Michelle de Kretser - Author Q & A

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5 minutes with Michelle de Kretser

Michelle de Kretser

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to Australia when she was 14. Educated in Melbourne and Paris, Michelle has worked as a university tutor, an editor and a book reviewer. She is the author of The Rose Grower, The Hamilton Case, and The Lost Dog. Her novel Questions of Travel was the winner of the 2013 Miles Franklin Award and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction.

What was the last good book you read?

Battarbee and Namatjira by Martin Edmond. This double portrait of Rex Battarbee and Albert Namatjira movingly documents their friendship, their professional relations and their art.

Do you have a favourite Library?

The Mitchell is wonderful for the depth of its collection and the beauty of its reading room.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever read about yourself or your work?

When my first novel, The Rose Grower, came out in paperback, my UK publisher told me that a review in a provincial newspaper speculated as to whether Michelle de Kretser was my real name. Why, I have no idea!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Read, read, read. And leave time between drafts.

What drew you to the subject matter of your latest book?

I grew up hearing ghost stories, which have a rich oral tradition in Sri Lanka, so I’ve always been interested in the genre. But I wanted to give the formal conventions of ghost stories a tweak: so instead of setting Springtime on a dark and stormy night in an atmospheric old house, I set it on a sunny morning in a tranquil Sydney suburb. I walk my dog along the Cooks River every morning, and that was the immediate inspiration for the book.

Want to know more about Springtime?


When Frances met Charlie at a party in Melbourne he was married with a young son.

Now she and Charlie live in Sydney with her rescue dog Rod and an unshakeable sense that they have tipped the world on its axis. They are still getting their bearings - of each other and of their adopted city. Everything is alien, unfamiliar, exotic: haunting, even.

Worlds of meaning spin out of perfectly chosen words in this rare, beguiling and brilliant ghost story.

Springtime is published by Allen & Unwin and available now