ACT Book of the Year





John Clanchy
Vincenzo's Garden
University of Queensland Press

Cover Vincenzo's garden


From the celebrated Australian short-story writer and novelist John Clanchy comes a brilliant new collection of prize-winning short stories. These diverse and captivating tales are testimony to Clanchy's mastery of voices and talent for story telling - his greatest gift is his ability to transport the reader inside the minds of a range of remarkably different characters.

The characters include a mix of men, women and children often at a crossroads in their lives. 'How did I get here?' they ask, and sometimes arrive at surprising answers. A husband in the midst of a terrifying, yet occasionally comic, wrestle for his sanity fights a losing battle to save his marriage. A girl steps out of her own portrait to recount the death of the famous artist who painted her. A doctor, driving late on a country road, runs down a woman and is forced to devise his own punishment. A man in middle age travels the length of the Australian continent to uncover a secret that has tormented him since his youth. And, in the title story, a fragile woman and her beautiful daughter struggle to find love and understanding after decades of conflict.

With brilliant reversals and surprises around every corner, these moving stories are often humorous and sensuous, frequently challenging, and always entertaining.


JOHN CLANCHY was born in Melbourne in 1943, but has lived in Canberra (working as a counsellor and academic at the Australian National University) since 1975. He was for some years head of an academic advisory centre for students at the Australian National University and foundation director of the Graduate Teaching Program in the university's Graduate School.

John has published nine volumes of fiction (five novels and three collections), as well as many uncollected short stories in magazines, newspapers and anthologies. His stories have won many awards, in Australia, Europe, the US and New Zealand. His novel The Hard Word won the 2003 ACT book of the Year in 2003, and his collection of stories Vincenzo's Garden won both the same prize in 2006 and the Steele Rudd Award the year before.

In addition to literary fiction, John has co-authored two detective thrillers with Mark Henshaw If God Sleeps and And Hope to Die, both now appearing in French and German.

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