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‘Emily Clements makes art from her wounds. The Lotus Eaters is a story that is raw with yearning and ache, yet Clements’ marvellous voice forms the calm waters of retrospection and self-understanding. The result is a sometimes maddening, sometimes devastating but always unputdownable book.’
—Lee Kofman


About the book

A gripping memoir of sex, self-worth, female friendship and what it means to be a young woman today.

The Lotus Eaters is a vividly written story of self-redemption from a sharp new voice in Australian memoir. Delicately interweaving past and present, Emily Clements dissects the patterns of blame and shame women form around their bodies and within relationships by reflecting on her own experiences throughout her teens and into her twenties.

When a stand-off with her best friend sees 19-year-old Emily stranded in Vietnam, she is alone for the first time and adrift in a new environment. With seemingly nothing to lose, she makes the biggest decision of her life—to stay. But Emily’s attempts to bridge a yawning loneliness spur a downward spiral of recklessness, as she hurtles from one sexual encounter to the next. It will take a truly terrifying experience for her to understand that sex is both a weapon and a wound in her battle for self-worth and empowerment.

The Lotus Eaters taps into the growing consciousness around women’s stories as seen in Three Women by Lisa Taddeo and Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee.

Perceptive, self-aware and profound, Emily Clements delivers an assured and mature reflection on her own life that readers will find achingly relevant to our time.


About the author

Emily Clements is a 27-year-old writer based in Melbourne. Her nonfiction has been shortlisted for the Feminartsy Memoir Prize, the Ada Cambridge Prize and highly commended in the Scribe Nonfiction Prize. Her fiction has been twice shortlisted for the Rachel Funari Prize and earned the Melbourne Young Writers Award. She is a former editor for Voiceworks and Visible Ink. The Lotus Eaters is her first book.


A note from the author

I’m an avid nonfiction reader but I haven’t always been. I had this idea in my head that nonfiction was the realm of stuffy male journalists and politicians and maybe some mums who had learned the secret to life, the universe and long-term weight loss. I didn’t see me. And to paraphrase the late great Toni Morrison, if you don’t see yourself, write yourself.

I started work on The Lotus Eaters in 2015, aged 22, and the years since then have seen the #MeToo movement roar across the globe, as well as some incredible genre-busting nonfiction positioning women’s stories at the forefront; and yet, I could still count the under-30s female Australian memoir titles on one hand.

I want young readers to not have to hunt to find themselves in literature; I want experiences like mine to be shouted, not whispered. I want to peel apart the layers of femininity that shape identity and sex and kinship and the whole goddamn thing. I want you to read this book and see yourself, illuminated.


Author tour

Emily will be available for in-store appearances and events from publication in February 2020. For expressions of interest, please contact publicist


Sample chapter

For a preview of The Lotus Eaters, download the first few pages here.


Reading copy giveaway

If you’d like to receive an advance reading copy of The Lotus Eaters, send an email with the subject line ‘The Lotus Eaters’ and your postal address in the body of the email to




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