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Robbie Arnott

  • awardWinner, Margaret Scott Prize, Premier's Literary Awards, 2019
  • awardShortlisted, Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize, United Kingdom, 2019
  • awardShortlisted, Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction, 2019
  • awardLonglisted, Indie Book Awards for Debut Fiction, 2019
  • awardShortlisted, MUD Literary Club, Adelaide Writers' Week, 2019
  • awardShortlisted, UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing, NSW Premier's Literary Awards, 2019
  • awardShortlisted, Queensland Literary Awards: University of Queensland Fiction Book Award, 2018
  • awardShortlisted, Kathleen Mitchell Award, 2019
  • awardShortlisted, Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, 2018
  • awardLonglisted, ALS Gold Medal, 2019
  • awardLonglisted, Miles Franklin Literary Award, 2019
  • awardShortlisted, Tasmania Book Prize, Premier's Literary Awards, 2019
  • awardLonglisted, Voss Literary Prize, 2019
  • awardLonglisted, International Dublin Literary Award, Ireland, 2020
  • *Shortlisted for the Guardian‘s Not the Booker Prize 2019*

    A young man named Levi McAllister decides to build a coffin for his twenty-three-year-old sister, Charlotte—who promptly runs for her life. A water rat swims upriver in quest of the cloud god. A fisherman named Karl hunts for tuna in partnership with a seal. And a father takes form from fire.

    The answers to these riddles are to be found in this tale of grief and love and the bonds of family, tracing a journey across the southern island that takes us full circle.

    Flames sings out with joy and sadness. Utterly original in conception, spellbinding in its descriptions of nature and its celebration of the power of language, it announces the arrival of a thrilling new voice in contemporary fiction.

    Robbie Arnott chosen as a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist
    Read an extract from Flames in Kill Your Darlings
    Watch Robbie Arnott on ABC’s Gruen Transfer (00:25:00) 


    ABC Hobart, Your Afternoon 
    (Miles Franklin longlist)
    Guardian, ‘From cow stories to the history of humanity: what you should read in May’ 
    Hub podcast, (Jul 18)
    Kill Your Darlings (June 19) 
    Mercury ($), (Jul 18)


    2SER’s Tuesday Book Club, Jul 18
    , ($) 
    Australian Book Review
    Bathurst City Life 
    Guardian: Not the Booker 
    Kill Your Darlings, Jul 18
    Otago Daily Times, Jul 18
    Saturday Paper 
    Stuff NZ, Jul 18
    Sydney Morning Herald, Jun 18

    Robbie Arnott
    About the Author

    Robbie Arnott was born in Launceston in 1989. His writing has appeared in the Lifted Brow, Island, Kill Your Darlings and the 2017 anthology Seven Stories. He won the 2015 Tasmanian Young Writers’ Fellowship and the 2014 Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers. His first novel, Flames, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and...

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    Text publication date:
    30 April 2018
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    Grief, Australian fiction, Tasmanian fiction, myth & fable
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    Praise for Robbie Arnott

    ‘A strange and joyous marvel.’

    ‘Ambitious storytelling from a stunning new Australian voice. Flames is constantly surprising—I never knew where the story would take me next. This book has a lovely sense of wonder for the world. It’s brimming with heart and compassion.’

    ‘Robbie Arnott is a vivid and bold new voice in Australian fiction.’

    ‘Visionary, vivid, full of audacious transformations: there’s a marvellous energy to this writing that returns the world to us aflame. A brilliant and wholly original debut.’

    ‘Arnott skilfully switches between different voices and genres in a trick reminiscent of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. The range he displays is impressive, swinging from fable to gothic horror to hardboiled detective story.’

    Flames is an exuberantly creative and confident debut. This is a story that sparks with invention…Invigorating, strange and occasionally brutal.’

    ‘This is the kind of book that you’ll be able to read a second, third, even fourth time, and it will still never reveal all its secrets. Composed with meticulous attention to detail, and a mastery of form rarely found in a debut novel, Flames will keep you stewing long after you’ve finished reading it.’

    ‘A surprising story with a definite feminist edge…the novel’s playfulness and poetry make for a fresh and entertaining read.’

    ‘Arnott confidently borrows from the genres of crime fiction, thriller, romance, comedy, eco-literature, and magical realism, throws them in the air, and lets the pieces land to form a flaming new world.’

    ‘This is a startlingly good first novel, stylistically adventurous, gorgeous in its descriptions and with a compelling narrative that should find a wide readership.’

    ‘A gloriously audacious book. It runs astonishing risks and takes on the biggest emotions…It bowled me sideways.’

    ‘Unique and memorable…Extraordinary energy…A rich and memorable picture with prose of an exceptionally high quality. You won’t read another Australian literary novel like this anytime soon.’

    ‘[A] novel you will want to read more than once, not so much to plumb its depths as to savour its wild variety of styles and voices, to revel in its breathtaking descriptions of Tasmanian wilderness and to grasp its intricate structure…There is no doubt that a poetically wild and wicked imagination is at work here. More please!’

    ‘It’s not hard to see where the hype came from. This is an assured, funny and highly imaginative work. Flames is strange from the first, arresting sentence.’

    ‘Highly innovative…[A] finely built and realised first novel.’

    Flames is brilliant…Enjoy it for its prose poetry, its vivid imagery, its brilliant turns of phrase on nearly every page.’

    ‘Delightful. He jumps playfully between different writing styles in every chapter…[An] enchanting story that also captures something very real about Tasmanian life.’

    ‘An engrossing narrative of mystery and escape that treats the reader to bravura runs of writing, especially around the elements of water and fire…You never quite know which direction the story will take off in as it creates a new kind of fairytale for our fire-prone landscape.’

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