Allen & Unwin to publish Chris Hammer’s Scrublands in 2018
Allen and Unwin is proud to announce that it has secured ANZ rights to Scrublands, a stunning debut novel by Australian author Chris Hammer, from Grace Heifetz at Curtis Brown. Set in a fictional Riverina town at the height of a devastating drought, Scrublands is one of the most powerful, compelling and original crime novels to be written in Australia, and is already causing a major international buzz. After hotly contested auctions, Scrublands has been sold in the US, UK, Germany, France and Russia, with more sales pending.
In Australia A&U Publisher Jane Palfreyman says, ‘As soon as I read the extraordinary opening I was hooked, drawn into a story that held me captive until the final page. In Scrublands, Chris has produced something extraordinary – a brilliant mix of page-turning plot, unforgettable characters, and an evocation of the Australian landscape that makes you feel the heat and taste the dust. Allen & Unwin could not be more excited about publishing what we believe will be one of the biggest debuts of 2018.’
In the US, Tara Parsons, Editor in Chief of Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, added ‘From the very first page, I knew that I wanted to publish Scrublands in the United States, and that I would likely be competing in a spirited auction. Hammer’s debut novel is utterly gripping and un-put-downable, a story that is as incredibly well written and evocative as it is a page-turner, and Touchstone is thrilled to introduce his work to readers here.’
In the UK, Kate Stephenson, publisher at Wildfire, an imprint of Headline, writes:‘Scrublands claims your full attention from the arresting opening scene and never loosens its hold. The stunningly vivid writing evokes the fierce heat of inland Australia, and the richly-layered mystery is driven by the question not whodunit but why. We are thrilled to welcome Chris to our list, and can’t wait to share his compulsive debut with UK readers.’
Scrublands is set in an isolated country town afflicted by interminable drought where a terrible crime has been committed. A year later, accompanied by his own demons from conflict-zone reporting, journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend. His assignment is simple: describe how the townspeople are coping as the anniversary of their tragedy approaches. Just as he feels he’s making headway, the bodies of two German backpackers - missing since the time of the church shootings - are discovered in a dam in the scrublands. A media storm erupts. As events spiral out of control around him, Martin has to risk everything to uncover the town's secrets.
Author Chris Hammer has been a journalist for more than 30 years, working as a roving international correspondent for SBS TV’s flagship current affairs programme Dateline, as well as Chief Political Correspondent for The Bulletin, a senior writer for The Age Newspaper and Online Political Editor in Fairfax’s parliament house bureau. His first book The River (non-fiction), published in 2010, was the recipient of the ACT Book of the Year Award as well as being shortlisted for the Walkley Book Award. Scrublands is Hammer’s first novel, and it will be published on Wednesday 25th July 2018.
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