The Last Woman in the World
From the Miles Franklin- and Stella Prize-longlisted author, who lived through the Australian fires, The Last Woman in the World looks at how we treat our world and each other - and what it is that might ultimately redeem us.
"The Last Woman in the World is heart-racing, page-turning, hiding-under-the-doona stuff. A smart and pacey thriller that is also a lament for a world we have failed to care for." ~ Kate Mildenhall, bestselling author of The Mother Fault
"The Last Woman in the World is a novel of fear, fire and an uncertain future. A powerful narrative in Inga Simpson's own unique voice. Horrifying, yet humane and ultimately hopeful - a masterwork"
~ Angela Slatter, World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Bitterwood Bible.
AFTER THE FIRES. AFTER THE VIRUS. THEY CAME.
It's night, and the walls of Rachel's home creak as they settle into the cover of darkness. Fear has led her to a reclusive life on the land, her only occasional contact with her sister.
A hammering on the door. There stand a mother, Hannah, and her sick baby. They are running for their lives from a mysterious death sweeping the Australian countryside.
Now Rachel must face her worst fears: should she take up the fight to help these strangers survive in a society she has rejected for so long?
(Hachette Australian November 2021,
Little, Brown UK Jan 2022)
Inga’s first novel, MR WIGG, was shortlisted for an Indie award and longlisted for the Dobbie Award.
“That warm feeling … of what is right and good about the world overwhelmed me on closing this book” ~ Books and Publishing.
“Beautiful and absorbing” ~ Sydney Morning Herald
“Resonantly powerful at every bite … Just beautiful” ~ Australian Women’s Weekly.
“Captivates to the end” ~ Good Reading
There were stories that the Peach King was a magic tree, older than time. Others said he had once been a great man, ruling over fertile lands and gentle people with a beautiful queen. Whatever the whispers, he was one of them now; his fruit – though a little larger and sweeter – formed just as theirs did.
It’s the summer of 1971, not far from the stone fruit capital of New South Wales, where Mr Wigg lives alone on what is left of his family farm. Mrs Wigg has been gone a while now but he thinks of her every day. His daughter, too. Mr Wigg spends his days tending his magnificent orchard, harvesting the fruits of his labours and, when it’s on, listening to the cricket.
Things are changing though, with Australia and England playing a one-day match, and his new neighbours, the Traubners, planting grapes for wine. His son is on at him to move into town – it’s true a few little things are starting to go wrong every now and then – but Mr Wigg has his fruit trees, chooks, and garden to care for. His grandchildren visit often: to cook, eat, and hear his old stories. And there’s a special project he has to finish.
Mr Wigg’s hammer sounded on the anvil like the village bell, each stroke sending off a spray of burning sparks. He beat on, shaping the branches of the tree that had come to him in his dreams.
Where The Trees Were
WHERE THE TREES WERE was shortlisted for an Indie award, and longlisted for the 2017 Miles Franklin Award, an Australian Book Industry Award and the Green Carnation Prize.
“Imagined with a notable intelligence and sympathy” ~ Sydney Morning Herald.
“A moving meditation on the bonds of childhood friendship and the moral complications of atonement” ~ Bookseller & Publisher.
“An entrancing novel from a powerful new voice in Australian literature” ~ Australian Women’s Weekly.
‘All in?’ Kieran pulled me up, and the others followed. We gathered around the bigger tree. No one asked Matty – he just reached up and put his right hand on the trunk with ours.
Kieran cleared his throat. ‘We swear, on these trees, to always be friends. To protect each other – and this place.’
Finding those carved trees forged a bond between Jay and her four childhood friends and opened their eyes to a wider world. But their attempt to protect the grove ends in disaster, and that one day on the river changes their lives forever.
Seventeen years later, Jay finally has her chance to make amends. But at what cost? Not every wrong can be put right, but sometimes looking the other way is no longer an option.
The Book Of Australian Trees
Inga’s first book for children, beautifully illustrated by Alicia Rogerson, is a love song to some of Australia’s most remarkable trees, from the red ironbark to the grey gum, the Moreton Bay fig to the Queensland bottle tree ( Lothian, 2021).
“I was completely charmed by this book.” ~ Better Reading
“The Book of Australian Trees brings the forest to the living room and classroom, helping kids to see the precious landscapes and trees around them.” ~ Georgina Reid, Planthunter
“This is a keep forever book that will always enlighten, inform, and engage. ” ~ Jennifer Mors
“Perfect for all ages” ~ Cheryl Akle
Trees tell stories about places. Australia has some of the tallest, oldest, fattest and most unusual trees in the world. They have changed over thousands of years, adapting to this continent's deserts, mountains, and coasts. Many have found clever ways of dealing with drought and fire.
Their leaves, flowers and seeds are food for birds, insects and mammals. Old trees have lots of hollows, which make good homes for possums, sugar gliders, birds and bees. But trees aren't just important for other animals, we need them too. What trees breathe out, we breathe in. They are a vital part of the Earth's ecosystems.
When you first stand in a forest, the trees all seem the same. But if you look more closely, they are each a little different, like people. This book is a love song to Australian trees, from the red ironbark to the grey gum, the Moreton Bay fig to the Queensland bottle tree.
NEST was longlisted for the Stella Prize and Miles Franklin literary Award, and shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and Courier Mail People’s Choice Award.
“A thoroughly enjoyable, uplifting read from one of the most creative nature writers of our time” ~ Mindfood.
“A truly rich novel” ~ Sydney Morning Herald.
"A gently persuasive novel that leaves you richer ~ Australian Book Review.
Once an artist and teacher, Jen now spends her time watching the birds around her house and tending her lush sub-tropical garden near the small town where she grew up. The only person she sees regularly is Henry, who comes after school for drawing lessons.
When a girl in Henry’s class goes missing, Jen is pulled back into the depths of her own past. When she was Henry’s age she lost her father and her best friend Michael – both within a week. The whole town talked about it then, and now, nearly forty years later, they’re talking about it again.
Everyone is waiting – for the girl to be found and the summer rain to arrive. At last, when the answers do come, like the wet, it is in a drenching, revitalising downpour.
Understory: a life with trees is Inga’s first book-length work of nature writing.
“It is a fine addition to the genre of Australian nature writing.” ~ Books + Publishing
“I love the way the reader gets lost in the trees and then lost in Inga’s life and then lost in the trees again. Understory feels so rich and nourishing, as if the restorative power of the Australian bush is transmitted through her words.” ~ Richard Glover.
“A controlled and literate work that earns its emotional peaks” ~ Saturday Paper.
“A delight” ~ The Australian.
I see the world through trees. Every window and doorway frames trunks, limbs and leaves. My light is their light, filtered green. My air is their exhalation.
Each chapter of this absorbing eco-memoir explores a particular species of tree, layering description, anecdote, and natural history to tell the story of a scrap of forest in the Sunshine Coast hinterland – how the author came to be there and the ways it has shaped her life.
In many ways, it’s the story of a tree-change, of escaping suburban Brisbane for a cottage on ten acres in search of a quiet life. Of establishing a writers retreat shortly before the Global Financial Crisis hit, and losing just about everything when it did.
It is also the story of what the author found there: the literature of nature and her own path as a writer. Understory is about connection to place as a white settler descendant, and the search for a language appropriate to describe that experience.
The understorey is where I live, alongside these plants and creatures. I tend the forest, stand at the foot of trees and look up, gather what has fallen.
A timelapse of an illustration Alicia Rogerson of the Spotted Gum Tree for "The Book Of Australian Trees".