Boy Swallows Universe (TPB) - Indie Book & Debut Fiction Winner 2019
Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious criminal for a babysitter. It's not as if Eli's life isn't complicated enough already. He's just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way - not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary drug dealer.
But Eli's life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He's about to fall in love. And he has to break into prison on Christmas Day, to save his mum.
A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year.
'Marvelously plot-rich ... filled with beautifully lyric prose ... the characterization, too, is universally memorable, especially that of Eli and August. At one point Eli wonders if he is good. The answer is "yes," every bit as good as this exceptional novel.' Booklist
'Dalton's splashy, stellar debut makes the typical coming-of-age novel look bland by comparison ... This is an outstanding debut.' Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
'Trent Dalton is the most extraordinary writer - a rare talent. A major new voice on the Australian literary scene has arrived.' Nikki Gemmell
'An astonishing achievement. Dalton is a breath of fresh air - raw, honest, funny, moving, he has created a novel of the most surprising and addictive nature. Unputdownable.' David Wenham
'I couldn't stop reading from the moment I started, and I still can barely speak for the beauty of it. Trent Dalton has done something very special here, writing with grace, from his own broken heart.' Caroline Overington
'Enthralling - a moving account of sibling solidarity and the dogged pursuit of love.' Geoffrey Robertson QC
'Stunning. My favourite novel for decades. Left me devastated but looking to the heavens.' Tim Rogers
'Boy Swallows Universe is a wonderful surprise: sharp as a drawer full of knives in terms of subject matter; unrepentantly joyous in its child's-eye view of the world; the best literary debut in a month of Sundays.' The Australian
Trent Dalton writes for the award-winning The Weekend Australian Magazine. A former assistant editor of The Courier-Mail, he has won a Walkley, been a four-time winner of the national News Awards Feature Journalist of the Year Award, and was named Queensland Journalist of the Year at the 2011 Clarion Awards for excellence in Queensland media. His writing includes several short and feature-length film screenplays. His latest feature film screenplay,Home, is a love story inspired by his non-fiction collection Detours: Stories from the Street (2011), the culmination of three months immersed in Brisbane's homeless community, the proceeds of which went back to the 20 people featured within its pages. His journalism has twice been nominated for a United Nations of Australia Media Peace Award. His writing includes several short film screenplays. He was nominated for a 2010 AFI Best Short Fiction screenplay award for his latest film, Glenn Owen Dodds, starring David Wenham. The film won the prestigious International Prix Canal award at the world's largest short film festival, The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France. Dalton's debut feature film screenplay, In the Silence, is currently in production. Trent also hosted the ABC Conversations show while Richard Fidler was on a Churchill Fellowship.