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“Hi, I’m Alison Stewart. I’m reading from my YA book, Days Like This, published by Penguin Australia.
“Lily stepped towards the front door. No-one used it anymore. She put the palms of her hands against it. Once upon a time, they had used this front door. It was bizarre to think that once, you could smell the beginning and end of the seasons. Now, change never came. The air inside was constantly cool and the humidity controlled. Despite the heat outside, the door’s lock was cold. Lily tightened her grip on it and turned it slightly. It moved easily as if people turned it regularly, and life was a continuous stream from this world to the next.
With a faint crackle, the door opened. Lily released the lock and waited. Nothing happened but then she was holding her left arm behind her back and well away from the opening. The outside air descended on her, incredibly hot and alive. Behind her was the silence of the house with the air hanging between sterile walls. From the open door there was only the front fence and its high gate but at least Lily’s parents did not control this air. Lily could not stand in the doorway forever. She still held her left arm behind her and it was beginning to ache. She was afraid that she would disappear like Daniel and she was afraid of her parents, especially her father but as she often reminded herself, what could he possibly do to her that would render her life more unbearable than it already was. She moved her arm cautiously towards the open door. Heat stroked her skin and she wriggled her fingers. With a deep breath, she stepped outside and stared into the sky. A deafening screaming filled the courtyard. Lily covered her ears but then she had to snatch her hands away because the noise was coming from her bracelet. She staggered back but it followed her and now pain joined the noise. Lily had expected the siren but not this. The bracelet was actually tightening around her wrist. She inserted a finger under the plastic to try to stop it from tightening but it bit into the soft pad of her index finger and she had to yank her finger away. How could she stop it cutting off her hand! Already her fingers tingled and her hand was filling with blood. The pain grew. Lily stumbled backwards inside and slammed the door, wrenching at her wrist, tearing at the skin with her nails, trying anything to rip off the pain but the bracelet kept tightening. Lily fell to her knees. Her father stood at the foot of the stairs, watching her.”
ABOUT ALISON STEWART:
Alison Stewart is a Sydney writer and journalist. She’s written nine novels for adults and young adults. Four have been translated in Europe and Asia. Her latest YA novel, Days Like This (Penguin Australia) was a finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Alison’s narrative non-fiction manuscript, Cold Stone Soup was a runner-up in the 2010 Penguin Varuna Scholarship. Alison’s first novel, Born into the Country was shortlisted for a South African young writers’ award and her young adult book, The Wishing Moon was shortlisted for the 1995 Australian Multicultural Children’s Award and was a Children’s Book Council Notable Book.
“I entered my narrative non-fiction ms, Cold Stone Soup into the 2010 Penguin Varuna Scholarship and it was a runner up. I’m currently working with Helen Barnes-Bulley who is helping me edit it (she’s brilliant!). I deeply appreciate Varuna’s supportive approach to writers. Writing is a solitary pursuit and support like this is invaluable.” Alison Stewart
Born Into the Country (Justified Press, 1988, South Africa)
Bitterbloom (William Heinemann Australia, 1991)
Ribs – Hair Raising anthology (Omnibus Books 1992 Australia)
Ribs audiocassette with other stories by Ruth Park, Victor Kelleher and Gary Crew (ABC Publications, 1992 Australia)
Hair Raising (Scholastic Inc, 1995, USA)
Pilchards in Tomato Sauce, Illus. Craig Smith (Random House, 1995, Australia)
The Wishing Moon (Random House, 1995, Australia)
The Wishing Moon “La Maledizione Di Jameson Place” (Arnoldo Mondatori Editore S.p.A., 1997, Italy)
The Year The Star Fell (Hodder Headline, 1997, Australia)
The Year The Star Fell “Valse Vriendskaap” (De Geillustreerde Pers, 2000, Holland)
Sweetwater Night (Hodder Signature, 1998, Australia/NZ)
Sweetwater Night (CDR, 2000, Denmark)
Pineapple Ravioli Illus. Craig Smith (Hodder Headline, 1999, Australia)
The Memory Shell (Hodder Signature, 2000, Australia/NZ)
The Memory Shell (Kurusapa Business Org, 2003, Thailand)
Hair Raising CD (ABC Books & Video, 2006, Australia)
Days Like This (Penguin Australia, 2011)
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