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Ilka Tampke

  • awardWinner, Small Press Network's Most Underrated Book Award, 2019
  • One woman’s quest to defend her culture.

    Haunted by the Roman attack that destroyed her home, Ailia flees to the remote Welsh mountains in search of the charismatic war king, Caradog, who is leading a guerrilla campaign against the encroaching army.
    Ailia proves herself an indispensable advisor to the war king, but as the bond between them deepens, she realises the terrible role she must play to save the soul of her country.

    Set in Iron-Age Britain, Songwoman is a powerful exploration of the ties between people and their land and what happens when they are broken.


    3CR (approx. 14:40)
    3RRR: Zero G
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    Ilka Tampke
    About the Author

    Ilka Tampke teaches fiction at RMIT University. Her first novel, Skin, was published in eight countries and was nominated for the Voss Literary Prize and the Aurealis Awards in 2016. Ilka lives on five acres in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria.

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    Text publication date:
    1 October 2018
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    Praise for Ilka Tampke


    Songwoman is a sparkling piece of writing, shot through with complex moral struggles and questions about what it means to belong to a place. Ilka Tampke transported me into the mind of Ailia, into her intense relationship with war king Caradog and her even more intense relationship with the land. Fine-tuned historical research blends seamlessly into this gripping story of a young woman fighting to stop the destruction of her home.’

    ‘[Tampke’s] vision is clear and brought to life vividly through the strength of her singular heroine. We have no heard the last from this resonant new Australian voice.’

    ‘Those who root for Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen will find much to love in Ailia’s personal quest, with Tampke more successfully navigating the realms of almost fantasy than Ishiguro, marking her out as an exciting talent to watch.’

    ‘Tampke has created a visceral tale of ritual, magic and violence.’

    ‘Fantasy lovers will enjoy the mysticism and world building, and historical fiction readers will appreciate the Roman invasion story line.’


    ‘Vivid world-building, a seamless blend of research and imagination, and the heightened lexicon of fantasy lend a beguiling lustre to this Iron Age saga.’

    ’A story about a woman who is following her destiny in Celtic Britain.’

    Other editions ofSongwoman
    • Songwoman
      ISBN: 9781925626674
      1 October 2018
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    Other Titles byIlka Tampke