• Jack Ward

Author launches Ned Kelly re-write

Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.


A LOCAL primary school teacher has overcome the absence of physical events to launch her debut novel, ‘Lament,’ this week.

PHOTO: Author Nicole Kelly launches her debut novel (Jack Ward/Ararat Advocate)

Beaufort resident and Ararat 800 P.S. teacher, Nicole Kelly, has spent the last seven years perfecting her fictional re-write of the Ned Kelly story, officially sharing it with readers at a Zoom launch last night.


“I've always loved the Kelly's, I've loved them since I was little. I was always the kid that was getting their books at Christmas,” she said.


“I was on maternity leave with my son who is now almost seven, so it's been long time coming. I wrote it initially because I just love writing and reading, I love words, but I never thought it would see the light of day.”


The novel is based on teacher, Thomas Curnow, remembered as the man who warned the police at Glenrowen about Ned’s intentions. He foiled the Gang’s plan to derail the Police Special Train after Ned allowed him to return his unwell family to their home.


“It’s the what if, what if Ned hadn't let him go, what if you hadn't let him out,” she said.


“It's written from the first person. I tried to get in Ned's head a little bit and did lots of historical research. I'm a history teacher by trade so I love history and being able to research and get through the archives of all the newspapers and his trial transcripts.”


Ms Kelly has remained authentic to that and the other characters by having a thread of reality running throughout the text and adding her fictional flare.


The opportunity for Ms Kelly to publish her story surfaced after ‘Lament’ was shortlisted in the Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize earlier this year.


“I put it aside… edited it, pulled it back out and I was about to put it back in the bottom drawer when I gave it to some teacher girlfriends to read. And one of them in particular, she just really grabbed hold of it,” she said.


“I entered it into the Hawkeye Manuscript Prize and got runner-up for that. As a writer, you don't expect to make a fortune from it but to be able to see your own story in print is a really big buzz.”


Ms Kelly is now idolised by her adoring students who have tagged along throughout the publishing process.


“It's like being a minor celebrity in your own classroom, it's very cool,” she said.


And if you’re wondering, Ms Kelly has no relation to Ned Kelly himself.


“I just happened to marry a Kelly. I've looked desperately trying to find a link, we've done all the family tree, but there is no link, sadly,” she said.


‘Lament’ is now available to purchase by visiting hawkeyebooks.com.au/lament

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