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The Children’s House

With special guest:

  • Alice Nelson
    … in conversation with Bill Kable

Alice Nelson has produced a topical work with enough discussion points to keep us busy for a long time in her new book The Children’s House.

The title of the book comes from a kibbutz in Israel. The kibbutz movement arose in Israel after the horrors of Nazi Germany, partly as a way of allowing parents to work for the new state of Israel while ensuring that their children would be properly cared for. But does the idea of communal parenting go too far? This is just one of the ethical questions raised in The Children’s House.

From Israel we travel to Rwanda and finally to the world’s melting pot in New York. It is there that we discover the different forces prevalent in modern families with all their mysteries and complexities. In speaking to Alice about her characters we get even more depth into the non-traditional relationships revealed in her book. There are some real surprises in store for the reader.

Alice Nelson is able to weave together stories about the terrible things humans are capable of doing to each other with stories of genuine love and people wanting to selflessly help others. The book will get you in, following the main characters.

Talking to Alice will only whet your appetite because she is such an eloquent observer of the human condition and great fun to listen to. The Children’s House is an opening to another world that you do not want to miss out on.

Alice Nelson

After studying literature and fine arts at university in Australia, Alice Nelson took a chance in leaving her home country and going to one of the most exciting places on earth. Alice found herself in Harlem New York City, living in the brownstone on 120th Street in which The Children’s House is set. While studying in New York, she worked at a non-profit agency run by an order of nuns as a case worker with refugee and undocumented migrant families. This led her to draw on these experiences in order to write this story.

Alice was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists for her first novel The Last Sky. The novel also won the TAG Hungerford Award and was shortlisted for the Australian Society of Authors’ Barbara Jefferis Award and for The Australian/Vogel’ Literary Award. Alice’s short fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in publications such as The Sydney Review of Books, The Asia Literary Review, Southerly Magazine and the West Australian Newspaper. Alice now lives in Perth.

Song selection by our guest: Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell

Listen Now (mp3)

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