Books That Changed Me: RWR McDonald

R.W.R. "Rob" McDonald is a New Zealand-born Australian living in Melbourne. His debut YA novel, The Nancys, emerged from the Faber Writing Academy and was highly commended in the Victorian premier's Unpublished Manuscript award. The Nancys is published by Allen & Unwin.


Victor Canning
I fell in love with reading and writing as a little kid, reading everything and anything I could. The Runaways, book one in Victor Canning's Smiler trilogy, was the first book to devastate me. It is the story about two runaways, a boy, Smiler, and a cheetah. No spoilers but it left me a wreck and soon afterwards I realised the power books and authors had to make us feel deep emotions.

R.W.R. McDonald’s first YA novel, The Nancys, has just been published.Credit:Julian Dolman


Roald Dahl
Clever, fun, dark and twisted short stories from an author whose books I'd read and loved as a child. Reading Kiss Kiss as a teenager showed me that an author's voice could carry across different audiences and genres but the DNA stay the same. I loved how fearless Roald Dahl was to explore the dark places of humanity while still maintaining humour and warmth.


Virgina Woolf
The writing, the writing, the writing. Reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse was the first time I had experienced stream of consciousness and I loved it. The idea that you could tell a story from within these characters' minds was a revelation to me. Woolf using a reader's empathy to get in so close to a character and experience the story this way was genius. As a writer it blew my mind.


Cormac McCarthy
The way this book sucked out all hope, but as a reader I'd keep hoping it wasn't the end. I had never read a book like this before. So bleak and clever how Cormac McCarthy stripped everything away, from the setting's total destruction, character names, to hope itself. Without these trappings it forced me to think about the value and meaning of humanity. So well done that at some points I found it hard to breathe.

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