Shortlist year: 2015

Shortlist category: Fiction

Published by: Allen & Unwin

Summer 1874, and Launceston teeters on the brink of anarchy. After abandoning his wife and child many years ago, the Black War veteran Thomas Toosey must return to the city to search for his son.

He travels through the island's northern districts during a time of impossible hardship—hardship that has left its mark on him too. Arriving in Launceston, Toosey discovers a town in chaos.

Human nature is revealed in all its horror and beauty as Thomas Toosey struggles with the good and the vile in himself and learns what he holds important.

About the author

Rohan Wilson

Rohan Wilson holds degrees and diplomas from the universities of Tasmania, Southern Queensland and Melbourne.

His first book, The Roving Party, won the 2011 The Australian Vogel's Literary Award as well as the Margaret Scott Prize, Tasmanian Literary Awards in 2013, the NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2012, and was shortlisted for the 2011 Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction, Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, the 2012 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature Fiction Award, and the 2012 Indie Awards for debut fiction.

Rohan was chosen as one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists in 2012.

Judges’ comments

To Name Those Lostcontinues Rohan Wilson’s exploration of Tasmania's dark colonial past, following on from his Vogel award-winning first novel The Roving Party.

Thomas Toosey, who featured as a boy in John Batman's hunting party in the earlier book, returns here as the grizzled veteran of Tasmania’s Black War. Now nearing sixty years of age, and a fugitive from justice, Toosey goes in search of his twelve-year old son William, left abandoned after the sudden death of his wife.

Toosey's journey to Launceston sets him on a collision course with Irishman Fitheal Flynn, from whom he has earlier stolen two hundred pounds. Set against the violent chaos of the anti-railway riots in Launceston in 1874, the novel records Tasmania's emergent society painfully born out of its brutal convict past.

Written in a bold and visceral language, Wilson's book concerns itself with the twin themes of retribution and redemption. As Toosey and Flynn, the fathers, lose themselves to vengeance, it falls to the children to seek forgiveness and forge new beginnings.