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In a hotel room on a sleepy Pacific island, Judy Novak waits. And worries. It isn’t the first time 29-year-old problem child Paulina has kept her mother waiting. But Judy can’t ignore the island’s jagged cliffs and towering pines — or the dread that Paulina has finally acted on her threats to take her own life.

When Paulina’s body is discovered, Judy’s worst fears seem confirmed. Only, Paulina didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

So begins a thorny investigation, wherein every man on the island is a suspect yet none are as maligned as Paulina: the captivating newcomer known for her hard drinking, disastrous relationships, and habit of walking alone.

But, above all, Paulina is her mother’s daughter. And death won’t stop Judy Novak from fighting for Paulina’s life.



‘Laura Elizabeth Woollett has done it again. The Newcomer pulls you in from its eerie opening and drags you along with intriguing characters and beautifully wrought prose. As the mystery deepens, you begin to realise things are never clear-cut, and everybody is guilty of something. A cautionary tale inspired by true events by one of my favourite authors. Read this book now.’
—JP Pomare

The Newcomer is a dark and disturbing novel, speaking to some of the most troubling aspects of contemporary Australian society. As in Beautiful Revolutionary, Woollett’s prose is delicate and brutal in equal measure, offering an intimate portrait of a small and tight-knit community. With a fast-paced narrative and a complex central character, this is a searing exploration of sexual violence and victimhood, taking forward important conversations within our national psyche.’
—Catherine Noske

‘Laura Elizabeth Woollett is my kind of writer — fearless, incisive, and darkly poetic. The Newcomer is by turns tragic, funny, sinister, and completely riveting.’
—David Whish-Wilson



Laura Elizabeth Woollett is the author of a short story collection, The Love of a Bad Man (Scribe, 2016), and two novels, Beautiful Revolutionary (Scribe, 2018) and The Newcomer (forthcoming Scribe, 2021). The Love of a Bad Man was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction and the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction. Beautiful Revolutionary was shortlisted for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal, and the Kathleen Mitchell Award. Laura was the City of Melbourne’s 2020 Boyd Garret writer-in-residence and is a 2020-22 Marten Bequest scholar for prose.



Pulling onto the gravel-and-mud of Tenderloin Road, Judy had the feeling she was trespassing. A downcast Fairfolk flag, dripping against its pole. A bathtub murky with rainwater. A miniature plantation of palm trees, their bases sharp with rat traps. Then she noticed the letterbox: shaped like a cow, with a slot for a bum-crack. She laughed, louder than it warranted. Paulina had told her about the letterbox, and the lady it belonged to — her landlady, Vera.

Judy parked in front of the main house.

It was a white clapboard house with an olive-green tin roof. Wraparound porch cluttered with fishing gear and mismatched furniture. Judy wondered if she should knock before proceeding to the cottage. Then she spied Paulina’s little blue Mazda parked outside.

So she is home! Unless—

The windows of the Mazda were open. Carpet drenched. Upholstery drenched. A puddle of water on the dashboard, flecked with dirt and stray pine needles. KEEP READING 



  • National online tour and bookshop events
  • Author appearing at several high profile writers festivals
  • Written pieces in national glossy magazines and newspapers
  • National and local radio interviews
  • Comprehensive podcast interviews
  • Blanket review coverage in newspapers and magazines
  • Extensive marketing campaign through magazines, newspapers, and online

For your chance to receive an advance copy of The Newcomer email Scribe Publications.




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Matthia Dempsey

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