Shortlist year: 
2020
Shortlist category: 
Non-fiction
Published by: 
Text Publishing

About the book

'The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat: A Rodent History of Australia' by Tim Bonyhady

The fascinating story of a much-maligned and little-understood native Australian rodent. The long-haired rat breeds and spreads prodigiously after big rains. Its irruptions were plagues to European colonists, who feared and loathed all rats, but times of feasting for Aboriginal people.

Tim Bonyhady explores the place of the long-haired rat in Aboriginal culture. He recounts how settler Australians responded to it, learned about it and, occasionally, came to recognise the wonder of it. And he reconstructs its changing, shrinking landscape—once filled with bilbies, letter-winged kites and inland taipans, but now increasingly the domain of feral cats.