Ian Townsend is a journalist who worked for many year with ABC Radio National. He has won four national Eureka Prizes for science and medical journalism, and an Australian Human Rights Award for journalism. His first novel, Affection, based on the 1900 plague outbreak, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book, the Colin Roderick Award, the Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction, the National Year of Reading, and was long-listed for the Dublin IMPAC award. His second novel, The Devil's Eye, was long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award. He lives in Brisbane with his wife, Kirsten MacGregor, and their three daughters.
Canberra Writers Festival events
Gripping War Yarns with Robert Macklin
Friday 25th August 2017, 4:00pm. Members Dining Room 2, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.
Tickets: Adult $24.00; Concession $21.95; Junior $11.75
About the book
The little known and intriguing WWII story of an eleven-year-old Australian schoolboy who was shot by the Japanese in Rabaul in 1942 as a suspected spy - a compelling story of spies, volcanoes, history and war.
In May 1942, in the town of Rabaul in the Australian territory of New Guinea, five Australian civilians were taken by Japanese soldiers to a pit at the base of a volcano and executed as spies.
A mother, her brother, her husband and her friend. And her 11-year-old son. Who were these people and what had led them to this terrible end, under the shadow of a volcano? Acclaimed 4th Estate author and award-winning science journalist Ian Townsend has uncovered a fascinating story that sheds new light on a largely forgotten but desperate battle fought on Australian territory. The Australian Government, unable to reinforce its small garrison, abandoned more than 1500 Australian soldiers and civilians as ‘hostages to fortune' in the face of the irresistible Japanese advance. Set against the romantic, dramatic and ultimately tragic backdrop of Rabaul in WWII, this is a wholly intriguing narrative of Australian history, military conflict and volcanology, woven together with the story of one ordinary but doomed Australian family.
Line of Fire is published by Harper Collins Australia.
Buy the book from the festival's bookshop partner Dymocks.
Brisbane author sifted through 75 years of volcanic ash to find the truth about execution of Australian child during World War II, The Courier Mail, February 2017.
Ian Townsend's Line of Fire: The 'spies' who never came back, The Australian, April 2017.