by Sue McPherson
Magabala Books

Brontide is a coming-of-age story set in the coastal town of Taralune in Queensland. Exploring themes of racism, familial dynamics and modern masculinity, this story unfolds through a series of fictional interviews between McPherson and the four unique and interlinked adolescent boys at the centre of this narrative. Praised for its authentic dialogue and accessibility to younger audiences, Brontide is a hilarious and occasionally heart-wrenching story of growing up in country Australia.

Judges' Report

Young adult books have the latitude to delight in experiments with form that are often denied to those in the adult market. Sue McPherson has taken full advantage of this and truly played with structure in her novel Brontide, a small marvel with a big heart. Despite its brevity, these pages hold a deceptively ambitious structure, told via interviews with four high school boys in a small Queensland town. These four voices ring out with irreverence, humour, pain and longing—their thoughts are presented unvarnished, resulting in big moments that are in turn hilarious, confronting and even heartbreaking. Utterly unpretentious, this is a hidden gem that would particularly appeal to reluctant teen—or even adult—readers who still want complex and nuanced storytelling. The book is not without flaws, but the reader is quickly swept up in a compelling narrative and few will leave dry-eyed.

About the author

Sue McPherson is a visual artist living in Eumundi, Queensland. She was born in Sydney to an Aboriginal mother, from Wiradjuri country. Sue was adopted into the McPherson family, landowners from the Batlow area in New South Wales, when she was very young. A weekend writing workshop inspired Sue to join a writers’ group and commit to writing a young adults novel, Grace Beside Me which won the kuril dhagun Indigenous Writing Competition through the State Library of Queensland.

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