We’re delighted that Victor Kelleher’s Wanderer and Sophie Masson’s The Key to Rome have been featured in the newest edition of Kids’ Corner, a fabulous digital magazine from the NSW Branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia. They’ve been included in a feature called Legends and Journeys, and come with some comments from Victor and Sophie.
You can read the whole issue here–the relevant pages are from 9-11, inclusive.
We’re delighted to announce that today is the publication day for our latest title, The Key to Rome, Sophie Masson’s exciting historical mystery novel for middle-grade readers. The book is now available in all good bookshops around Australia. The gorgeous cover illustrations, map and chapter decoration are by the wonderful illustrator Lorena Carrington, editing by Lucy Eddy, and internal design by Authors’ Elves. We hope readers will love it as much as we do–as well as being a fabulous adventure, it’s a thoughtful exploration of a very different, dangerous world, and a touching story of friendship across a great divide.
We are absolutely thrilled to announce the very exciting news that Victor Kelleher’s extraordinary novel, Wanderer, which we published last year in our Eagle Books imprint, has just been shortlisted for the very prestigious Patricia Wrightson Prize, which is the children’s category in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards! This is absolutely wonderful news, and a very well-deserved major recognition of Victor’s magnificent book. Here’s what the judges said about the novel:
With danger at every turn and constant action that grinds to a dramatic climax, Wanderer by Victor Kelleher grips the reader from the start, never letting up on the drama, tension, and conflict. This novel stood out for its strong narrative voice and for its child protagonists who remain in control of their own destinies throughout. Theirs is a high-stakes, life-and-death struggle against the decaying, lawless world around them as they must battle and attempt to outwit adults, wild animals, and nature itself.
This middle-grade novel is set in a dystopian future where ocean levels have risen and society has crumbled. Young Dane and his new friend, Lana, must complete a perilous quest that focuses on special treasures: precious, rare books. And, yet, Wanderer is also much more than this. It’s a tale of friendship, courage, endurance, and a warning of what the future may hold for humanity.
Huge congratulations to Victor! We are so proud to have been able to publish Wanderer, and so delighted that the book has been honoured in this wonderful way.
Winners of the Awards will be announced at the State Library of NSW, Sydney, on May 22. It will also be the opening event for the Sydney Writers’ Festival. #NSWPLA
Christmas Press has acquired world rights to The Cave, an upper middle-grade novel by Victor Kelleher, via Margaret Connolly of Margaret Connolly and Associates.
Described by Christmas Press publishing director Sophie Masson as an ‘extraordinary adventure’ exploring loss, survival and courage, The Cave is set in the Palaeolithic times and follows teenagers Irian and Ulana who, with their Clan, have made a cave their home ever since they used fire to drive off the Beast—a savage sabre-toothed tiger.
Protected by an ongoing fire at the cave mouth, they continue to keep the Beast at bay until one fateful night when the fire goes out. What happens next shatters the Clan and leaves Ulana badly injured and Irian too traumatised even to speak. Alone and adrift, they have little hope of survival, until a chance meeting with a prickly old woman called Trug who, grudgingly, takes them on a journey of discovery, flinging them into the many wonders and hard realities of ancient times.
Explaining the genesis of the novel, Kelleher said: ‘For almost as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by pre-history. In particular by the question of how our early ancestors, starting out as helpless wanderers on the plains of Africa, went on to become secure cave dwellers and greatly feared hunters. How did this great change come about? Clearly, the discovery of fire must have played a part. And so, too, the creation of better weapons and tools. But how did the change actually occur? That’s precisely the story I’ve tried to tell in The Cave.’
Said Masson: ‘Last year, we had the great delight of publishing Wanderer, Victor Kelleher’s first new middle-grade novel for over fifteen years, to great reader acclaim and excellent reviews. Its success also saw the author reinvigorated to create more works for middle-grade readers, and The Cave is the brilliant result … As compelling, exciting and thoughtful as Wanderer, it too is sure to find many, many readers.’
The middle-grade novel is set to be published in April 2024 under the Eagle Books imprint.
We wish all our authors, illustrators, readers, friends and supporters the very best for the festive season, and thank you for your support in 2022. Next year will be the 10th anniversary year of Christmas Press, and we’ll have lots of fantastic things happening, including here at Eagle Books–watch this space! In the meantime, check out the two fabulous Eagle Books titles published this year, Michael Grey’s Children of the Wild and Victor Kelleher’s Wanderer: both engrossing adventures just perfect for holiday reading!
We’re delighted to announce the acquisition of our next Eagle Books title, which will be published in May 2023: it’s The Key to Rome, a new novel for middle-grade readers by multi-award-winning author Sophie Masson.
Set in AD/CE 84, in the Roman province of Britannia, The Key to Rome is an exciting historical mystery that takes the reader on an enthralling ride into a very different world.
Twelve-year-old orphan Livia has to keep a promise made to her late father: to take a mysterious key to her estranged uncle Marcus. She sets out with the key, her old horse Pegasus and her father’s doctoring kit, only to learn that her uncle has left for a town further north.
By the time she reaches it, her uncle has gone, and she can’t find out where–until a boy named Mato informs her that he knows. But he refuses to tell her unless she takes him with her. As the two young people journey on the trail of Livia’s uncle, they start to suspect that the key holds a very dangerous secret. And now Livia and Mato must keep their wits about them, in a deadly game of cat and mouse. But figuring out who is friend, and who is foe, is the greatest challenge of all…
Here’s the fabulous cover, created by Lorena Carrington. Isn’t it gorgeous!
We’re excited to announce that Pamela Rushby’s fabulous middle-grade novel The Secret Battle, which we published last year, has been longlisted by the Historical Novel Society of Australasia for the 2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize in the CYA (Children’s and Young Adult) category.
This year’s Longlists explore a diverse range of powerful themes, from reinvention and the meaning of truth, through to mischievous, fast-paced fables and the recasting of literary classics. The Longlists demonstrate the power of historical fiction to bring the past vividly to life, explore often unspoken truths, and illuminate the challenges faced by humankind throughout the centuries.
The Prize is a true celebration of historical fiction, and a real opportunity to foster the genre on a grander scale, and we are very proud that The Secret Battle is part of it. And we offer big congratulations to Pamela!
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.
By Victor Kelleher
Cover and internal illustrations by Lorena Carrington
Published August 2022 by Eagle Books, an imprint of Christmas Press
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!
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.