Catherine is here today with Nicole Alexander. My family has been on the land in northern New South Wales, since 1893. Four generations have worked our properties and from an early age I grew up listening to the many stories passed down through the generations. My great-grandfather selected the original holding and is buried in the soil he loved. In 1893 he overlanded sheep from another Alexander property where he built a simple timber hut. The men spent their days cutting timber, erecting fences and shepherding sheep. I imagine the days and nights back then were equally long, the monotony only broken by the monthly arrival of the postal and supply rider who brought stores and mail to those remoter settlers. One of the items delivered to my great-grandfather in that first year was a copy of Alexander Duma’s The Count of Monte Christo. The novel arrived in a saddle-bag on the back of a packhorse wrapped in brown paper and twine and I can only imagine my great-grandfather’s excitement when he unwrapped the parcel.
I heard these stories and many more as a child and from an early age I have loved Australian pastoral history. It is this love that led me to write novels that explore Australia’s inland history. I am very conscious of my ancestors having walked the land before me and it was the need to return to my ‘roots’ that led to give up corporate life and return home. Initially I planned on having twelve months break in the country, but that was twenty-two years ago and I’m still involved in the family business. I’ve been writing for thirty years now, poetry, travel and newspaper articles to begin with, but it was only when I returned to the country that I began writing my first novel. It took me eight years to write ‘The Bark Cutters’. I was working full time on the property, both in the office and outdoors (a steep learning curve in what was then a very male dominated agricultural industry), completed a Masters in literature & creative writing and released a volume of poetry. I wrote about the land and the emotional attachment that generational graziers have towards their properties and was fortunate that the work resonated with many people. The Bark Cutters was short-listed for an Australian Book Industry Award. Since then I’ve been on a book a year contract with Penguin Random House and An Uncommon Woman, out this July is my 8th novel.
Nicole’s works reflect a sense of continuity and an inherent love for the Australian landscape that is steeped in authenticity.
She is the bestselling author of seven Australian Fiction novels; The Bark Cutters, A Changing Land, Absolution Creek, Sunset Ridge, The Great Plains, Wild Lands and River Run.
The Bark Cutters remains the highest selling debut novel in the rural literature genre and was shortlisted for an Australian Book Industry Award in 2011. Absolution Creek and Sunset Ridge were both selected for the 50 Books You Can’t Put Down Get Reading campaign. The Great Plains was nominated as a Top 100 Book by Better Reading in 2015 & 2016.
Nicole’s novels, poetry, travel, creative writing and genealogy articles have been published in Australia, America, Singapore, New Zealand, Germany & Canada. Non-fiction works include a poetry collection Divertissements: Love. War. Society (2008) and she was invited to be a contributor to the National Breastcancer Foundation anthology (2013) Dear Mum.
An in-demand speaker, Nicole’s past clients include; RaboBank, Landcare and The Community Mutual Group and she also conducts writing workshops. If you would like to discuss the possibility of engaging Nicole please send a query via the contact form on this website.
Nicole is a current judge of The Cowley Literary Award & The MacIntyre Young Writers award and is a past judge of the Elyne Mitchell Writing Awards.
Find Out More About Nicole Alexander
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