Winning Year: 1971
Author: Ivan Southall
Title: Josh

Original Publisher: Angus & Robertson
Current Publisher:
Out of print

Josh Plowman is a highly strung city boy who writes poetry. He travels 100 miles from Melbourne to visit his Aunt Clara at Ryan Creek in the country. The Ryan Creek kids have different values and can't see why anyone should be squeamish about trapping a rabbit. They resent the newcomer to the point of physically assaulting him. Josh's stay at Ryan Creek belongs to any time and place where people from different worlds confront one another.

Adopt This Book

Be yourself if you dare


Ivan Southall was born in 1921 in Melbourne, Victoria and grew up in Surrey Hills. He attended Box Hill Grammar School until the age of fourteen, when his father died. He was then sent to work washing bottles and later obtained a position as a copy boy at the Melbourne Herald.

Though his main ambition was to become a journalist, the Herald apprenticed him to process engraving. In his spare time he wrote fiction. He completed four books before he was twenty, three of which were published after the war.
While living in England he became a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force and captained a Sutherland flying boat. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for action in which a U-boat was destroyed. In 1945 he married Joy Blackburn. They spent two years in London and then lived on a farm in the Dandenong Ranges in Australia until their separation in 1974. They divorced in 1976. Southall married Susan Westerland Stanton in 1976.


miss tree


Some things are private, like Josh's poems. Even his mum wouldn't read them and he's close to her. This book is about overcoming difficulties and staying true to yourself. It's tense and raw with a message for today and an unexpected ending.

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