Rosalie Ham farms a new book title


BEECHWORTH-raised poet Eddie Paterson – whose latest poetry collection redacted has just been published by Whitmore Press – sat with The Dressmaker author Rosalie Ham on a comfortable leather sofa in George Kerferd Hotel on Saturday evening and put to her a direct question:

“A new novel?” he asked. It will be her fourth.

“Has it a title? Or is it a secret?”

Ms Ham smiled.

“Well, I call it Year of the Farmer and my agent said: ‘You can’t have the word ‘farmer’ in the title’,” she said.

“With The Dressmaker they presented me with a dressmaker’s stand and a pair of scissors (as a book cover concept). I said you’ve just alienated all the blokes and anyone who can’t sew – we can’t have that.

“And so they’re worried if I put in ‘farming’ people will just make all these assumptions about how its going to be and what its going to say.

“But I want urban people to read it, I want people from urban areas to read it and see that it’s not what they think it is and that irrigation water is a complicated and complex thing and that farmers are businessmen and that people in small country towns aren’t all the same, as we can see here tonight.”

As with The Dressmaker and Summer at Mount Hope, readers will know that Ms Ham’s characters are far from straightforward. Look out.


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