Debut novel’s talent for balancing stories

AUTHOR: Libby Angel began working on The Trapeze Act 12 years ago with no intentions of getting it published. Picture: LISA GUZZARDI

AUTHOR: Libby Angel began working on The Trapeze Act 12 years ago with no intentions of getting it published. Picture: LISA GUZZARDI

Castlemaine writer and poet Libby Angel will release her debut novel in January.

Angel began writing her work – The Trapeze Act – 12 years ago with no plans to get it published.

“It was part of a creative writing honours project at university. I put it aside for quite a while, so it has I guess had big gestation period,” she said.

“I never expected it to be published. It was a little strange personal experiment. It was only when I got it out and someone asked to read it. It went from there.

“This was just to teach myself how to write a longer work but people showed interest.” 

One of Angel’s friends who had a contact at a publisher began the ball rolling but before that a previous version of Angel’s work was shortlisted for the Premier’s Award in South Australia and won the Penguin Prize.

”They (Penguin) were sort of interested in publishing it but wanted to turn it into something else,” Angel said.

“It started as fragments and was always in different stages of development. It was complete when won the awards.

“Text Publishing encouraged me to work on it a bit more and streamline it. But until it is published, it isn’t finished.”

The Trapeze Act follows a number of different stories that involve a former European trapeze artist in 1960s Adelaide, a 19th century ivory expedition and a search for acceptance.

“One of the original starting points was a weird story about an ancestor of mine who came to Australia to hunt elephants,” Angel said.

“I never checked the veracity of that because liked it, so I went with that. I had also read Clara Morrison by Catherine Helen Spence and that was the beginning of my interest in South Australian 19th century history.

“So there is a highly exaggerated family history there and over 12 years little bits have continued to come into that.”

Having lived in Adelaide for years, Angel moved to Melbourne and lived overseas before settling in Castlemaine.

“I decided I needed somewhere and had never found somewhere to live. I wanted something nice and quiet to finish work,” she said.

“When I got off the train in Castlemaine I loved it and didn’t go to Melbourne for about two years.

“I liked the sound of the steam train that was there. It sounds weird but it reminded me of a dream and it felt familiar.

“Both Castlemaine and Bendigo are great regions and I quickly became part of the community.”

Libby Angel’s debut novel The Trapeze Act will be released on January 3. To pre-order it visit

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide