James Bradley

James Bradley (1967- ), Australian writer and novelist, author of three novels and a collection of poetry, came to wider public attention with the inclusion of his third novel The Resurrectionist (2006) on the Richard and Judy Summer Read 2008.

Although James Bradley is regarded as one of Australia's talented writers, prior to inclusion on the summer reading list, The Resurrectionist had sold fewer than 300 copies. Inclusion on the reading list is expected to add a couple of zeros to that figure.

Loosely based on Burke and Hare, The Resurrectionist is a chilling Dickensian tale set in Georgian London 1826-7, it tells the tale of the fall from grace of the orphan Gabriel Swift.

Gabriel Swift is apprenticed to a leading anatomist in London. One of his duties is to wash and clean the bodies that are brought to the house in the dead of night by resurrectionists, what we would call today grave robbers or body-snatchers. An unsavoury trade, where a blind eye is turned, but then no different to today's trade in body parts. Dismissed by his master, Gabriel descends into depravity. [see BCID 6421288]

Other works include Wrack (1997) which explores questions about the nature of history and the imaginary origins of Australia and The Deep Field (1999) set in a dysfunctional near-future and tells the story of a love affair between a photographer and a blind palaeontologist. An earlier work Paper Nautilus (1994) is a collection of poetry.

James Bradley has twice been named by the Sydney Morning Herald as one of the Best Young Australian Novelists. He lives in Sydney with the novelist Mardi McConnochie.

Amanda Ross, producer of the Richard and Judy Show and director of Cactus TV, is seen as the most powerful woman in publishing. It is she who draws up the list for the Richard and Judy Book Club. One would expect a reading list for a tacky TV show to be full of books aimed at the bottom end of the mass market. Whilst the list has at times been a mixed bag and contains its fair share of trash, it has nevertheless proved to contain some very powerful works: Brick Lane by Monica Ali, The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson, The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld, A Quiet Belief in Angels by R J Ellory, Visible World by Mark Slouka, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen by Paul Torday, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and The Resurrectionist by James Bradley. A place on the list can rescue a book from obscurity and turn it into a top ten best seller. [see Richard and Judy: the most powerful people in publishing]

Burke and Hare operated in Edinburgh in the late 1820s. Although Burke and Hare gained a great deal of notoriety, they were little different to others who committed similar crimes in London and elsewhere. They decided to short-circuit the process and killed their victims and thus were able to deliver fresh corpses, no questions asked. The activities of Burke and Hare led to the Anatomy Act (1832).

(c) Keith Parkins 2008 -- August 2008 rev 3