Clayton Hansen balances grace and intelligence in these poems and stories of thwarted dreams and delusions, the many forms of love, small acts of courage and resistance and the magic in the everyday. He traverses the murky complexities of human motivations with humour and a clear-eyed compassion. His work inhabits urban and bush landscapes, the present and the past with equal ease. The stories are assured, intriguing and truthful with great sympathy for his characters and a good ear for voice and the vernacular. His poems are luminous, full of enchantments with the true poets eye for sensual detail. Above all, Hansen is clearly in love with the physical world, from the smallest human touch to the beauty and harshness of the natural and made worlds. His language inhabits these worlds in a way that is energetic and refreshing, mindful of both pain and delight.
A stunningly original collection of short fiction and poetry. Hansens prose is itself poetic masterly in metaphor, inspired in imagery and devoid of wordiness. Whether tenderly observing a rainforest interlude, evoking the harsh hopelessness of the trackless inland, or quirkily relating the rise and fall of a cladding salesman, it irresistibly draws the reader into the experience.
Peter Richardson, Sunshine Coast Daily
Hansen plays the ventriloquist himself, whose children are the poems and stories of this collection. Many voices parade across these pages, sometimes telling stories, sometimes reporting moments of vision. His writing moves across space and time, from early explorations of the Australian interior or loss on the beaches of Gallipoli, to contemporary home life. The Ventriloquist's Child is a fine debut.
Doug Barbour, University of Alberta
We're pleased to announce the publication of Warwick author Clayton Hansen's first book, The Ventriloquist's Child. It was launched on 17 March 2001 at the Warwick Art Gallery and in Sydney at the New South Wales Writers' Centre Harvest Festival, 24 March. A stimulating blend of short fiction and poetry, the book contains several award-winning pieces, from competitions like the Verandah Short Fiction Prize and the Banjo Paterson Writing Awards.
Clayton Hansen writes the voices of landscape and emotion, evoking the human condition and spirit. His method is informed by Chekhovs story The Bird Market where a bird fancier, on evaluating a bird, says to his young charge: There is no relying on that bird. He sings now, its true, but what of that? I sing in company too. No, my boy, shout, sing to me without company; sing in solitude, if you can
Living in the country town of Warwick, Queensland, where he is a primary school principal, Clayton Hansen has published short fiction and poetry extensively in Australia and overseas.
He received an Arts Queensland Grant in 2000, and has read at the Queensland Poetry Festival and The Melbourne Writers Festival. In the same year he won Verandahs Short Fiction Prize and was highly commended in the prestigious Banjo Paterson Writing Awards.
The Ventriloquists Child culminates a decade of successful writing.