News

Alstonville writer wins international grant with debut book

PRIZE WRITER: Jan Pearson with her new murder mystery book Red Bird Summer.
PRIZE WRITER: Jan Pearson with her new murder mystery book Red Bird Summer. Doug Eaton

ALSTONVILLE author Jan Pearson has taken out a prestigious international award for her first book Red Bird Summer.

The manuscript trumped hundreds of other entries to win the International Proverse Literary Prize's Supplementary Publishing Grant offered by publisher Proverse Hong Kong.

Ms Pearson drew largely on her own experiences growing up in Hong Kong to write the mystery thriller, which takes place in a rundown part of the city during the 1970s.

The plot revolves around a very large theft of heroine from the ladies bathroom of the Hong Kong Narcotics Bureau - a place Ms Pearson worked as personal secretary to the chief inspector of police.

"It was in a very run down part of Hong Kong and they had nowhere to store confiscated drug halls and so the ladies toilet in this particular office block was lined like house bricks from knee high to ceiling with blocks of pure 999 heroine," she said.

The book also features the old walled city of Kowloon, a place Ms Pearson visited with her mother who was a voluntary nurse for Red Cross helping to immunise children against cholera, typhoid and smallpox.

Ms Pearson said the city, which no longer exists, was an ancient 12th century fort with no legal jurisdiction.

Drugs, crime, prostitution and poverty were rampant among the city's 33,000 residents crammed into the run-down high rise buildings spanning no more than a few blocks.

"I used to go in there with my mum so I knew this place and I'm able to write about this place," Ms Pearson said.

The book also features a Hong Kong leprosarium, which draws on Ms Pearson's experiences visiting a leprosy colony with her mother.

Ms Pearson said writing was something she had wanted to pursue for years.

"I think I did what a lot of writers do," she said.

"I just sat and stared at a blank sheet of paper or a blank computer screen and did my head in, in the process, not to mention my self-esteem."

"The liberating moment for me, and I'd recommend to anyone who's seriously thinking about writing, take some sort of course."

Red Bird Summer is available at the ABC Shop in Ballina. Ms Pearson's second book, Tiger Autumn, is due out in November.

Topics:  authors literature writing



Slaughterhouse nightmare: father's throat slashed with saw

Casino man Adam Paget needed critical transport to hospital by the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter after cutting his throat with a butcher's saw.

'They didn't think he'd be able to talk, but he can, he just croaks'

CWA treats sell like hot cakes

Baked goods made by members across the Northern Rivers sold like hot cakes at the NSW Country omen's Association annual market at Kingscliff.

Over $2000 was raised by the CWA at their annual sale

Police send warning after yet another mountain rescue

Police in operation Unite. Police hat.
Photo: Rob Wright / The Coffs Coast Advocate

Meanwhile, a surfer had his board stolen after leaving it in bushes.

Local Partners

Missing swimmer: Police say no missing persons reported

TWEED/Byron Local Area Command Police are continuing to work with NSW Surf Life Saving after a swimmer was seen in distress yesterday afternoon.


Celebrate our native Aussies on January 26

Davidsons plums are one of the foods native to our region. Made into a dipping sauce or marinade, they're perfect for an Australia Day barbecue. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Spice up your Australia Day celebration with some local bush tucker

What's fresh at your local farmers' market

Chillies should be available at your local farmers' market. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Chillies, figs, finger limes, eggplants are ripe for the eating

'More sick people will be jailed': Confusion over medical cannabis

There is ongoing confusion about the legalities surrounding medical cannabis.

Is it legal? Where can you get it? What are your rights?

Jennifer Aniston wants to return to TV

Jennifer Aniston is desperate to make a return to TV

Madonna hopes for election unity

Madonna hopes Donald Trump's election will "bring people together"

JK Rowling rules out Cursed Child trilogy

JK Rowling has ruled out a 'Cursed Child' movie trilogy

Buckley's chance in psychological thriller

James McAvoy and Betty Buckley in a scene from the movie Split.

Broadway veteran back on big screen with James McAvoy

Daniel MacPherson: acting’s a bit like channel surfing

Australian actor Daniel MacPherson in a scene from the American TV series APB.

THE Aussie export talks about making his mark in the US.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Lisa Marie Woodham will be giving readings in Gladstone until Saturday January 21.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Agents desperate for stock as homebuyers circle region

Coorabell houses had a whopping median sale price of $1.4 million.

Lower price ranges stand out as Coffs property best sellers

7 quirky Airbnb homes on the Northern Rivers

Broken Head Bodhi Treehouse

Stay in a shipping container or treehouse for your next holiday

Controversial Iron Gates development renamed

Raine and Horne

Peaceful, pristine and perfect is the new motto for Iron Gates

'That’s the nature of commercial reality': Lismore council

GAME CHANGER: The $13 million proposal by Quest proposal is for a three-storey complex featuring 41 serviced apartments, 53 on-site carparks, 24-hour on-site management, a gymnasium and modern guest facilities.

"It's a shame the development is no longer on the table"

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!