Author(s): Emma Ashmere
Sydney, Milsons Point, 1926. Entire streets are being demolished for the building of the Harbour Bridge. Ellis Gilbey, landlady by day, gardening writer by night, is set to lose everything. Only the faith in the book shes writing, and hopes for a garden of her own, stave off despair. As the tight-knit community splinters and her familiar world crumbles, Ellis relives her escape to the city at sixteen, landing in the unlikely care of self-styled theosophist Minerva Stranks. When artist Rennie Howarth knocks on her door seeking refuge from a stifling upper-class life and an abusive husband, Ellis glimpses a chance to fulfil her dreams. The future looms uncertain while the past stays uncannily in pursuit. This beautiful novel evokes the hardships and the glories of Sydneys past and tells the little-known story of those made homeless to make way for the famous bridge. Peopled by bohemians and charlatans, earthy folk and fly-by-nighters, The Floating Garden is about shedding secrets, seizing second chances, and finding love amongst the ruins.
Emma Ashmeres short stories have appeared in various publications including The Age , Griffith Review , Sleepers Almanac, Etchings and Australian Womens Book Review . She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide, and a PhD from La Trobe University in Melbourne on the use of marginalised histories in fiction. She has worked as a researcher on several books on Australian gardening history, and women and empire. She lives in northern New South Wales.