Laura Elizabeth Woollett

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 (Scribe, 2021). Beautiful Revolutionary was shortlisted for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and the ALS Gold Medal, while The Love of a Bad Man was shortlisted for the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction. She is a 2020–2022 Marten Bequest Scholar for Prose. 

Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'Red' by Felicity McLean

June 2022, no. 443 23 May 2022
Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'Red' by Felicity McLean
‘Everyone knows how it ends,’ declares Ruby ‘Red’ McCoy, the fourteen-year-old narrator of Felicity McLean’s second novel, Red. ‘What people are less interested in hearing is how it all got started.’ The ending in question is Ruby’s attempted murder of a police officer, a crime that is heralded from the novel’s outset. In this retelling of the Ned Kelly legend, McLean sets Red a ... (read more)

Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'A Great Hope' by Jessica Stanley

March 2022, no. 440 21 February 2022
Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'A Great Hope' by Jessica Stanley
There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen,’ Vladimir Lenin has been credited with saying, with reference to the Bolshevik Revolution. It’s a sentiment that immediately springs to mind when reading Jessica Stanley’s A Great Hope, a début that, while not billed as historical fiction, is deeply concerned with history and its making.  ... (read more)

Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'The Last Woman in the World' by Inga Simpson

December 2021, no. 438 23 November 2021
Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'The Last Woman in the World' by Inga Simpson
Rachel isn’t the last woman in the world, but she might as well be. Cloistered in her bushland home on Yuin country, in New South Wales, Rachel’s days consist of birdsong, simple meals prepared from a pantry stocked with home-made preserves, and glass-blowing in her private studio – a craft that is both her livelihood and her religion. It’s a peaceful yet precarious existence. The land is ... (read more)

Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'The Details: On love, death and reading' by Tegan Bennett Daylight

September 2020, no. 424 24 August 2020
Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'The Details: On love, death and reading' by Tegan Bennett Daylight
When William Blake wrote of seeing ‘a World in a Grain of Sand’, he meant the details: their ability to evoke entire universes. So did Aldous Huxley when, experimenting with mescaline, he discovered ‘the miracle … of naked existence’ in a vase of flowers. More recently, Jenny Odell’s bestseller How To Do Nothing: Resisting the attention economy (2019) made a case for rejecting producti ... (read more)

Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'The Rain Heron' by Robbie Arnott

June–July 2020, no. 422 26 May 2020
Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'The Rain Heron' by Robbie Arnott
In an unnamed land under the thrall of a mysterious coup, mountain-dweller Ren wants only to live off the grid, undisturbed by human contact. Ren’s familiarity with the natural world becomes a liability when a band of soldiers comes seeking information that only she can provide: the whereabouts of a fabled bird with the ability to make it rain. Despite a decided ambiguity about exactly where an ... (read more)

Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'Stone Sky Gold Mountain' by Mirandi Riwoe

May 2020, no. 421 28 April 2020
Laura Elizabeth Woollett reviews 'Stone Sky Gold Mountain' by Mirandi Riwoe
In this multi-perspective novel, Mirandi Riwoe trains her piercing postcolonial gaze on Gold Rush-era Australia, lending richness to the lives of the Chinese settlers who are often mere footnotes in our history. Ying and Lai Yue are outsiders before their arrival in Far North Queensland, where they have gone to find their fortunes after their younger siblings are sold into slavery. While Ying stru ... (read more)