The lunar coast

Winner of the Queensland Young Writers Award
Published in Griffith Review 28: Still The Lucky Country

The lunar coast is an award-winning short story about what happens to a small fishing town on the west coast of Australia when the tide goes out and doesn’t come back in again.

This story won the Queensland Young Writers Award and was published in Griffith Review 28: Still the Lucky Country. You may read The lunar coast online here, or read the SLQ YWA judges report here.

Below are some notes on The lunar coast for students of the Faroe Islands (and elsewhere) studying this story for school (hello!) 

Where did you get the inspiration to write The lunar coast? How important is the setting?

I have always been interested in the way people are influenced by the environment. I grew up on an island on the east coast of Australia so seascapes, tides and the ocean have always interested me.

In 2009 I spent three months travelling around the coast of Australia enjoying the variety of landscapes. I was inspired to write The lunar coast when I was in Broome in Western Australia.

Broome has some of the biggest tides in the world and this inspired the idea of considering what might happen to the landscape and the characters who inhabit the coast if the tide-change was permanent.

Below is a picture I took while I was kayaking in Broome. At high tide, all the rocks you can see in the picture disappear under the water. When I returned home, this image was a powerful reminder of the pull and power of tides and I wanted to write a story to capture that power.


You can read about the Broome tides here:

What are the major themes?
– Male friendships / masculinity
– Survival
– The impact of the environment on industry (or, conversely, the impact of industry on nature)
– Climate change

How important is the relationship between Lee and Alex?
In The lunar coast the changing tide reflects the changing relationships of the characters. The friendship between Alex and Lee is the core of the story. With the absence of the tide, these young men have each been forced to change in different ways. Their response to the situation is what drives this story. The final, violent act is a metaphor for the end of their friendship.

What makes a good story? Where do you get your ideas from?
I believe that all good stories come from true life experience. With some extra imagination, you can make a story out of anything. For this story, I took a real experience (witnessing a huge falling tide), and added an idea (what if … the tide doesn’t come back in again) and added some imagination (characters, settings, plot) and then I had everything I needed to write this story.

If you enjoyed The lunar coast:
You might like to read my short story, The River City, or my novella Whale station. You can also contact me by email if you have any questions. Thanks for reading!

See the About page for links and more details.