Jane Harrison | Paperback | August 2023
The most exciting debut in 2023, The Visitors is an audacious, earthy, funny, gritty and powerful re-imagining of a crucial moment in Australia's history - an unputdownable work of fiction.
On a steamy, hot day in January 1788, seven Aboriginal men, representing the nearby clans, gather at Warrane. Several newly arrived ships have been sighted in the great bay to the south, Kamay. The men meet to discuss their response to these visitors. All day, they talk, argue, debate. Where are the visitors from? What do they want? Might they just warra warra wai back to where they came from? Should they be welcomed? Or should they be made to leave? The decision of the men must be unanimous -- and will have far-reaching implications for all. Throughout the day, the weather is strange, with mammatus clouds, unbearable heat and a pending thunderstorm ... Somewhere, trouble is brewing.
From award-winning author and playwright Jane Harrison, The Visitors is an audacious, earthy, funny, gritty and powerful re-imagining of a crucial moment in Australia's history - and an unputdownable work of fiction.
'A remarkable achievement of First Nations storytelling. We live in a time when truths need to be told and heard - this is a generous offering, a story that challenges and ultimately rewards us' Tony Birch, author of The White Girl
'A work of soaring imagination and breathtaking ambition. Jane Harrison upends all our black-and-white assumptions about what happened on that fateful January day in 1788 when eleven tall ships sailed into a safe blue harbour that people already called home. Surprisingly funny, cheeky and tragic by turns, this remarkable novel is bold, brave and unforgettable' Clare Wright, author of You Daughters of Freedom
'Witty, tense, and gut-wrenching ... [it] pulled me inexorably towards a place of profound emotion' Grace Chan, author of Every Version of You
'Intimate, tense, but inviting ... the end of the book is devastating, and even though we know what's coming, we're hopeful for a different ending. The Visitors offers a deep emotional journey. Harrison has written a thoughtful and powerful reimagining of a significant moment in Australian history, from a First Nations perspective.' Books+Publishing
Jane Harrison is descended from the Muruwari people and is an award-winning playwright, author and festival director. Her first play, Stolen, was performed across Australia and internationally for seven years, and her second, Rainbow's End, won the 2012 Drover Award. Her young adult novel Becoming Kirrali Lewis won the 2014 Black & Write! Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2014 Prime Minister's Literary Awards and the Victorian Premier's Awards. The stage play of The Visitors was a smash hit at the Sydney Festival in 2020, and the Sydney Theatre Company's production of the play will take place in late 2023. Jane directed the Blak & Bright First Nations Literary Festival in Melbourne in 2016, 2019 and 2022. She believes in the power of stories to strengthen cultural connection.