HAVE YOU OVERLOOKED – Victor Kelleher?

Victor Kelleher (born 1939) is a often classified as an Australian author but was in fact born in London and moved to Africa with his parents, at fifteen. He spent the next twenty years in Africa, before moving to New Zealand. Kelleher received a teaching degree in Africa and has taught in Africa, New Zealand and Australia. While in New Zealand, he began writing part-time, but moved on to Australia in 1976, and taught at a NSW University before moving to Sydney to write full-time. Since the majority of his writing was done in Australia is may be that this is why they classify him as ‘an Australian writer’ although at least one of his books – Taronga – was set in NZ He’s had four Ditmar nominations and one win, and won the Australian Childrens Book Award.

His work falls mainly into the older children/YA SF/F category by library classification but I have found when reading his work that it reads very well on an adult level as well (and the one I have is well up to word count with some 70,000+.) The book of Kelleher’s that has been retained for many years now in my permanent library is The Hunting of Shadroth. This is typical of the books of the period (1981) for older children/YA in that it falls into the pre-history sub-genre as did many others for this age group – where they didn’t fall into the retelling/rewriting of classic legends.

Tal and his clan have lived so long as their memories run on the Slopes that overlook the Greenlands below. Until a strange and dangerous evil threatens them and if they are not to fall beneath its power Tal has to travel down to the Greenlands to find assistance before he and his clan are destroyed. How Tal finds aid for his people and more then he expected for himself makes a neat package. I loved the Feln, Tal, and the background and while many reviews I’ve seen on the book seem to think that it’s best suited to boys around 10-12, I’d disagree. This old lady still enjoys it. Kelleher is a darn good writer and if you like this sub-genre (and cats) take a look at The Hunting of Shadroth at least.

Novels. a partial list.

Forbidden Paths Of Thual (1979)

Voices from the River (1979)

The Hunting Of Shadroth (1981)

Master Of The Grove (1982)

Papio (1984)

The Green Piper (1984)

The Beast Of Heaven (1984)

Taronga (1986)

The Makers (1987)

Baily’s Bones (1988)

Ern’s Story (1988)

The Red King (1989)

Wintering (1990)

Brother Night (1990)

To The Dark Tower (1992)

Micky Darlin’ (1992)

Red Heart (1996)

Storyman (1996)

Slow Burn (1997)

Into The Dark (1999)

Born of the Sea (2003)

Dogboy (2006)


I have omited the work for younger children from this list, but the author is on Wiki should you want to look up his series and other books.

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