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Factory 19

2021 - Shortlisted


The 1940s are immortalised in the original satire Factory 19, an ambitious reimagining of a Tasmanian capital controlled by an eccentric billionaire art gallery entrepreneur who has made his fortune manipulating lotteries. It begins in Hobart in 2022 when billionaire Dundas Faussett establishes a factory as an industrial ark where its workers can live perpetually as though it is 1948, an idealised year before the post-industrial age in which computers and interconnected mobile devices dominate.

Political speechwriter Paul Richey develops ‘digital proximity anxiety’ and takes a job in management at the factory. Much of the humour comes from his account – which shifts from deadpan to demonstrative – of the Factory 19 setting, people, paraphernalia and nostalgia. Signalling a postmodern slant, a well-known graffiti artist even appears in character. A shift into the 1950s and beyond, with accompanying anachronistic behaviours, is scorned by the founders and leads to a war on digital and other addictions. Factory 19 is a witty and well-paced book that interrogates a big idea.

About the author

Dennis Glover

Dennis Glover, the son of factory labourers, grew up in a town just like Factory 19. Educated at Monash and Cambridge universities, he has made a career as one of Australia’s leading speechwriters and political commentators. His first novel, The Last Man in Europe, was nominated for several literary prizes, including the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Factory 19 is his second novel.