Melbourne-based writer Emily Bitto has a Masters degree and a PhD in creative writing, both from the University of Melbourne, where she has also worked as a sessional teacher in the creative-writing program. Her writing has appeared in a number of Australian publications, including Meanjin, Heat, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Australian Literary Review.
The Strays2014single work novel historical fiction
'On her first day of school, Lily Struthers meets Eva, one of the daughters of the infamous avant-garde artist Evan Trentham. He and his wife are attempting to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930s Australia by inviting other like-minded artists to live and work with them at their family home. As Lily’s friendship with Eva grows, she becomes infatuated with this artist colony, longing to truly belong to this makeshift family.
'Looking back on those years later in life, Lily realises that this utopian circle involved the same themes as Evan Trentham’s art: Faustian bargains and terrible recompense; spectacular fortunes and falls from grace. Yet it was not Evan, nor the other artists he gathered around him, but his own daughters, who paid the debt that was owing.
'The Strays is an engrossing story of ambition, sacrifice and compromised loyalties from an exciting new talent.'