Leah Swann

Leah Swann Class of 1988

Novelist. (also journalist and speech writer, currently in the communications team at World Vision)

Nominate a career highlight if possible.  

Sheerwater, a literary suspense novel published by 4th Estate, Harper Collins in April 2020, so far selling well with many positive reviews — it’s been fantastic to get feedback from readers saying that it’s ‘unputdownable’, ‘moving’ and ‘unforgettable.’

Irina: The Trilogy: A middle grade fantasy series aimed at 8-12 year olds, published by Brio Books under the XOUM imprint, featuring a girl raised by wolves and known as ‘Irina the Wolf Queen’, her friend Prince Andor, her guardian bird Amicus, and her wolf-brother, Durrell.

Bearings, a collection of short stories and a novella published by Affirm Press that explore the universal complexities, frailties and strengths of characters in challenging situations. from searching for love to coping with grief, shortlisted for the Dobbie Award.

The publication of all four titles was exciting, especially Sheerwater with the positive response so far.

It was also fantastic to win the inaugural Overland Story Wine prize. Here’s what the judges said:

Leah Swann’s one-sentence story was the unanimous choice as winner, because of its ‘joyous celebration of the inner life ­– observation, memory and a profound appreciation of beauty intertwined in a technically impressive single sentence of 585 words.’ It’s a story, the judges say, ‘that will reward multiple readings’.

Do you have any future plans?

The immediate future plan is embark on another exciting literary project!

What are your memories of Kilvington?

I loved my time at Kilvington. In those days it was a girls’ school and being a bit shy as a teenager this suited me. I have fond memories of all the students, especially in my year level. There was a lot of laughter! The school had high academic standards, inspiring teachers and was known for its care of the individual and pastoral atmosphere under the guidance of the principal then, the late Warren Stone . My sister, mother and aunt attended the school and my grandfather, Fred Swann, was secretary to the school council  for around 30 years, so I had the added sense of belonging that comes from an ongoing family connection. I enjoyed  being in the choir and remember to this day things that I learned in English, Lit, Art and History and went on to study some of these subjects at Melbourne University.