Culture Buff

Kate Morton

22 September 2018

9:00 AM

22 September 2018

9:00 AM

She was born in a small town in South Australia, later grew up on Tamborine Mountain and, when aged barely 30, published an international best seller.

Kate Morton (b.1976) is about to publish her sixth novel: The Clockmaker’s Daughter (Allen & Unwin). Every one of her five previous novels has been number one on the best seller lists of both the New York Times and the Sunday Times. In 42 countries her novels have sold over 10 million copies.


The commercially minded will guess at how much per copy an author receives in royalties, but whatever the figure, multiplied by 10 million, it will make a tidy sum.

Kate Morton’s breakthrough novel in 2006 was The House at Riverton, known in some markets as The Shifting Fog. Its immediate success marked her out as a publishing star to which she brought youth and good looks, neither being a burden on the promotional circuit. In the intervening years she published The Forgotten Garden (2008), The Distant Hours (2010), The Secret Keeper (2012) and The Lake House (2015). Now with her latest, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, Morton is in familiar territory; her recurrent themes are long-held secrets and intriguing houses. None of her novels has been nominated for a Booker Prize (yet) but that may be why they are so popular. It is said that her writing occupies that tricky space between genre and literary fiction. In the meantime, she is arguably Australia’s biggest publishing export. Good for her!

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