Lady bushranger tale brings author to New England libraries

THE latest woman author to join the ranks of rural-romance and outback-fiction writers who have found a whole new reading market in Australia will be in three northern libraries today – in person.

Courtney Collins, whose debut book The Burial has transformed a colonial bushranging woman rustler into a new literary heroine, will be in Uralla, Quirindi and Tamworth today as part of her reading tour.

Raised in the Widden Valley near Scone, Collins resurrected the true story of local bushranger Jessie Hickman and turned it into a tale of love, adventure and the Australian landscape.

But it is a book generously described by critics as lyrical and very different to the norm, with a haunting originality.

The book is set in the Hickman era of 1921.

Bushranger, rustler and circus rider Jessie was also a convict, and Collins adapted the story for her story by trawling through police gazettes, state records and local lore.

She told her publishers that she came across the story while giving a writing workshop in the heart of Hunter Valley horse country.

Collins is at Uralla library from 10am today, Quirindi library at 3pm and does the star talking turn at Tamworth City Library at 6pm.

Organisers hope for solid crowds of book lovers for the author talks.

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