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Booksellers, Tony Birch’s latest is a carefully packed pipe-bomb of a novel that silently ticks along—then explodes in your hands.

Here are five things to tell your customers about Women & Children (9780702266270, $34.99 hardback) in November:

  1. It’s set in the school holidays of 1965: while 11-year-old Joe’s friends are at the pool, he’s made to spend the days with his street-sweeping grandad Charlie. Then Joe’s aunty Oona turns up with a black eye and a battered body, and Joe’s family is drawn into a very personal battle, ‘in a neighbourhood where blindness was a skill.’
  2. It’s a book of reckoning and of fierce women, with sparks of joy and love—and a thundering, unforgettable ending.
  3. The striking hardcover jacket features a photo of Tony Birch’s sister on her First Communion Day, along with his godmother, taken by his mother.
  4. An openly personal novel, Women & Children, says Tony Birch, ‘is not the story of my own family, but a story motivated by our family’s refusal to accept silence as an option in our lives.’
  5. UQP has a major publicity and marketing campaign lined up for it in November: see below for more on this, and for your chance to grab a giveaway copy.

It’s 1965 and Joe Cluny is living in a working-class suburb with his mum, Marion, and sister, Ruby, spending his days trying to avoid trouble with the nuns at the local Catholic primary school. One evening his Aunty Oona appears on the doorstep, distressed and needing somewhere to stay. As his mum and aunty work out what to do, Joe comes to understand the secrets that the women in his family carry, including on their bodies. Yet their pleas for assistance are met with silence and complicity from all sides. Who will help Joe’s family at their time of need?

Women & Children is a novel about the love and courage between two sisters, and a sudden loss of childhood innocence.

Tony Birch is the author of three novels: The White Girl, winner of the 2020 NSW Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing, and shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Award; Ghost River, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing; and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2012. He has also published four short story collections, the most recent of which, Dark as Last Night, won both the 2022 NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the Queensland Literary Award for Fiction. In 2017 he was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award. Tony Birch is also an activist, historian and essayist.

  • Extensive review and interview coverage in print, online and on ABC radio
  • Events and signings in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane
  • Better Reading marketing campaign
  • Outdoor poster campaign in Melbourne and Sydney
  • Extensive online advertising, including book trailer
  • Inclusion in numerous bookseller catalogues.

To grab one of 25 giveaway copies of this superb, very personal novel, email UQP. Please include your postal address.

To order stock of Women & Children (Nov, 9780702266270, $34.99 hardback) contact your Penguin Random rep or UBD.




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