University Of Tasmania
Wood UID59648.pdf (147.68 kB)
Download file

Writing Tasmania's Different Soul

Download (147.68 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 00:55 authored by Danielle WoodDanielle Wood
The narrator of Christopher Koch's 1958 novel The Boys in the Island claims for Tasmania “a different soul”, distinct from that of the Australian mainland to the north, in the same breath in which he claims for the island “a different weather”. Observations of the distinctiveness of island geography and weather – and of the quality of the light – are recurrent in narratives set not only in Tasmania, but also on those islands to which Tasmania itself acts as a ‘mainland’. This paper surveys a range of texts, including Koch’s The Boys in the Island, Joanna Murray-Smith’s Truce, and my own The Alphabet of Light and Dark, in which a Tasmanian island functions both as a setting for the protagonist's idealized childhood and as a metaphor for the protagonist’s “true self”. It explores the representation of islands in these texts, examining how a specific tradition of writing about Tasmania intersects with a broader tradition of writing about islands.


Publication title

Island Studies Journal






School of Humanities


University of Prince Edward Island, Institute of Island Studies

Place of publication


Rights statement

Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution: Non-Commercial, No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives