Her debut novel, The Upwelling, sold out before it had even been released. Lystra Rose takes us on a deep dive into the rich networks of history and relationships that helped bring this groundbreaking story to life.

Where did the inspiration for The Upwelling come from?

I was out surfing at Kirra Point (Gold Coast) and thought, What did this place look like before the highways and high-rises? Then I had this idea: What if an Indigenous girl raised in the Western way could somehow experience life before colonisation by catching a barrel and time-slipping? The protagonist is named Kirra because of where I first had that idea.

I thought, Wouldn’t it be great if people read a great story—plot, characters—and at the end, they just learnt culture because they were immersed in it? It wasn’t forced, taught, or preached. Instead, it was a by-product of simply reading this story in the comfort of their own homes. I could infuse “culture” in a culturally safe place for non-Indigenous people.