Thu, 10 Oct | Upstairs at Better Read Than Dead

Holden Sheppard and Nigel Featherstone In-Conversation

Holden Sheppard's 'Invisible Boys' is a raw YA novel that explores the complexities & trauma of rural gay identity. Nigel Featherstone's 'Bodies of Men' is a beautifully evocative tale of two men whose lives come together in the tragedy of war. Together, Holden & Nigel discuss their remarkable books
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Holden Sheppard and Nigel Featherstone In-Conversation

Time & Location

10 Oct 2019, 6:30 pm
Upstairs at Better Read Than Dead, 265 King Street, Newtown NSW, Australia

About The Event

Holden Sheppard's nuanced & authentic Invisible Boys is a raw, confronting YA novel that explores the complexities and trauma of rural gay identity with painful honesty, devastating consequences and, ultimately, hope.

Set in the shifting sands of Egypt during WWII, Nigel Featherstone's Bodies of Men is a beautifully evocative tale of two men whose lives are brought together by tragedy. A tender love story that will appeal to lovers of Sebastian Barry's remarkable Days Without End, it also challenges our definitions of bravery and masculinity within the traumatic theatre of war that echoes Kevin Powers' powerhouse The Yellow Birds.

Holden and Nigel join together to discuss their remarkable books.

About Invisible Boys

On the surface, nerd Zeke, punk Charlie and footy wannabe Hammer look like they have nothing in common. But scratch that surface and you’d find three boys in the throes of coming to terms with their homosexuality in a town where it is invisible.

Invisible Boys is a raw, confronting YA novel that explores the complexities and trauma of rural gay identity with painful honesty, devastating consequences and, ultimately, hope.

About Bodies of Men

There is nothing more important than love and refuge.

Egypt, 1941. Only hours after disembarking in Alexandria, William Marsh, an Australian lieutenant at twenty-one, is face down in the sand, caught in a stoush with the Italian enemy. He is saved by James Kelly, a childhood friend from Sydney and the last person he expected to see. But where William escapes unharmed, not all are so fortunate.

William is sent to supervise an army depot in the Western Desert, with a private directive to find an AWOL soldier: James Kelly. When the two are reunited, James is recovering from an accident, hidden away in the home of an unusual family - a family with secrets. Together they will risk it all to find answers.

Soon William and James are thrust headlong into territory more dangerous than either could have imagined.

Praise For Invisible Boys

‘... has tremendous energy and authenticity, as it explores what it is like to grow up gay in an insular regional community. Invisible Boys is a valuable contribution to the growing voices of younger LGBTIQA+ people.’ - City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award judges’ report.

'Sheppard pulls no punches in this story, challenging expectations and taking the reader on a dark journey through each boy's life, with only a sliver of light at the end providing hope for a brighter future. This book feels somewhat unmoored from time, with a raw edginess ... which brings to mind books like Puberty Blues and the work of Tim Winton.' Junior Books + Publishing.

Praise For Bodies of Men

'a beautiful, tender, captivating story' - Joanna Nell, author of The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

'It is a tender, liberating love story, but, as Featherstone originally intended, a provoking one about our definitions of masculinity, bravery and courage.' - Canberra Times

About Holden Sheppard

Holden Sheppard is a YA author originally from Geraldton, Western Australia. After graduating from ECU’s writing program, he won a prestigious ArtStart grant from the Australia Council for the Arts in 2015.

Invisible Boys won the 2017 Ray Koppe Residency Award, resulting in a writing residency at Varuna, the Writers’ House, in early 2018, and was also Highly Commended in the ASA Emerging Writers’ Mentorship Prize 2018.

Holden's short fiction and journalism has been published in indigo, Page Seventeen, Huffington Post, ABC, DNA Magazine and Faster Louder. His novella Poster Boys was selected for The Novella Project VI and was published in Griffith Review 62: All Being Equal.

About Nigel Featherstone

Nigel Featherstone is an Australian writer who has been published widely. His works include the story collection Joy (2000), his debut novel Remnants (2005), and The Beach Volcano (2014), which is the third in a series of novellas. He wrote the libretto for The Weight of Light, a contemporary song cycle that had its world premiere in 2018. He has held residencies at Varuna (Blue Mountains), Bundanon (Shoalhaven River), and UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

He lives on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales.

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