Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 5, 2011

Meet an Aussie Author: Rohan Wilson

Rohan Wilson is the author of that astonishing new novel The Roving Party which I read and reviewed just a littThe Roving Partyle while ago. The book won the 2011 Vogel Prize and since this year procedures have been changed so that the winning book hit the bookshop shelves when the announcement was made, readers have been able to get their hands on it in the immediate aftermath of the prize so there has been considerable buzz about it.  I also had the pleasure of attending a session at the Melbourne Writers Festival at which Rohan was on the panel with Kate Grenville and Kim Scott, talking about the issue of fictionalising the history of First Contact in our country.  I couldn’t resist scampering up afterwards to ask Rohan to participate in Meet an Aussie Author – and here he is!

1.  I was born about the same time that postmodernism was gaining the ascendancy in cultural theory, so naturally I write with a sense of that guerilla-style irony.
Grug (Grug)2.  When I was a child I wrote a series of Grug books.  Grug, as you know, loves to explore so I had him discovering ancient cities and civilisations. I don’t have them anymore, but I remember them clearly.
3.  The person who encouraged/inspired/mentored me to write was, and I know I sound like a wanker, but it really was myself. Writing is a cut-throat game, and if you don’t push yourself, you won’t make it. Simple as that. Don’t let other people set your agenda.
4.  I write in my office, on a big 27 inch iMac. The room is completely bare, except for a little bonsai tree beside my desk.
5.  I write every morning from about 9.30 until I have done what feels like enough. Sometimes that is a lot, sometimes not much. It depends on how tricky the part I am working on is.
6.  Research works better after you have done the first draft. But to write a first draft, you also need to research. It is a nasty paradox. Don’t think about it too much or you brain will melt.
7.  I keep my published work in amongst all my other books. That way, it feels like I belong with the rest of the writing world.
8.  On the day my first book was published, I had an interview with Stephen Romei from The Australian. He had my book in his hands, and that was the first time I had ever seen it. I cannot tell you what huge buzz I got.
9.  At the moment, I’m writing a novel about revenge.   Look out for the extract published in the September issue of Island magazine.
10. When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I pick up a book of poetry. Usually Ezra Pound or Seamus Heany. Sometimes Ted Hughes.

Well, who’d have thought that those little Grug books could set a youngster on the path towards being a talented author, eh?  I can’t wait to read that next novel!

To buy Rohan’s novel click this link: The Roving Party (Fishpond).


  1. I usually love the Vogel Prize winners, ill check this book out.


  2. Oh wow… I had forgotten about those Grug books! I loved them! :-)


    • I’ve got staff at school on a mission now, to foster off a whole new generation of authors by starting them off with Grug!


  3. […] Rohan Wilson has written prize-winning and unforgettable novels also set in this period, including The Roving Party (2011 and To Name Those Lost (2014).  These novels bring to life the stories of Tasmania’s Black History, as I’ve read about it in works of non-fiction by authors who must surely be considered as honorary Tasmanians: Lyndall Ryan, for Tasmanian Aborigines, a History since 1803; and Rebe Taylor for Into the Heart of Tasmania which won the 2017 Tasmania Book Prize.  And although I haven’t read any novels by contemporary Indigenous Tasmanian authors, the TWC includes in its Writer Database poet, playwright and short story writer Jim Everett, who also goes by his Aboriginal name, puralia meenamatta, and I hope to source some of his short stories soon.  Through the TWC database I’ve also discovered Grease and Ochre: The Blending of Two Culture at the Colonial Sea Frontier (2011) by Patsy Cameron from Flinders Island, who can trace her Tasmanian Aboriginal heritage through her mother’s line to four ancestral grandmothers. […]


  4. […] Wilson (featured here in Meet an Aussie Author) is one of my favourite authors.  From his debut novel The Roving Party (which won the Vogel and a […]


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