Why you should read Wood Green by Sean Rabin

We’re delighted that Sean Rabin’s debut novel is one of the six books shortlisted for this year’s Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. Here’s why we think you should read this book.


1. Wood Green is a charming, engaging novel, and a genuine pleasure to read.

Aspiring writer Michael has just completed his PhD and accepted a job as secretary to his literary hero – reclusive novelist Lucian Clarke. As he travels to Hobart and into the hills of Tasmania, he starts to wonder if Lucian has an ulterior motive… The story is told through a vast collection of voices, from the snivelling B&B proprietor to the determined ex-girlfriend.

2. PLUS… This clever story is more than it first appears.

As you are swept up into the gorgeous landscape, the memorable cast of characters and Michael’s reflections on literature, you may find yourself thinking that you know where all this is going. We suspect you may not – this story really does offer unexpected delights and surprises.

3. Wood Green is perfect for those interested in the craft of writing.

With two writers at the heart of this story, it’s no surprise that you will find many reflections on their profession in this work. In fact, we recommend you keep a pen and notepad handy. This novel is also filled with literary references: a veritable roll call of Australian novelists, commentators, musicians and scholars are tucked into its pages.

4. Sean Rabin plays with the notion of the ‘literary recluse’ – a figure popular culture has long been obsessed with.

This book poses fascinating and playful questions about what we expect from our writers: How should they behave and talk? What do we want them to reveal to us? Do we use them to make sense of our own lives? With this work, Rabin delves deeply into ideas about creativity, authorship and genius.

5. The book is set in Tasmania, and gorgeously constructs the atmosphere of the island; you’ll be booking tickets to visit before you finish the final page!

In many ways, Wood Green is an ode to Tasmania. Rabin pays homage to significant historical events, as well as celebrates the beauty of the landscape, the food and the arts.


Find the full Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction shortlist here, and don’t forget you can buy all six of our wonderful shortlistees in a specially-priced pack.

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Wood Green

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Michael, an aspiring writer who has recently finished his PhD, takes a job as the secretary to his literary hero, Lucian Clarke, a reclusive novelist with a mysterious cosmopolitan past, who lives in a cottage in a...

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