Ironbark by Jay Carmichael

Jay Carmichael’s novel, shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award, is set in a tiny town in Central Victoria, where the author grew up.

It’s about a young man whose best friend has died, and who must deal, too, with the  conflict and confusion of life as a gay man in rural Australia. As its title reveals, it explores how place can shape personal identity by both offering and restricting potential.

For so many young men, this portrait is devastating and incredibly moving: it asks, what does it really mean to be a man?


‘This is a novel of coming of age and of grief that astonishes us by its wisdom and by its compassion. It's a work of great and simple beauty, so good it made me jealous. And grateful.’