First time novelist wins Ned Kelly Award
by Clayton Wehner - August 30th, 2012
Fourth Estate Australia is delighted to announce that Peter Twohig’s The Cartographer has been awarded the Ned Kelly Award for First Fiction 2012, from a very strong field.
Peter Twohig has enjoyed many surprises in his life but having his first novel published at 62 years of age is up there with the biggest of all. He wrote The Cartographer in just a few weeks and sent it to legendary literary agent, Lyn Tranter who remarkably rescued it from the large pile of unsolicited manuscripts on her desk and immediately recognised its rare quality. The team at Fourth Estate fought hard to win the fierce bidding war and jubilantly released the novel in February this year. It has become a bestseller and received extensive critical acclaim and now Peter has won his first Award. What’s next for this maverick writer?
Harper Collins Publishing Director Shona Martyn says: “Peter Twohig’s The Cartographer is a deserved winner of the Ned Kelly for First Fiction. This is an extraordinary debut and proof that it is never too late to write your first novel! Right from the first inventive pages when an 11-year-old Melbourne boy spies a murder being committed through the window of a strange house, this book has you gripped. The lane ways and drains of Melbourne have never seemed so foreboding. We are proud to have Peter Twohig on the Fourth Estate list.
Lyn Tranter says: “When this manuscript arrived I knew after reading the first page that here was a unique voice. And that is what we are all looking for.”
Strap yourself in for a ripper ride on and under the streets of Melbourne in 1959. … It’s an Aussie odyssey in the spirit of Huckleberry Finn and Oliver Twist. – Melbourne Herald Sun
The Cartographer is a remarkable first novel whose vivid descriptions, original, engaging voice and surprising hero-in-the rough draws the reader into a labyrinth of danger and discovery. – The Canberra Times
About the author
As a boy growing up in Melbourne, Peter Twohig became one of Australia’s youngest Queen Scouts, and in his mid-teens took up guitar, which led to him joining a rock band. Peter had a long career in various government departments and as a management consultant before training in Naturopathy and Homoeopathy and setting up Sydney’s largest natural-medicine practice in 1995. He has degrees in Professional Writing and Philosophy. He now lives on the Central Coast of NSW and is a full-time writer. This is his first novel.
About the ‘The Cartographer’
In order to get a ten [on the smell scale], ‘a smell must have a certain something about it, so that you can’t just say: Oh yeah, that’s because it’s got whatsaname in it — vanilla or something — if you know what I mean. It has to have a lovely strangeness to it.’
The Cartographer also has a ‘lovely strangeness’ to it. The writing and the story are delightfully eccentric, filled with dry wit and super funny characters and events.
The cocky and devilish yet innocent and beautiful voice of the unnamed narrator belies all the loss and trauma he has recently experienced. To survive, he reinvents himself as a superhero and maps his journeys through the landmarks and smells of Richmond to be sure he never crosses paths with the people he has upset, including a vengeful murderer. The story is full of cultural references to comics, superheroes and TV shows that will strike chord after chord with readers.
Set in the dark, dangerous lanes and underground drains of grimy 1959 Richmond, The Cartographer bristles with outrageous wit and irony. Peopled with a rich cast of shifty bastards, a father who deserts his wife and son, a depressed mother, a modicum of pseudo-aunts, astonishing superheroes, and a few coincidentally loving characters, some of whom are found in the most unlikely places, ultimately it champions innocence and tenacity.
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