Shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Prize for Indigenous Writing
In this unforgettable new collection, Tony Birch introduces a cast of characters from all walks of life. These remarkable and surprising stories capture common people caught up in the everyday business of living and the struggle to survive. From two single mothers on the most unlikely night shift to a homeless man unexpectedly faced with the miracle of a new life, Birch’s stories are set in gritty urban refuges and battling regional communities. His deftly drawn characters find unexpected signs of hope in a world where beauty can be found on every street corner – a message on a T-shirt, a friend in a stray dog or a star in the night sky.
Common People shines a light on human nature and how the ordinary kindness of strangers can have extraordinary results. With characteristic insight and restraint, Tony Birch reinforces his reputation as a master storyteller.
‘The Ghost Train’, ‘Harmless’, ‘Colours’, ‘Joe Roberts’, ‘The White Girl’, ‘Party Lights’, ‘Paper Moon’, ‘Painted Glass’, ‘Frank Slim’, ‘Liam’, ‘Raven and Sons’, ‘The Good Howard’, ‘Sissy’, ‘Death Star’, ‘Worship’.
About the Author
Tony Birch is the author of Ghost River, which won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and two short story collections, Father’s Day and The Promise. Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio and a regular guest at writers’ festivals. He lives in Melbourne and is a Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University.
"Birch is a sophisticated writer: technically adroit even at his most raw, mindful of the anticanon from which his own work emerges, he nonetheless reserves the right to deal in his chosen subject matter with a simplicity and intermittent grace that has no ideological grounds beyond the desire to allow a story to tell itself." --The Weekend Australian
PRAISE FOR COMMON PEOPLE
'A natural storyteller' Books + Publishing
'Common People is a book of great empathy and even greater faith' Australian Book Review
'Tony Birch's superb new collection of short stories, Common People, is a powerful and illuminating look at the lot of Australians who have fallen through the cracks in contemporary life' Saturday Age; Sydney Morning Herald; Canberra Times
'Birch throws us straight into the action. There is always urgency and vitality in his stories; there is always a wide terrain. Characters are immediately and completely drawn with just a few words, and do not fit into easily defined moulds.' 'Birch evokes place and time with small details dropped in unceremoniously, and the stories are rife with social commentary. ''Well, who are we to judge? Perhaps that is the point -- Birch shows empathy so that we might find it' Weekend Australian
'The stories are varied, sustained and filled with beautiful writing that shows a rare talent for getting inside the minds of a huge cast of characters. There is not one word out of place.' Herald Sun
PRAISE FOR TONY BIRCH
'Birch is a sophisticated writer: technically adroit even at his most raw, mindful of the anticanon from which his own work emerges, he nonetheless reserves the right to deal in his chosen subject matter with a simplicity and intermittent grace that has no ideological grounds beyond the desire to allow a story to tell itself.' The Weekend Australian