Fremantle Press is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Sharron Booth’s The Silence of Water in 2022. Described by the City of Fremantle Hungerford Award judges as vivid and deeply researched, the historical novel was awarded the 2020 Edith Cowan University School of Arts and Humanities Research Medal, an honour given to the highest achieving student graduating from a research degree, masters or doctoral program.
Booth said her journey with The Silence of Water, which formed the major component of her PhD, took many years. She said, ‘It has been wonderful and extremely humbling to have the work recognised in these past few months – first, with the shortlisting for the Hungerford Award and now with a publishing contract and a research medal. I couldn’t be happier or more grateful.’
The Silence of Water is based on the life of Edwin Salt, who arrived in Fremantle in 1862, having been sentenced to death for the murder of his first wife, Mary Ann Hall, and subsequently transported to Western Australia. The work shines a particular light on the first-generation children born in the Australian colonies and the difference between them and their convict parents.
Booth said, ‘I am so pleased that The Silence of Water will be published by Fremantle Press. Much of the story takes place in and around Fremantle, and it has deep connections to Western Australia’s convict past, so it feels right for this novel to have found its home here, among other Western Australian stories.’
The City of Fremantle Hungerford Award has a proud history of helping authors of outstanding talent at the crucial early stages of their careers. Authors like Gail Jones, Simone Lazaroo, Natasha Lester, Donna Mazza, Alice Nelson, Kim Scott and Brenda Walker have all either won the award or been shortlisted for it. It is given biennially to a full-length manuscript of fiction or narrative non-fiction by a Western Australian author previously unpublished in book form and is sponsored by the City of Fremantle and Fremantle Press.