UTS Masters novel debuts on Australian best-seller chart
Not many writers can say their first novel was a best-seller. For Petronella McGovern, the long writing and publication process paid off when her debut novel reached #3 in the Australian charts.
A year after starting a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at UTS, Petronella McGovern had her first novel, Six Minutes, debut in the top 10 of the Australian best-seller chart.
The psychological thriller, published by Allen and Unwin, has garnered great reviews. Its range of topical issues, from the drought to parenting to social media, makes it a popular choice for discussion at book clubs. Six Minutes examines how friends and community respond when a child goes missing from a small village outside Canberra.
'It was incredible for the book to debut at number three, and to have that immediate response after the long process of writing and trying to get published,’ Petronella said.
The Herald Sun labelled the novel ‘beautiful, exciting, one of a kind’. When international best-selling author, Liane Moriarty, launched Six Minutes in July, she called it ‘impossible to put down, and full of twists and turns you won’t see coming’. The novel was chosen by Melbourne independent retailer, Readings, as its Crime Book of the Month for July, and recently listed Six Minutes on its annual round-up of ‘Great Reads from Australian Women’.
This year, through her Masters at UTS, Petronella is working on her next novel.
‘I’ve really appreciated the feedback from my lecturers and workshopping with other students,’ Petronella said. ‘I feel privileged to have such great writers, like Debra Adelaide, as teachers. We get both the craft and the industry experience.’
In addition, Petronella feels that studying creative writing theory and master storytellers has helped her focus on different aspects of her writing.
As an undergraduate, Petronella completed a Communications degree at UTS. She’d been wanting to begin the Masters for some time. Finally, two decades after completing her first degree, she returned to campus.
‘With the day-to-day pressures of work and children, I found that my novel writing kept being pushed to the background,’ Petronella said. ‘I was keen to prioritise my creative writing and the Masters has really helped me do that. I’m really enjoying the course and the camaraderie.’
Six Minutes is available in bookshops, online and as an audio book. You can find out more about Petronella’s writing at www.petronellamcgovern.com.au or follow her on Facebook.
Find out more about the Master of Arts in Creative Writing at UTS.