Winner of the Tasmanian Book Prize 2007
A brilliant account of 200 years of Tasmanian history and an acclaimed writer's discovery of his secret connection with that island and its past.
In Tasmania on holiday, novelist and Chatwin biographer Nicholas Shakespeare discovered a house on a 9-mile beach and instantly decided this was where he wanted to live. He didn't know then that his ancestor was the corrupt and colourful Anthony Fenn Kemp, now known as ‘the Father of Tasmania', or that he would find relatives living on the island.
Shakespeare interweaves his personal journey into a new-found paradise with a brilliant account of the two turbulent centuries of Tasmania's history in this fascinating and timely book. ‘A delightful book. Nicholas Shakespeare is a fine story teller and here he unveils for us a compendium of fascinating Tasmanian characters past and present, from bankrupt squires to convict cannibals, from love struck romantics to the captivating monstrous Anthony Fenn Kemp, the Flashman of early colonial Australia. From all these lives Shakespeare builds up a rich and powerful portrait of this intriguing land, his adopted home.' - Matthew Kneale