Trent Dalton , journalist writer with The Australian newspaper and Weekend Magazine , has written his debut novel.
Trent Dalton , journalist writer with The Australian newspaper and Weekend Magazine , has written his debut novel. Lyndon Mechielsen

Novel captures violent working class in suburban fringe

AWARD-Winning author Trent Dalton will be at Springfield to promote his debut novel this month.

The event is being hosted by Book Face Orion and they are thrilled to have Mr Dalton in store.

Boy Swallows Universe is a captivating coming-of-age story set in Brisbane's violent working-class suburban fringe, inspired by the real-life events of journalist Trent Dalton's complicated youth.

Dalton's debut novel tells the story of 13-year-old Eli Bell who finds comfort in his extraordinary imagination as a means of escaping from his complicated life with a mute brother, a mother in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter.

Surrounded by chaos and with very little moral guidance from the adults around him, Eli sets out on an ambitious suburban odyssey that sees him break into Boggo Road Gaol to rescue his mum, meet the father he doesn't remember, come face-to-face with the criminals who tore his world apart, and fall in love with the girl of his dreams.

At its core, Boy Swallows Universe is a story of brotherhood and the spark of young love; it's also the unlikely true story of the formative friendship Dalton shared with Arthur 'Slim' Halliday, the greatest escape artist ever confined to Brisbane's Boggo Road Gaol.

A surprising, funny and tender novel that captures both the light and shade of Australian suburbia and reminds us that, with a little imagination, even lost souls can change their fate.

You can join the ABC's Scott Stephens in conversation with Mr Dalton about his debut novel Boy Swallows Universe on July 17. 

Mr Dalton has won a Walkley, been a four-time winner of the national News Awards Feature Journalist of the Year Award, and was named Queensland Journalist of the Year at the 2011 Clarion Awards for excellence in Queensland media.

His writing includes several short and feature-length film screenplays and his journalism has twice been nominated for a United Nations of Australia Media Peace Award.

He was nominated for a 2010 AFI Best Short Fiction screenplay award for his latest film, Glenn Owen Dodds, starring David Wenham.

And his debut feature film screenplay, In the Silence, is currently in production.

He also hosted the ABC Conversations show while Richard Fidler was on a Churchill Fellowship.

What: Trent Dalton in conversation with ABC's Scott Stephens

When: Tuesday, July 17 from 6.30pm

Where: BOOK FACE Orion, 1 Main Street, Orion Springfield Central (opp Kathmandu)

Cost: $7 - bookings through Eventbrite