Baileys Longlist 2016: Geraldine Brooks’ ‘The Secret Chord’



The addition of Geraldine Brooks to this year’s Baileys Prize longlist gives Australia yet more reason to cheer. And well it should. Its prodigious literary talent has never been in doubt, but it’s wonderful seeing it recognized so enthusiastically.


quotesI was a news reporter for 16 years, seven of them a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Perhaps the most useful equipment I acquired in that time is a lack of preciousness about the act of writing. A reporter must write. There must be a story. The mot juste unarriving? Tell that to your desk.

  • Geraldine Brooks


Brooks, awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for her novel March, is married to fellow author/journalist Tony Horwitz, with whom she won the Overseas Press Club Award for best coverage of the Gulf War. A past reporter for the The Sydney Morning Herald, she has also written for The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and The New Yorker.

The Secret Chord is her fifth novel.



  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First edition (October 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670025771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670025770

Geraldine Brooks is one of that very rare breed of writers capable of penning both bestselling and literary novels. The two seldom go hand in hand. Popular very rarely means writing of great merit. From her take on Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women  in March to her current work centered on the life of the biblical King David, you can’t say the woman doesn’t have incredible reach.

I’m not sure there’s anything this woman can’t write, including the story of a Jewish king. Raised a Roman Catholic, Brooks converted to Judaism following her marriage to the Jewish Horwitz. “I am interested in places where the historical record has voids and silences” she wrote in an interview with Moment Magazine, “The only way to fill those is by imagination.”

If there’s one thing Geraldine Brooks does not lack, it’s imagination.

With more than two million copies of her novels sold, New York Times bestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Now, Brooks takes on one of literature’s richest and most enigmatic figures: a man who shimmers between history and legend. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.


An interview with Geraldine Brooks:

Can’t get enough Australian lit? Check out this list of 50 Must Read Australian Novels via

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s