Combining magical realism and fable, this lyrical tale is the story of a landscape and community destroyed by Western greediness.

Simbala is a Keeper, the latest in a long line of women who can read the Book to find answers to people’s questions. When developers begin to poison the River on which Simbala’s village relies, the Book predicts change. But this does not come in the form they expect; it is the sympathetic foreigner who comes to stay who inflicts the greatest damage of all.


Alison Croggon is an award-winning poet whose work has been published extensively in anthologies and magazines internationally. She has written widely for theatre, and her plays and opera libretti have been produced all around Australia. Alison is also an editor and critic. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Daniel Keene, the playwright, and their three children.

Katie Harnett grew up in Sheffield, and graduated from an Illustration BA at the University of the West of England followed by an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art in 2015. She received the Bologna Children’s Book Fair ARS IN FABULA Grant Award in 2015, and her work was selected to be exhibited twice at The Illustrators Exhibition at the Bologna Book Fair. Her illustrations are influenced by patterns in the natural world, as well as by vintage photographs, books and films sales.


This is a lyrical and rewarding story that will appeal to a broad range of age groups from late primary upwards. It raises complex issues about the rights of Indigenous peoples, environmental degradation and the impact of Western society in ways that are engaging and thought-provoking.


As well as being an engaging and thought-provoking read, this novel will raise issues for discussion on environmental and cultural vandalism, and the clash of values between ruthless big business and the lives of unsophisticated, vulnerable peoples.



Environment Award for Children’s Literature, Fiction
Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards, Writing for Children
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