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Sonya Hartnett is widely regarded as one of Australia's outstanding literary novelists in the young adult genre, with several of her novels published in the 'cross-over' market for both adult and young adult imprints. Her first novel, Trouble All the Way, (1984) was published when she was a teenager and she continues to publish generally a novel a year. Her books have been published in Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland and Denmark, as well as in various English-language editions. Hartnett received a Bachelor of Arts (Media Studies) from RMIT Melboune in 1991. She lives in Melbourne with her dog Shilo and cats, Marcus and Morgan.
Hallmarks of Harnett's work are their cadence and smooth writing style, intense dramatic conflict, memorable characterisation, and frequent less-than-happy endings. Hartnett states that she prefers to write from a male perspective and finds music an inspiration for her writing.One of Hartnett's novels, Wilful Blue, (1994) was produced as a play and publicly performed at the Melbourne Victorian Arts Centre. The novel for which Hartnett has achieved the most critical (and controversial) acclaim was Sleeping Dogs, an Honour Book, Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award: Older Readers in 1996, as well as winner of the 1996 Victorian Premier's Literary Award Sheaffer Pen Prize and the 1996 Miles Franklin Inaugural Kathleen Mitchell Award. A book involving incest between brother and sister and often critiqued as 'without hope', Sleeping Dogs generated enormous discussion both within Australia and overseas.
Hartnett points to the writing of young adult novelist Robert Cormier as highly influential on her style. Cormier has expressed great admiration for Harnett's work. Hartnett is a frequent commentator on her own work, in particular answering her critics who decry 'bleak endings' and novels seemingly aimed at an adult, rather than a young adult audience.
yGolden BoysMelbourne:Penguin,201471908502014single work novel young adult
'Sonya Hartnett's third novel for adults is perfectly formed and utterly compelling, an unflinching and disquieting work from one of Australia's finest writers.
'Colt Jenson and his younger brother Bastian live in a world of shiny, new things – skateboards, slot cars, train sets and even the latest BMX. Their affluent father, Rex, has made sure that they'll be the envy of the new, working-class suburb they've moved to. But underneath the surface of the perfect family, is there something unsettling about the Jensons? To the local kids, Rex becomes a kind of hero, but Colt senses there's something in his father that could destroy their fragile new lives.' (Publication summary)
yThe Children of the KingCamberwell:Penguin,2012Z18361712012single work children's fiction children's 'Three children have been sent to live in the countryside, safe from the war in London. When they find two boys hiding in a castle, the past and future come together to make an extraordinary adventure.
A hauntingly beautiful story from one of Australia's most acclaimed writers for adults and children.' (Publisher's blurb)
yCome Down, Cat!Camberwell:Penguin,2011Z18017912011single work picture book children's
'The day is ending, night is falling, and Nicholas' cat won't come down. High on the roof she licks her paws while Nicholas worries about her up there all alone. How does he coax her into the safe, warm house? She doesn't even want to come down from the roof... or does she?' (From the publisher's website.)