Josh Kemp

Garreth Hoyle is a true crime writer whose destructive love affair with hallucinogenic drugs has sent him searching for ghosts in the unforgiving mallee desert of Western Australia. Heading north through Kalgoorlie, he attempts to score off old friends from his shearing days on Banjawarn Station. His journey takes an unexpected detour when he discovers an abandoned ten-year-old girl and decides to return her to her estranged father in Leonora, instead of alerting authorities. Together they begin the road trip from hell through the scorched heart of the state’s northern goldfields.

Love, friendship and hope are often found in the strangest places, but forgiveness is never simple, and the past lies buried just beneath the blood red topsoil. The only question is whether Hoyle should uncover it, or run as fast as his legs can take him.

Banjawarn is an unsettling debut from Josh Kemp. Echoing Cormac McCarthy’s haunting border trilogy and narrative vernacular that recalls the sparse lyricism of Randolph Stow and Tim Winton, this is a darkly funny novel that earns its place amongst the stable of Australian gothic literature.

An impressive, propulsive debut laced with dark humour and a menacing undercurrent of violence that builds towards a brutal, vividly rendered conclusion.

- Gemma Nisbet, The West Australian

Kemp writes with a compelling voice, the kind you want to follow into dark places, no matter how gruesome things get.

- Jennifer Mills, Australian Book Review

Important and wholly original. I loved it. Everyone should read it.

- Margaret Hickey, author of Cutters End and Stone Town

Author interview
Winner of the 2022 Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Crime Fiction Novel
Winner of the 2023 WA Premier's Prize for an Emerging Writer
Paperback & ebook
Gothic Fiction

Josh Kemp

Josh Kemp is an author of Australian gothic fiction. Banjawarn was joint winner of the 2021 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and is his debut novel.

UWA Publishing

UWA Publishing (UWAP) shares stories, research and education with the world to encourage thought, inspire action and create and connect with engaged communities. Award-winning fiction, poetry, non-fiction and scholarly works illustrate our strength and diversity in a modern university.

World ex ANZ
Rights sold
World audio
Kate Pickard