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The wildly impressive, raucously funny and deeply moving second novel from award-winning writer, actor and director for television, theatre and film Brendan Cowell, confirming the talent he showed in his bestselling debut novel from 2010, How it Feels.

Peter ‘The Plum’ Lum is a 49-year-old ex-star NRL player, living with his son and girlfriend in Cronulla. It’s a pretty cruisey life until one day he suffers an epileptic fit and discovers that he has a brain disorder as a result of the thousand-odd head knocks he took on the footy field in his twenty-year-career. According to his neurologist, Plum has to make some changes – right now – or it’s dementia, or even death.

Reluctantly, Plum embarks on a journey of self-care and self-discovery, which is not so easy when all you’ve ever known is to go full tilt at everything. On top of this, he’s being visited by dead poets and discovers he has a special gift for the spoken word. With the friendship of Bukowski, Plath and some local misfits, Plum might just be able to stop hurting the ones he loves, and save his own life.

Written with a roaring energy, a raucous humour and a poetic soul by award-wining writer, actor and director Brendan Cowell, Plum is a powerfully moving, authentic, big-hearted, angry and joyous novel of men, their inarticulate pain, and what it takes for them to save themselves – from themselves.


What are the best things you can feel in your time on earth? Like, if you had to say, what feels the best in terms of human experiences? Of all the ones on offer to us in this life? And keep it above board please. What would your top three be, say? Getting sweaty on the dance floor at your wedding. Skiing out of a helicopter in Colorado. Eating a pizza with your wife in actual Italy. High at a festival and your favourite band are just there, they are right in front of you. Sex with love. Seeing your first baby be born and everyone is doing well. Dunno. They’re all up there. Finishing the half-marathon with your best mate from school. Finishing just ahead of him too. Or after years of toiling away at it—sucking it all up and pushing through the tough times and the inadvertent politics of the workplace—finally getting that promotion and buying that house with water glimpses. Sure. That all feels pretty great. But for Peter Lum, well, it was now. It was this moment, the one before the beginning. The moment where the adrenaline of what he was about to do matched with his fear of the unknown. This psyched-up, fired-up, pent-up surrender to chaos, to competition, and to collision. The knowledge you could kill or be killed. The want for that perilous limbo . . . KEEP READING


Brendan is an award-winning writer, actor and director for television, theatre and film. He wrote the smash hit Ruben Guthrie for Belvoir St Theatre in 2009, and wrote and directed the film adaptation, winning an AWGIE for the screenplay. Brendan wrote two episodes of the multi award-winning series The Slap for which he won the AACTA Best Screenplay prize.

He has been named the ‘leading light amongst playwrights of his generation’ (Sun Herald) and has won the Patrick White Playwright’s Award, the Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award and the Griffin Award. His 11 plays have been produced all around the world. He was a writer on the acclaimed TV series Love My Way, in which he starred. Many of his episodes for Love My Way were nominated for Australian Writers Guild Awards (AWGIE) for Outstanding Screenplay.




‘When I read a novel, I want, more than anything else, to be lifted out of myself. I want all the big feelings, I want to have a visceral response, I want to feel that thrill of going on a journey and not know quite where I’m going to finish up. I want words and phrases to sing at me. I want to believe in a character’s journey. I want to end a book and feel sorrow, gladness, joy and all the tumultuous emotions. And that’s exactly what I got when I read Brendan Cowell’s Plum. Think Gabriel Garcia Marquez meets Trent Dalton with a dash of early Tim Winton—it’s earthy, bawdy, truthful, moving and bold where it counts. Brendan is an original literary talent, and this novel is a total knockout.’

—Catherine Milne, HarperCollins Australia head of local fiction


We have 10 copies of Plum to give away!
Please email your request to HarperCollins.





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