Longlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize

The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire – Chloe Hooper

Nonfiction · Penguin Random House

About the book

“The Arsonist is a profoundly sharp and inquisitive journey into the psyche of the person found responsible for the Black Saturday Churchill fires.”

– 2019 Stella Prize Judges

About the author

Chloe Hooper

Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. She is also the author of two novels, A Child’s Book of True Crime and The Engagement.

Further Reading


“In Hooper’s sure hands the grimmest details become exquisite imagery. Though strange to report, there can even be beauty in arson’s aftermath…” Robert Drewe, Sydney Morning Herald

“In The Arsonist, Hooper reignites the memories of those cataclysmic events with relentless, devastating effect.” Fiona Gruber, Australian Book Review

“Gripping, gritty and unsparing but never gratuitous in its details, this is true crime writing at its best. But Hooper goes beyond the procedurals and the scene setting to examine the greater context of the tragedy.” The Saturday Paper


Read an interview with Chloe Hooper in the Sydney Morning Herald

Read Chloe Hooper on The Arsonist in the Guardian Australia

Listen to Chloe Hooper speak about The Arsonist with Anna Krien at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas

Judges’ report

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