Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 14, 2017

Meet an Aussie Author: Rachel Leary

Photo by Kirsty Argyle

As regular readers will know, I recently read and reviewed Bridget Crack, the debut novel of Tasmanian author Rachel Leary…

Rachel Leary grew up in Hobart under the slopes of kunanyi/Mount Wellington and now lives in regional Victoria. In 2014 she received a mentorship from the Australian Society of Authors to develop her debut novel manuscript Bridget Crack which was published by A&U in August this year. She has published and won awards for a number of pieces of short fiction  including the Tasmanian Writer’s Prize in 2015, and The Age Short Story Competition in 2011.  Her writing has appeared in publications such as: Southerly, Island, Forty Degrees South Short Story Anthology, and Allnighter.

In 2011 her one-woman show ‘Everything Must Go’ premiered at La Mama, and over the next three years toured regional Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, playing at over 90 venues.   She has trained extensively in improvisation and physical theatre and works with the Arts Health Institute bringing creativity to aged care.  She holds a BSc with honours in Cultural Geography from the University of Tasmania and a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing from RMIT.

(And just in case you’re wondering what Cultural Geography is, I have consulted Wikipedia and this (edited to remove unnecessary links and footnotes) is what it says:

Cultural geography is a sub-field within human geography. Though the first traces of the study of different nations and cultures on Earth can be dated back to ancient geographers such as Ptolemy or Strabo, cultural geography as academic study firstly emerged as an alternative to the environmental determinist theories of the early Twentieth century, which had believed that people and societies are controlled by the environment in which they develop. Rather than studying pre-determined regions based upon environmental classifications, cultural geography became interested in cultural landscapes.

I can see now how this study has informed the landscape and characters of Bridget Crack). 

The release of a novel is a busy time for an author so I am grateful to Rachel for giving up her time to participate in Meet an Aussie Author. Here are her answers to my questions!

I was born… in Hobart.

When I was a child I wrote… poems about Milo and tomato soup.

The person who encouraged/inspired/mentored me to write was… perhaps C.S Lewis.  Not mentored, obviously, but inspired; as did many of the authors I read as a child.

I write in… a variety of places, sometimes on the couch.

I write when… I have read good writing.  Writing that excites me gets me scrambling for a pen or opening a computer file.

Research is… inspiring, and integral to fiction set in the past.

At the moment, I’m writing… lists of things to do!

I keep my published works… on a shelf.

On the day my first book was published, I… did a launch at Readings bookshop in Melbourne.

When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I… stare into space.

And this is the space that Rachel stares into … the Aussie bush is her muse:

You can buy Rachel’s book from Fishpond: Bridget Crack




  1. That’s an interesting mix of studies – improv, cultural geography, writing. I wonder if she took each of them up for the skills they bring to her craft as a novelist.


  2. IMO the best writers are the ones who bring a mix of knowledge and experience from different aspects of life.


  3. […] Rachel Leary is a debut author whose historical novel Bridget Crack is getting rave reviews, (including mine).  It’s the story of a female bushranger, set in the period of Tasmania’s colonial history – which has always been a great source for fiction, starting with Marcus Clarke’s For the Term of His Natural Life (1874).  His Natural Life paints a sorry picture of convict life in Van Dieman’s Land, but you can’t fault its value to tourism and the Port Arthur Historic Site! […]


  4. […] up are Tassie author Rachel Leary, featured in Meet an Aussie Author late last year – and Louise Allan from WA. Many of you will know Louise from her blog series […]


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