The Winter Road by Kate Holden | Black Inc.
The Winter Road

An extraordinary work of storytelling
—Judges’ comments, Winner of the 2021 Walkley Book Award

The Winter Road: A Story of Legacy, Land and a Killing at Croppa Creek

Book club notes

Awards for The Winter Road

  • Longlisted, 2021 Mark & Evette Moran Nib Literary Award
  • Winner, 2021 Walkley Book Prize
  • Winner, 2022 Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction, NSW Premier's Literary Awards
  • Winner, 2022 Sisters In Crime Davitt Award (Non-Fiction)
  • Shortlisted, 2022 NSW Premier’s History Awards

You might also like

Light blue background with photograph of a woman wearing a pink hijab standing in a field
black cover with bright image of sunflower
Black cover with two pink fists and white text Three blocks of yellow, red and green filled with french and english text, followed by black and white photographs of young women

About the author

Kate Holden

Kate Holden is the author of two acclaimed memoirs, In My Skin and The Romantic, and a regular contributor to The Saturday Paper, The Monthly and The Age.

More about Kate Holden

Praise for The Winter Road

‘This is a special book, and I cannot thank Holden enough for writing it. By telling the human story of a man and his land, Holden reveals the timelessness of brigalow country, and threads a narrative that is ecological, humane and grounding.’ —Anna Krien

‘Beautifully and compellingly told, shattering in its reverberations, The Winter Road is a story for our times – a battle that is being fought the world over as we try to find a better way of managing the land and respecting the forces of nature that sustain us.’ —Isabella Tree

‘Beautifully written, meticulously researched, carefully plotted and seamlessly stitched together. This book is a major contribution to the canon of Australian land and social history: a bedfellow with Francis Ratcliffe, W.E.H. Stanner, Tim Flannery, Bill Gammage and Bruce Pascoe … Its power is in exposing a hidden, suppurating sore in the psyche of our nation.’ —Charles Massy, author of Call of the Reed Warbler

‘Kate Holden finds the epic thread in this crime and weaves a quintessential Australian story.’ —Chloe Hooper

‘I felt utterly in the grip of this agonising and powerful parable. Kate Holden brilliantly telescopes centuries of history and law into fatal conversations at a farm gate. As one man stalks another on a winter road, the whole psyche of modern Australian settlement comes under trial. An enthralling and disturbing tale told with deep insight and compassion.’ —Tom Griffiths

‘A gripping account of our land, and ourselves’ —Tara June Winch

‘An incredible writer.’ —Books+Publishing

‘This is essential reading by one of Australia’s finest nonfiction writers.’ —Readings

‘In prose as rich as the landscape it describes, Holden’s book digs down into history, and sets it within the broader story of modern Australia’s relationship to the land … Holden is an excellent writer and weaves different elements together beautifully, moving from the Turner-Turnbull story to its historical and philosophical context with intelligence and panache. Above all, The Winter Road is a rebuke to the classical liberalism at the heart of societies such as our own.’ —The Australian

‘Holden relates with empathy and intelligence a dramatic and complex story, which has deep links to the past and profound implications for the future ... The genius of the book, which, as a model of reconstructive journalism places Holden alongside Chloe Hooper and Anna Krien, lies in Holden’s ability to apply her intense intellectuality to a topic that, in the most literal of senses, is so down to earth.’ —The Saturday Paper

‘Vividly written and meticulously researched’ —Tasmanian Times

‘An extraordinary work of storytelling’ —Judges’ comments, Winner of the 2021 Walkley Book Award

‘This is a virtuosic work of narrative non-fiction, a book that makes space for the complexity, contradictions and ugliness of the settlement of Australia.’ —Judges’ comments, Winner of the 2022 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Douglas Stewart Prize for Nonfiction

‘Beautifully written and meticulously researched, this book draws on archival sources to show the reader the importance of history and utilising environmental, art and cultural knowledge to explore what it means. The Winter Road is a haunting reflection on colonial history; it is a work of Winungadhuriniya, of dadirri, the deepest listening and reflection.’ —Judges’ comments, Winner of the 2022 NSW Premier’s History Award for Community and Regional History

The Winter Road is an exquisitely written book; the judges all agreed a stand-out in the genre of true crime.’ —Winner of the 2022 Sisters in Crime Davitt Award for Nonfiction Crime

‘ … [a] phenomenal and sweeping study of genocide, environmental destruction and the heritage of our national agricultural.

The fundamental question that weaves through The Winter Road is about land: does it owe us its wealth, or do we owe it? Who are the custodians of Australian nature? What does it mean to own land, and who are you responsible to?’ —Jessie Tu, Sydney Morning Herald; author of A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing

‘Kate Holden forges a sanctuary for contemplation in The Winter Road, which raises questions about our relationships and responsibilities on this continent. Combining essay with reportage, and drawing on the work of philosophers and historians, Holden’s book transcends true crime … ’ —Cameron Muir, Australian Book Review; author of The Broken Promise of Agricultural Progress: An environmental history and co-editor of Living with the Anthropocene: Love, loss and hope in the face of environmental crisis

More from Kate Holden

cream cover behind brown leaf with red on the tip behind red text