Emerging Australian author Jannali Jones has penned a stunning debut Young Adult novel, My Father’s Shadow, due for release on 1 August. It is an edgy thriller that promises to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Based on the manuscript for the book, Jones won the black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship in 2015; run by the State Library of Queensland promoting works of Indigenous writers in partnership with Magabala Books, who edited and published Jones’ debut.

My Father’s Shadow is about 17-year-old woman, Kaya. In the middle of the night, Kaya is forced by her mother to pack immediately and go to their holiday home in the Blue Mountains. Her father has been involved in a court case to give evidence against some dangerous criminals and Kaya is told he is “not coming back”.  Months later, they are still in hiding and the mysteries are multiplying. Kaya is also recovering from memory loss caused by PTSD after a chilling encounter and is seeing a psychologist to recall the evidence she might have to give in a forthcoming trial.

Jones’ main protagonist in My Father’s Shadow is a young Aboriginal woman. As a Krowathunkoolong woman of the Gunai nation, Jones is passionate about her contribution to Indigenous literature in Australia. “The stories Indigenous authors tell are so important. It increases visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, of our heritage, culture and history, and our dreams and hopes for the future. By sharing our stories, we are helping to build understanding with non-Indigenous people, to challenge stereotypes about who Indigenous people are and what our everyday lives look like,” she said.

Jones started writing at the age of seven. She now holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney. Jones has had short stories and poetry published in literary magazines and has already won a slew of awards and scholarships, including a Magabala Australian Indigenous Creator Scholarship for her next book in progress.

Readers also enjoyed this story about author Mary Garden.