Author(s): Roger McDonald
Winner of the Miles Franklin Award. In the early 1800s, out of the prison society of governors, redcoats, English gaolers, Irish convicts, and the few free settlers of Botany Bay, no one had ventured much farther inland than a few dozen miles from Sydney. Or so it was believed until the escape of Desmond Kale and the vengeance of his rival, the wildly eccentric parson magistrate Matthew Stanton. The Ballad of Desmond Kale is a broad-sweeping novel of the first days of British settlement in Australia. At the centre is Stanton's pursuit of Kale - an Irish political prisoner and a rebelliously brilliant breeder of sheep. The alchemy of wool fascinates, threatens, and transforms when it is discovered that fine wool thrives in New South Wales as nowhere else in in the world, producing veritable gold on sheep's backs. The Ballad of Desmond Kale is both a love story of unusual interest and an epic novel of greed, ambition, conceit, and redemption. The novel is rich in its characterisations and the rawness of its settings, vigour of language, and vividness of personality. The action moves from the early Australian bush to the halls of Westminster, the mills of Yorkshir
Roger McDonald is a highly distinguished and prize-winning Australian writer of eight novels and two works of non-fiction. When Colts Ran, his most recent novel, was shortlisted for the 2011 Miles Franklin Prize, the 2011 Victorian Premier's Prize, and the 2011 Prime Minister's Prize. Before that, The Ballad of Desmond Kale won the Miles Franklin award in 2006 and the Adelaide Festival Prize for Fiction in 2008. Other prize-winning books include Mr Darwin's Shooter, Shearers' Motel, and 1915 which became an ABC-TV series.