One stroke of luck can change your life . . . The critically acclaimed and enthralling literary novel about a batmaker and a gifted young cricketer, and the game that ties them together. For fans of Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding and Joseph O'Neill's Netherland.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKPEOPLE ADULT FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2023
'Willowman may well be the perfect Australian novel' Readings
'Beguiling and entertaining' PETER LALOR, Weekend Australian
'A sweet strike that goes beyond the boundary' The Age
'Joyous storytelling at its best. I was enthralled' SARAH WINMAN, author of Still Life
'I bloody loved this - a gorgeous, heartbreaking examination of so much more than cricket' ROBBIE ARNOTT, author of Limberlost
Allan Reader, one of the last traditional batmakers in the country, keeps his family business alive in a small workshop in Melbourne.
When Todd Harrow, a gifted young batter, catches Allan's eye, a spark is lit and Allan decides to make a Reader bat for him, selecting the best piece of willow he's harvested in years to do so.
As Harrow charts a meteoric rise to the highest echelons of the sport, Allan's bat takes centre stage as well, awakening something in him. But can Allan's fledgling renaissance - hanging as it does on the magic of that bat - carry on after Harrow is stricken by injury and a strained personal life?
'A six all the way: Willowman is a novel off the middle of the bat' Sydney Morning Herald
'These charismatic characters rise memorable from the page, stroke by inspired stroke, ball by crafty ball, living vividly through cricket history' Courier Mail
'A book for the summer, one to throw in the kitbag to read during rain delays, or between overs in the stands, to read even if you're not a fan of the game' Canberra Times
'Not since Jasper Jones have I been so utterly spellbound by the next ball, the state of the pitch and the intricacies of scoring' KATE MILDENHALL
'A love story to cricket, to families, to craft and to music. Beautifully written' MICHAEL BRISSENDEN
'Inga Simpson brings all her craft and sensitivity to a story that has never been told, and now that she has done it, it feels like this was a story that was needing to be told' MALCOLM KNOX
Inga Simpson began her career as a professional writer for government before gaining a PhD in creative writing. In 2011, she took part in the Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development Program and, as a result, Hachette Australia published her first novel, Mr Wigg, in 2013. Nest, Inga's second novel, was published in 2014 and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Stella Prize and shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal. Inga's third novel, the acclaimed Where the Trees Were, was published in 2016.
Inga was awarded the final Eric Rolls Prize for her nature writing and has obtained a second PhD, exploring the history of Australian nature writers. Inga's account of her love of Australian nature and life with trees, Understory, was published in 2017. Her first book for children, The Book of Australian Trees, illustrated by Alicia Rogerson, was published in 2021. The Last Woman in the World, her critically acclaimed environmental thriller, was published in 2021 and shortlisted for the 2022 Fiction Indie Book Award. Her bestselling and critically acclaimed 2022 novel Willowman was shortlisted for the BookPeople Adult Fiction Book of the Year 2023. Inga lives on the NSW south coast among trees.