can read the full review here.

Publication day for Children of the Wild!

We are delighted to announce that today is the official publication day of Michael Grey’s stunning debut YA novel, Children of the Wild! It’s an amazing speculative fiction story, set in an unusual dystopian world, with a cast of memorably vivid characters, full-on adventure, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and fantastic world-building. We are very proud to be publishing it, and warmly congratulate Michael on the book’s release! We also congratulate the wonderful Lorena Carrington, who created the striking cover illustration and internal chapter decoration.

You can read more about Children of the Wild here.

Submissions for middle-grade and YA historical novel now open

Today, February 1, Eagle Books has opened for submissions of middle-grade and YA historical novels. The submissions period will end at midnight on February 28, Australian Eastern Daylight Saving time. Writers resident in Australia and New Zealand only are eligible to submit. Please carefully read and follow the guidelines on our submissions page, here, before you send anything in. We look forward to seeing your submission, and wish you good luck!

Exciting news for writers of children’s/YA historical fiction!

Here at Eagle Books, we love historical novels for young readers, and we’ve published quite a few in the last few years. And now we have some exciting news for writers: on Tuesday February 1 we will be opening for submissions of original unpublished historical novels for children and young adults! Historical fiction sub-genres such as historical fantasy, historical mystery, alternative history, timeslip etc, are also eligible.

Submissions will be open for the month of February only, and only for Australian and New Zealand writers(sorry, we can’t take submissions from other countries). Read all about it on our submissions page here: and remember, please follow the guidelines exactly, including not submitting till February 1 and checking your ms fits the definition of historical fiction as detailed on our submissions page.

Announcing the acquisition of Victor Kelleher’s brilliant new middle-grade novel

Christmas Press is excited to announce that we have acquired world rights in Wanderer, a brilliant new novel for upper middle-grade readers by eminent, multi-award-winning author Victor Kelleher. The novel will be published in August 2022 under the Eagle Books imprint and was acquired via Margaret Connolly of Margaret Connolly and Associates.

Wanderer is Kelleher’s first middle-grade novel for over fifteen years, as the author has been concentrating on short fiction for younger readers in the interim. And it is a triumphant return to the powerful speculative fiction for older readers that saw him win many awards and gain legions of readers for novels such as Taronga, The Red King, The Green Piper, and Brother Night.

From the very beginning of Wanderer, the reader is plunged into the cold waters of an unusual post-catastrophe world where a secretly salvaged book is a source of comfort for a young boatman and where ravaging warriors hunt down any hint of the old knowledge. With its heady mix of lyrical description, gripping action scenes and philosophical reflection, this is a novel that makes you hold your breath, a novel which is not only an immediately engaging story but also a love song to books themselves.

Victor Kelleher explains the genesis of the novel: ‘I wrote Wanderer while living in the Channel Country of southern Tasmania. It grew out of the waterways and landscape I looked onto every day, and more or less demanded to be written. So like all my fantasies, it is grounded in a real place. Only the time has shifted, from the present to a not-too-distant future, when the world is learning to heal itself again.’

Wanderer is a tour de force, a masterpiece by a writer at the peak of his powers,’ said Christmas Press publishing director Sophie Masson. ‘We are really honoured that Victor has chosen to entrust his beautiful novel to us and excited to be publishing the first Victor Kelleher novel for older readers in over fifteen years. So many people, including us, grew up with and were inspired by his extraordinary speculative fiction from previous years and we are thrilled to be bringing his wonderful new work to a whole new generation of young readers. ‘

Victor Kelleher

Cover reveal for Children of the Wild!

We are delighted to reveal the gorgeous cover of debut novelist Michael Grey’s fantastic YA novel, Children of the Wild, which we are publishing in March 2022. The beautiful cover illustration is by the wonderful photographic artist Lorena Carrington, and design is by Authors’ Elves. Lorena has also created an elegant motif to use as chapter headings throughout the book.

We’re excited to be publishing Michael’s book, the first YA novel we’ve taken on. Powerful, action-packed and thoughtful, it is an absolutely gripping read. Read more about it, and Michael, here.

Publication day for The Secret Battle

It’s publication day today for The Secret Battle, Pamela Rushby’s gripping middle-grade historical novel, set in Brisbane in 1942. It’s a fabulous, fast-moving read, centred around the adventures of nine year old newspaper seller as he becomes inadvertently caught up in the tensions between Australian and American servicemen which will result in a deadly riot–and change Roddy’s life forever.

To celebrate the book’s publication we’ve created a short trailer which we hope you’ll enjoy.