A novel about one man’s journey to become his own master, from slavery in Jamaica, through to eventual freedom in colonial New South Wales. Based on a true story.
William Buchanan lived an extraordinary life. Born a slave on a plantation in Jamaica, he escaped the gallows more than once. His part in the slave uprisings of the 1830s led to his transportation across the world as one of the convicts sent to New South Wales.
This is a story not only about a boy who fought against all odds in search of freedom, but also about a world not so long ago, when the violence of colonisation was in full force. It is a story of Jamaica, and Australia, but at its heart, it is a story about how one lives a life, whether slave or free man.
Steeped in history but full of lessons that resonate for us today, William Buchanan’s coming-of-age tale of survival and fate is a thrilling tale told in a singular voice, from a startling new talent in Australian writing.
About the Author
Sienna Brown was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Canada. But it wasn’t until a move to Sydney that she came across William Buchanan’s story and was struck with a sense of fate – this story of a lost man far from home resonated with her own feelings of displacement.
A lifelong storyteller and daughter of Jamaican parents, Sienna was captivated by William’s story and the way it intersected with her own cultural background. She is a professional dancer, film editor and documentary director by trade, and worked at Sydney Living Museums, where she first came across William’s story. She is currently
working on her second novel.
"An extraordinary achievement, mirroring an exceptional life, Sienna Brown's debut is breathtaking. Rich and lyrical, it pulses with determination, with hope, and with truth.”
“What gives one man the right to own another is the question at the heart of this beautiful meditation on love, loss and liberty through the voice of one who lived it, William Buchanan, lifelong Jamaican rebel forced to become Australian settler. In Sienna Brown’s compelling first novel, Will’s voice is so true, his personality so engaging, his wonder at both the evil and beauty of the world so compelling, his lifelong adventures so heroic, we want to cheer him at every turn. Master of my Fate is a brave and historically grounded addition to the growing body of works examining history through the consciousness of the enslaved.”