SIDDON ROCK by Glenda Guest, a first novel published by Random House early last year, has just been named the Best First Book in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. The judges praised SIDDON ROCK for its rich cast of odd characters and blending of the everyday with fantasy. Behind every door in town lurk secret desires and wild imaginings. The novel, they concluded, deftly delves into the hauntings and disjunctions of settler Australia, and in its fable-like quality captures the laconic mannerisms of the Australian outback. Glenda is a woman in her early sixties who had always wanted to write a novel but never quite found the discipline or time until the last few years.
SIDDON ROCK is a most unusual Australian novel as it carries more than a touch of magic realism. Glenda was bold to persist with her story which at heart is an extraordinary tale about an ordinary Australian outback town.
Australia, recently, has had a great run with these prizes. Christos Tsiokas’s THE SLAP won the Best Book last year and Random House-published Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif with A CASE OF EXPLODING MANGOES won the Best First Book.
Click here to read more about this award-winning first novel, SIDDON ROCK.