Toowoomba-raised novelist Simon Cleary has released his new book, The War Artist, and is returning to his hometown this month on a promotional tour.

The former Downlands College school captain was inspired by his grandfather’s World War 1 experience before he settled in Toowoomba, and his battlefield nightmares which have haunted him in his life after the war. Cleary writes of numerous scenes in Toowoomba and explores the perspective of war from his hometown. Similarly, the protagonist takes a creative writing course at USQ, and much of the setting is out near Preston on the escarpment just south of Toowoomba.

The Prologue is inspired by Bruce Dawe’s poem Bring Them Home, and explores the topical concerns of PTSD and other challenges facing soldiers such as Cleary’s grandfather, as they transition back into civilian life.

In the lead up to ANZAC Day, The War Artist is a relevant and insightful story to the history of the country, with additional references to the author’s home and family history in the war. Simon will be in conversation with ABC Radio’s David Iliffe in Toowoomba on 10 May.

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