Jennifer’s parents migrated to Tasmania from England in the olden days when she was five. From them, and from Moonah Primary School in the 1950s and Hobart High in the 1960s, she received an education she has always been grateful for. After travelling in the 70s, she gained a PhD and taught in the English Department at UTAS while writing academic articles and co-authoring a study of the Anglo-Irish novelist, J.G. Farrell (Troubled Pleasures: Dublin, 1995). Her first novel, Wild Island, was published by Allen and Unwin in August 2016.
Wild Island tells the story of Van Diemen’s Land’s extraordinary society of settlers, convicts and their keepers during six turbulent years. As Sir John Franklin, the ‘Arctic Lion’, and his wife Jane try to ‘civilise’ the island, clashes erupt. While staying close to the little-known factual archive, the novel twines into it a fictional thread with links to Jane Eyre. This sets the great masculine narrative of exploration and empire beside the iconic female love story, raising questions about colonisation and the recording of history.
‘Rarely have I read historical fiction as convincing and authentic as this. It’s as close to time travel as you can get.’ – Rohan Wilson, The Australian