“Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved.”

— Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain

“For one last time horse and rider were becoming part of air not earth.”

— Gillian Mears, Foal’s Bread

“The hills only come back the same: I don’t mind, and all the flat moorland and the sky. I don’t mind they say, and the water says it too, those black falls that are rimmed with peat, and the mountains in the distance to the west say it, and to the north …”

— Kirsty Gunn, The Big Music

“Deborah Wardle writes heartfelt stories with clarity and compassion.”

Why We Cry – Excerpt from novel in progress. Chapter One:

Frankie Pankhurst drove the straight flat roads towards the hut where her father, Lennie, was holed up by the Murray River. She wound down the window to let in an oven blast of smells of dry grass and hard-baked soil. Her brown shoulder-length hair whisked around the thickened web of tissue that swathed the buttressed sides of her neck. She habitually pulled her hair forward to cover the offending wing-like connection between her skull and her shoulders.

Drought lolled across the country like a sun-dazed cat. It padded north through the Mallee and leapt across the Murray River into inland New South Wales, panting. Its food-bowl tipped on edge, the prowler yowled for the losses. The deadly, feline presence crept across the flatlands and hills, quiet and stealthy, not a stranger, but unwelcome where it crouched, grim and steadfast. The land gasped.